Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester moose test

Teknikens Värld’s famous moose test did not favor Toyota RAV4 plug-in in their latest test. In fact Swedish test says that Toyota’s performance was really poor. Unfortunately I did not find similar moose test for Subaru Forester e-Boxer by Swedish testers. Hopefully some day they do it, so we will have a direct comparison.

But there is an other web site / Youtube channel that does similar tests. It is called km77.com. They do have tested 2019 FWD version of the RAV4 and 2020 e-Boxer Forester. Toyota’s performance looks pretty much similar in km77’s tests than Teknikens Värld results was.

Swedish tests are done cars fully loaded so there is a lot of weight onboarded. Km77.com tests are done with empty cars. So it is worth to notice that these two tests are not comparable with each other.

2020 Toyota RAV4 plug-in (RAV4 Prime in the US) moose test by Teknikens Värld

2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer moose test by km77.com

Forester is taller by 45mm compared to regular RAV4 hybrid but center of gravity is lower on Subaru. Rest of the dimensions listed here. Forester does not have a sports car performance but for a tall car it handled dodging test surprisingly well. Lower center of gravity helps Subaru in this test.

2019 Toyota RAV4 FWD moose test by km77.com

Toyota has updated their non-plugin VSC software after car failed in Teknikens Värld test similarly shown above in km77.com’s test. They are doing similar update for the plug-in version now. Personally I am not sure is it possible to fix this just updating the software? Software update may help bit but there must be something else that needs to be updated. E.g. higher tire pressures is easy way to improve situation without compromising other features of the car. In fact Toyota recommends same according to Teknikens Värld.

What does the new update contain?

– It’s a software upgrade for the VSC system, and a recommendation to have higher tyre pressure in the rear wheels when driving fully loaded. (Erik Gustafsson, PR manager Toyota Sweden)

Mercedes AMG A 4Matic 2020 moose test

Fun fact is that in km77.com test Forester outperformed Mercedes AMG A 45s 4Matic 2020. There might be many questions why this happened and results could be different if they were testing these cars on the same day. Still, I think, this shows that test is not that easy even for the performance oriented car.

Watch out for moose!

I would say that these type of maneuvers are extremely rare in real world scenarios. When a moose comes out of darkness, there is rarely time to do anything. First reaction is just to break and start steering but that is typically too late already by then. Luckily I haven’t experienced that myself and hopefully there is a never need to experience it. Moose can weight up to 800 kg (~1700 Pounds), height over 2 meters (6.5 Feet) and length over 3 meters (10 Feet). So the animal is really gigantic and it would be a serious crash with a moose.

Real world example of the moose crash. Dashcam video from Youtube by Hannu Tervola. Car in the video is unknown.

But of course it is better to have car which can do dodging safely if needed and there is time to do required maneuvers. Speed limits are typically 80 km per hour and above moose test videos was done +/- 77 km/h. In real world scenario drivers tends to drive little bit over speed limits. So that is also one reason why there is so little time to react usually. Of course there is other attributes as how far the animal is crossing road and what is the overall visibility at the given time.

Typically when you can encounter moose (at least in Finland) is between October – November and then also from May to June. Specially at very early mornings or at late nights. In other words, when there is not that much light available and it would be extremely difficult to spot moose coming from the forest. Moose usually uses same old trails and there are warning signs placed where their typical routes are. However, it is also good to remember that sometimes animals are wondering also at other places, when there is no warning sign reminding the driver.

Conclusion

Good dodging abilities somehow underlines Subaru’s commitment to the safety and on the same time raises few questions why Toyota failed badly. Toyota is a big company, so I would assume that they have done their research and gained enough test kilometers. For unknown reason they have decided to tune platform differently.

Still I would not say that Toyota is not a safe car. It has performed extremely well in Euro NCAP and other similar tests. Also e.g. emergency brake function works well on RAV4.

One interesting viewpoint is also Toyota’s and Subaru’s joint effort regarding upcoming full electric vehicle (EV). Will Subaru come closer to Toyota and loose it’s moose dodging abilities or will Toyota improve their performance with Subaru’s help. Really hope that case will be latter.

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