The experiment – which tests a vehicle's ability to safely avoid a hazard, such as a moose – has been standardised since the late 1990s, and requires a car to swerve between cones at incrementally higher speeds without skidding out of control.
Becoming visibly unstable at 63km/h, the Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV was unable to negotiate the course when travelling above 68km/h.
The media outlet described the results as "dangerous" and "significantly worse than the regular RAV4 hybrid."
Multiple online commentators suggested the vehicle’s “eco tyres” – which employ composite and synthetic materials such as silicone to reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel efficiency – were to blame for the poor showing.
However, a spokesperson for Australian tyre consultancy and research firm TyreXperts told CarAdvice this was unlikely to be the case.
“Certainly some of the approaches used to reduce rolling resistance by some manufacturers of some products may require small trade-offs in other areas of the tyre's performance,” the spokesperson said.
“[However] we're taking about small differences that require instrumented tests to quantify, and the great majority of consumers are unlikely to be able to feel the difference, especially with (anti-lock brakes) and stability control systems activated,” the spokesperson added.
“The fuel consumption benefits of eco tyres generally outweigh any performance disadvantage.”
CarAdvice has approached Toyota Australia for comment on why the vehicle performed so poorly in this particular test. This story will be updated with its response.
The plug-in hybrid variant of the RAV4 is not yet sold in Australia, however the European version of the vehicle derives power from a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor on each axle, to produce a maximum combined power output of 225kW.
The regular hybrid variant of the Toyota RAV4 is offered in Australia, and is currently one of the nation's most popular cars.
It was the top-selling vehicle outright in Australia in July and August 2020, after a glut of backorders were filled.