Citroen's Nemo Multispace has failed the famous 'Elk test' that did so much damage to the safety reputation of the Mercedes A Class in 1997.

The test, which was carried out by German testers ADAC and Which? magazine and sees the car swerved sharply from one side to another, as if it was avoiding an obstacle on the road. The Citroen was not fitted with ESP anti-skid control technology and lost grip on the road, and flipped onto its roof.

Which? also tested the mechanically identical Fiat Qubo, which was fitted with ESP and passed the test without losing control.

Citroen does not offer ESP on the Nemo Multispace at the moment, even as an option, but has confirmed that it will now be introducing the technology on diesel models as standard from October, and petrol versions by the end of 2011.

A spokesman for the brand said: "We have avoidance tests as part of our development, but they reflect real life avoidance." Currently the brand does not conduct the Elk test however, saying: "The issue is that it is an extremely severe test that doesn't correspond to real-life situations."

Citroen maintains, despite the test failure, that the car is safe, and represents no risk to normal driving situations. But elks, or deer, or even children, do not wander out in front of your car in a 'normal situation. Thankfully the fitment of this technology as standard will be a legal requirement by 2012, meaning manufacturers can't cut costs by cutting the safety equipment.

Check out the video of the test here