SUVs: Comfortable Ride Questioned

Sport-utility vehicles ‘ride’ differently than cars because of their greater weight, height and wheel diameters.  Seemingly, they are more comfortable because bumps taken straight-on are felt less than in lower vehicles.  This is due to better shock absortion from more weight, vertical spring and shock absorber travel-distance and their large diameter wheels.  Large diameter wheels do not penetrate road holes as much as small diameter wheels.  However, when bumps are encountered one side almost always  is struck more than the other negating the comfortable ride benefit for this popular vehicle class.   Here’s how.

The higher a vehicle from the road surface the greater its side-to-side movement of the cabin when encountering bumps on the opposite side.  This lateral whipping of the head AND trunk is similar to how ‘whip-lash’ damages the neck.  Rapid side-to-side movement of the body excessively wears the neck AND trunk more so than whip-lash injuries.  Front-to-back movements do not adversely effect the trunk because the seat back rest cushions its movement.  Other than straight-on speed bumps most road bumps are NOT taken equally side-to-side.

Although not a likely way to evaluate driving comfort, excessive side-to-side sway should be considered when one has a history of neck and low back pain before purchasing a SUV.

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2 Responses to “SUVs: Comfortable Ride Questioned”


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