Automotive News EuropeCOPENHAGEN - The double lane-change is important in Scandinavia, where moose collide with cars. For years, auto clubs and magazines in northern Europe have tested cars for stability during evasive action.
The Mercedes-Benz A-class is not the first car to have problems in Scandinavia. About 20 years ago a Skoda turned over in a similar Swedish test, halting imports.
Earlier this year, the new Toyota Corolla showed bad behavior in a test by the Danish auto club, which then advised against buying the car. Toyota estimates that it has lost 500 sales of the Corolla.
The failure of the A-class in the moose avoidance test brought intense public attention to the issue of stability in an extreme situation.
However, the moose avoidance test is not a single standard. Various versions tend to be more difficult than the ISO 3888 lane-change test used by Mercedes-Benz and the German ADAC auto club.
The Tannistest is used by the Nordic members of the Car of the Year jury every October in Tannishus, Denmark.
'If a carmaker wants to get our votes for the title Car of the Year, they'd better pass this test,' said Rogers Sogaard, who organizes the Tannistest. He prefers to think of the test as a 'child avoidance' test, as 'moose are seen only in the very north, children happen to be in every country.'
The four-meter-wide lane is 50 meters long, and the driver has 10 meters to react.
The 'moose avoidance test' executed by the Swedish car magazine Teknikens Varld is 50 meters long, with a lane three meters wide. The test starts at 60kph, and speed is raised in steps to the car's limit. 'Usually we reach the limits at 70-75kph,' said a spokesman. 'Very good cars pass at 80kph.' The A-class rolled at 60kph.
The Federation of Danish Motorists has conducted a double lane-change test since 1966.
'Two years ago we changed our tests,' said C.E. Orbesen of the Federation. 'The cars were becoming too good for the ISO test. In our test the A-class showed very disappointing behavior, but it did not turn over.'
The test covers 100 meters, with 25 meters to react.
The Norwegian magazine Norges Automobil Forbund uses the ISO 3888 double lane-change test, an international standard.
'From the Tannistest in which we participated, we knew the A-class was unstable,' Motoring Editor Rune Korsvoll said. 'The Mercedes technicians showed us how to do the test without problems, but they drove through the test with very smooth movements.
'Back in Norway we drove the car in our usual manner in the ISO test.
'It was one of the worst cars we ever drew through the test. We find the Corolla unstable too, but in another way.'
ISO 3888 is precisely specified, to the size of cones used to mark the four-meter lanes. It is 125 meters long. The driver has 30 meters to react, and 25 meters to get back into the right lane.
The ADAC auto club in Germany tested the A-class in the ISO 3888 test and a slalom test.
'We tested it too in the moose test,' said Wilfried Klanner, head of Test & Technic. 'The car showed the weakest driving behavior among four other cars in its class, but it did not turn over, even with the old tires.
'Only in an extreme slalom test did the car begin to turn over, but then we stopped the testing.'
Manufacturers would prefer a single standard, but independent testing is unlikely to disappear.
'I am sure the car manufacturers will incorporate the moose test in their test programs,' said Klanner, 'but in my opinion the car manufacturers should not decide a common test standard. There should not be only one standard test, the cars must be tested in many conditions.'
Who tested the A-class
Date Tester Result
?/9 Vi Bilagare Ran on two wheels
21/10 Teknikens Varld Roll over
23/10 Le Figaro Passed (no ESP)
25/10 Auto Zeitung/Stern Ran on two wheels
26/10 TUV/Barcelona Passed (no ESP)
27/10 Auto Bild Roll over
28/10 Stavanger Ran on two wheels
31/10 Mercedes-Benz Passed (with ESP)
?/10 Autovisie Passed (no ESP)
?/10 Denmark auto club Passed (no ESP)
?/11 Auto Moto Passed (no ESP)
2/11 L'Autojournal Passed (no ESP)
3/11 Auto Motor und Sport Ran on two wheels
(no ESP, Michelin)
4/11 Mercedes-Benz Roll over
4/11 Auto Plus Passed (no ESP)
4/11 Quattroroute Passed
(no ESP, Goodyear)
5/11 ADAC Passed (Michelin)