I did not mean in the literal sense it only applies to pickup trucks, but in the practical sense. http://www.trucktrend.com/how-to/towing ... e-standard
outlined in this article Just about all of the vehicle variables and adjustments allowed as per the testing procedure are only really applicable to pickup trucks and not smaller vehicles, you aren't specifying different final drive ratios or tire sizes or ordering dual rear wheels on something like a Kia Sorrento or an Outlander. The constant use of the words "truck" and "truck/trailer combination" throughout implies who this test procedure is really aimed at.
I have not been able to find any information regarding how smaller vehicles are tested and what sort of baselines they're required to meet, and just like yourself I have better things I'd rather spend 85USD on than some publication from the SAE. Is a Ford Ecosport supposed to meet the same 30 second 0-60 acceleration time as a massive Ford F250 diesel or is it different? Every article online only talks about how the pickup trucks are tested.
I wonder how the Rivian fares
They were seen testing with 11,000lbs on that stretch of route 68 a while back, apparently they were pulling a sustained 1200-1500A of current from the battery packs under acceleration with that load.
If Mitsu were to ignore the standard and use a higher non-slope figure, the competition would jump on this "cheating" from a great height
Not in North America they wouldn't because the vast majority of people buying crossovers (The Outlander is a crossover here) really don't care about the towing capacity here due to the culture surrounding towing, If you want to tow, you buy a truck or a large SUV like a Suburban or an Expedition, not a small crossover. If you want to find the towing capacity on a crossover it's usually buried in the depths of the vehicle specifications and isn't presented out front like it is on the trucks & suvs.
If North American users don't understand the meaning or purpose of the test, then that's their fault - unless, of course, insurance companies won't cover you if you exceed the standard
North American drivers have trouble understanding how to drive at the best of times, adding a trailer to that only makes the situation worse. The number of pickup trucks I've had blow past me doing 120+km/h while towing a 20-30ft camper trailer is mind boggling, the only saving grace is those vehicles are generally overbuilt for their ratings so it can compensate for the drivers incompetence to a degree. Manufacturers prefer to protect their behinds from liability and avoid warranty claims by specifying overbuilt vehicles for a given tow weight.
The laws will vary by every province and state, but at least in British Columbia it's not actually illegal to exceed the towing capacity, and going off the linked video it's the same in Ontario. Exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the Gross Axle Weight Rating is illegal, and odds are if you're over the tow limit, the additional tongue weight will put you over an axle weight limit, but if you can distribute the weight properly something like this is still technically legal: