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Friday, July 20, 2012
Swedish Car magazine Teknikens Varld has posted more video on the shocking tip-up of the Jeep Grand Cherokee on their "moose test", which is similar (though not identical to) the Consumers Union lane change test.
After Chrysler's engineers checked out the vehicle, and re-loaded it according to their measure of GVW (which was 200+ lbs lighter than Teknikens Varld's weight), the vehicle no longer tipped up. However, if you watch the video, you'lll see that it is roll-hopping substantially, with the front wheel in the air much of the time. And in multiple runs, the Jeep suffered a tire de-bead.
A de-bead is when lateral forces on a tire push it so far that it loses its bead seal, and allows air to escape. This results in a nearly flat tire on the de-beaded wheel, and is dangerous because if there is a rim hit, that wheel could dig in and increases the risk of a rollover.
You can watch the video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaYFLb8WMGM&feature=plcp (and I highly suggest you do)
Teknikens Varld conclusion is that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is not safe. I don't entirely agree, as this is a very demanding maneuver, and the vehicle is loaded to maximum capacity. For most people, who will be driving the vehicle at a lighter loading, there is probably ample safety margin. However, it is significant that competitors such as the Volvo XC90 pass the same test.
I think Chrysler has some more ESC tuning work to do on this product.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The reason that the Grand Cherokee failed the Swedish Moose Test run by Teknikens Värld is that they unintentionally overloaded the vehicle. Apparently, Chrysler filed the wrong curb weight with the Swedish government.
Since the behaviour of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was both dangerous and potentially lethal, we suspected that the car was actually packed with too much weight. We immediately proceeded to weigh the car on a scale and got our answer. The Jeep Grand Cherokee does not have a curb weight of 2 347 kilos (5 174 lbs) that the Swedish certificate of registration indicates (see the attached image below), a figure that Jeep/Chrysler has provided to Transportstyrelsen. In fact, the car actually has a curb weight of 2 505 kilos (5 523 lbs) with a driver in the car. That is a full 158 kilos (348 lbs) more than what Jeep/Chrysler claims the car to weigh in the official documentation provided to Swedish authorities.
Add the 602 kilos (1 327 lbs) that Jeep/Chrysler claims the car being capable to load and the total gross weight is now at 3 107 kilos (6 850 lbs). This can be compared to the claimed total gross weight in the vehicle's registration papers – 2 949 kilos (6 501 lbs). This, again, is a number that Jeep/Chrysler have provided. In other words – if one packs a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 3.0 CRD V6 with the maximum allowed capacity, one overshoots the total gross weight of the car by 158 kilos (348 lbs). Worth mentioning is that we only overshot the total net weight by 58 kilos (128 lbs) since we unloaded 100 kilos (220 lbs) out of the car when we performed the test as can be seen in the video clip. The car still went up on two wheels.
Monday, July 09, 2012
A very unflattering review of the Coda sedan has been published in the NYT, written by Brad Berman.
In addition to a long list of missing basic equipment (no cruise control, no one-touch windows, etc.), Coda adds to its sins a stiff ride and poor NVH.
Perhaps Coda will find a large base of customers willing to sacrifice ride quality and amenities in exchange for a dependable range of 100 miles. I'm not in that group; in the production version I drove, the high-pitched whine was just the beginning of the Coda cacophony.
When starting out, the electric motor groans in low deep spasms as speed builds. At higher speeds, wind noise and buzzing intrude. The ride is harsh, giving passengers intimate knowledge of every imperfection in the road.
The question for Coda is, will enough private buyers overlook creature comforts, and buy a $35,000 car based only on its range, or will they trade down in range to buy a more up-to-date EV like the Leaf for Focus?