VSC Software Update Helps the Toyota RAV4 Pass the Moose Test

Toyota isn’t a stranger to failing the moose test. Teknikens Värld has demonstrated how poorly the RAV4 handles at 68 km/h last September, but since then, the Japanese automaker has rectified the problem with new software.
Toyota RAV4 moose test 9 photos
Photo: Teknikens Värld
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The update has worked wonders at speeds of up to 72 km/h, helping the RAV4 keep all four wheels on the ground without fishtailing when exiting. Talking to an engineer, the Swedish magazine found out that Toyota made the VSC – vehicle stability control – engage earlier and stronger than before.

VSC prevents the wheels from slipping sideways during extreme maneuvers such as the moose test, stabilizing the vehicle while turning. When the RAV4 senses a loss of traction or slip, braking is applied individually to whichever wheel needs intervention. Understeer is common among FWD vehicles, and in this particular scenario, VSC helps by steering toward the inner curve.

When pressed about the software update, the engineer highlights that Toyota hasn’t made any other modifications other than rectifying a few lines of code. “The modified system will be made available sometime during the second quarter of 2020,” according to Toyota, “maybe in late April or May.”

What’s not exactly great is the Japanese automaker’s approach to pre-update vehicles. Teknikens Värld understands that Toyota won’t perform a recall on pre-April 2020 vehicles, but if the customer wants the VSC 2.0 software in his or her RAV4, the dealership will gladly perform the update.

Looking at the bigger picture, the RAV4 could do better in the moose test. The Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sorento managed 84 and 78 km/h right off the bat, no update whatsoever. But on the other hand, the RAV4 tested by Teknikens Värld is a bit heavier because of the 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain.

After the Ford F-Series, Ram Truck, and Chevrolet Silverado, the RAV4 is the fourth best-selling nameplate in the United States. No fewer than 448,071 units were sold in 2019, besting the Honda CR-V (384,168 examples), Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport (350,447), and Chevy Equinox (346,048).

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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