STOCKHOLM - Given their high centres of gravity, SUVs simply don’t handle evasive manoeuvres as well as traditional cars, and the same goes for bakkies.
That said, unlike traditional ladder-frame bakkies, most SUVs are now built around monocoque platforms. This, along with lower ride heights, advanced ESP stability systems and, in some cases, permanent all-wheel-drive, has definitely made your average SUV safer through the corners than their more rudimentary ancestors.
But not all of the modern unibody SUVs are safe in an emergency situation, as recently illustrated by Swedish publication Teknikens Varld, which subjected the latest fifth-generation Toyota Rav4 to the infamous ‘moose test’ - which emulates swerving around a moose, for which you can substitute any sudden obstacle that your imagination can conjure up.
As with the Toyota Hilux that the publication also recently tested, the Rav4’s moose test performance (conducted at just 68km/h) was “really bad”, in the words of reporter Linus Pröjtz.
Pröjtz found that the ESP system was not effective in limiting the car’s movements. He also pointed out a “bouncing effect” throughout the test, which made the car really hard to handle. The publication also pointed out that some of its competitors did much better in the same test, thanks largely to superior ESP systems.