Volkswagen's European-spec Passat wagon came up short in the world-renowned "moose test," swinging its long tail out wide in the infamous maneuverability test designed to evaluate a vehicle's ability to spare a hypothetical moose (not to mention the vehicle's occupants) in the event that he wanders into the travel lane.
The Passat initially fails the test at 48 mph, with its tail snapping loose as the driver completes the initial lane change. It then swings wide in the opposite direction as the driver attempts to correct for the oversteer.
Over the course of the test, the Passat manages to tag cones on both ends of the maneuver. If this were a real road — especially a narrow two-lane in Europe — those would be curbs or perhaps even soft shoulders.
Km77.com repeated the test multiple times, finally getting the Passat to behave at 45 mph (73 kph), which the outlet described as "quite slow" as evaluation speeds go.
While "moose test" may be the catchy term for it, the evaluation is simply an emergency lane-change maneuver. It is far more likely to be relevant for drivers who may encounter children or reversing cars encroaching on the road than the four-legged beast that inspired its name.
It's notorious for punishing vehicles engineered with a high center of gravity, with American-market crossovers and SUVs often getting called out for their poor performance in one of the most notorious evasive maneuver tests in the world.
Sedan-based station wagons simply aren't supposed to suffer from the same shortcomings. VW's Euro-spec Passat wagon is the rare exception. It's not only a low-slung wagon, but one engineered in Europe — where expectations for vehicle dynamics are ostensibly higher. We don't get the Passat wagon here in the United States. But we do get the sedan.