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by Tim Beissmann

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has passed another independent ‘moose test’, dispelling speculation that the big US-built SUV is a rollover safety risk.

Questions of the Grand Cherokee’s safety were sparked earlier this month when Swedish magazine Teknikens Varld (Technology World) almost flipped a Swedish-spec version of the SUV in a lane-change manoeuvre test and consequently called for Jeep to stop selling the vehicle.

Jeep’s parent company Chrysler Group responded to the criticism, claiming that the Grand Cherokee in question was tested in an “overloaded condition”. A subsequent evaluation was conducted by the magazine in the presence of Chrysler Group engineers, and despite testing three vehicles over 11 runs the original two-wheel-lift-off result could not be reproduced.

German publication Auto Motor und Sport has now conducted its own independent moose test, which was performed at a test site sanctioned by the Europe’s largest automobile club, ADAC, with the course dimensions and layout in accordance with those set by the International Standards Organisation.

At the completion of the test, Auto Motor und Sport concluded the Jeep Grand Cherokee remained safely on the road at all times.

“Whether loaded with two people on board or with the maximum permissible total weight, all four wheels maintained contact with the ground to the greatest possible extent,” the magazine reports.

“The tested Jeep did not demonstrate one-sided uplift or, let alone, tipping. This confirms the theory that the Cherokee in Sweden was overloaded.”

In a statement, the Chrysler Group said “the result reaffirms the Grand Cherokee’s place among the safest vehicles on the road today”.

The Grand Cherokee was awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US and was awarded a four-star safety rating by Euro NCAP in November and ANCAP in December.

Meanwhile, the US Government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee over a potential defect with the vehicle’s power steering hose that may lead to an engine fire.

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation has received one complaint of a power steering hose failure as well as two reports from the past month alleging engine compartment fires while driving that led to total vehicle loss.

One of the complaints reported fluid dripping beneath the vehicle during the incident.

No recall has been called at this stage as the NHTSA’s investigation continues.




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