A test to determine how a certain vehicle acts when the driver evades a suddenly appearing obstacle (such as a moose on the road), became well-known under the name Moose test, also Elk test, Älgtest in Swedish, when in 1997 the newly invented Mercedes-Benz A-Class failed an examination of the Swedish motor magazine Teknikens Värld.
The test is performed on a dry road surface. Traffic cones are set up in an S shape to simulate the obstacle, the road and its edges. The car which is going to be tested has one belted person at each available seat and weights in the trunk to achieve maximum load. When the driver comes onto the track, she quickly swerves into the oncoming lane to avoid the object and then immediately swerves back to avoid oncoming traffic. The test is repeated with an increased speed until the car skids down the cones or spins around. This usually happens at speeds of about 70-80 km/h (45-50 mph) in the best cases.
This test has been used in Sweden for decades. In 1997 the journalist Robert Collin from the motor magazine Teknikens Värld overturned the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the moose test, while a Trabant — a much older, and widely mocked car from the former German Democratic Republic — managed it perfectly.<ref>Petite feat - drive.com.au</ref> The Dacia Logan appeared initially to fail the test, but a later investigation concluded that excessive testing had worn the car's tires to failure.
On the occasion of being interviewed for an article in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Collin tried to explain this test by the example of an evasion manoeuvre for an elk on the road. It was soon called "Elchtest" (elk / moose test).<ref>Article in newspaper Die Zeit (where Collin is falsely spelled as Collins) (German)</ref>
The term has since then become popular with German journalists in various meanings, for example for friendly matches (German: Freundschaftsspiel or Testspiel) of the football national team against Sweden.
Because Mercedes-Benz was forced to upgrade the A-Class, the test was important in the popularization of Electronic Stability Control.
The term Moose test is also used in a more general sense to refer to any stringent test of the quality of a product.
Elk crash test
Because collisions with moose (elks) are particularly dangerous for the persons in a car, both Volvo and Saab have a tradition of taking elk crashes into account when building cars. VTI, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute have developed an elk crash test dummy called Mooses. The dummy (which is made with similar weight, centre of gravity and dimensions to a live moose) is used to recreate realistic elk collisions.