Ride quality

Ride quality refers to a vehicle's effectiveness in insulating the occupants from undulations in the road surface (e.g., bumps or corrugations).[1][2][3] A vehicle with good ride quality provides a comfort for the driver and passengers.[4]


Good ride quality provides comfort for the people inside the car, minimises damage to cargo and can reduce driver fatigue on long journeys in uncomfortable vehicles,[5][6] and also because road disruption can impact the driver's ability to control the vehicle.[7][8][9]

Suspension design is often a compromise between ride quality and car handling, because cars with firm suspension can result in greater control of body movements and quicker reactions. Similarly, a lower center of gravity is more ideal for handling, but low ground clearance limits suspension travel, requiring stiffer springs.[10]

Ambulances have a special need for a high level of ride quality, in order to avoid further injury to the already ill passengers.[11]


Early vehicles, like the Ford Model T, with its leaf spring, live axle suspension design, were both uncomfortable and handled poorly.

Historically, weight was key to allowing cars such as the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and the Cadillac in the 1950s and 1960s to have a more comfortable ride quality. However, there are various drawbacks to heavier cars, including poor fuel efficiency, acceleration, braking, cornering and additional stresses on components.

Over time, technology has shifted this curve outward, so that it is possible to offer vehicles that are extremely comfortable and still handle very well, or vehicles with excellent handling that are also reasonably comfortable. One technical solution for offering both excellent comfort and reduced or eliminating body roll is by using computer-controlled suspensions, such as hydraulic active suspension system (like Active Body Control) or active anti-roll bars, however such systems are expensive because of their complexity.

Factors affecting ride qualityEdit

The main factors which affect ride quality are the stiffness of the suspension components (e.g. springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars and bushings).[12][13] Other factors include suspension geometry, vehicle mass and weight distribution.[4]


  1. ^ "Automobile Ride, Handling, and Suspension Design". www.rqriley.com. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  2. ^ "What is Ride Quality?". www.ridetech.com. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  3. ^ Reina, Giulio (2018). "On the vibration analysis of off-road vehicles: Influence of terrain deformation and irregularity". Journal of Vibration and Control. 24 (22): 5418–5436. doi:10.1177/1077546318754682. S2CID 125696656.
  4. ^ a b "Ride Quality, Part 1". www.autospeed.com. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2015-01-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Suspension Truth #2: Sport Suspensions – The Illusion of Performance". www.thetruthaboutcars.com. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  7. ^ Kasaiezadeh, Alireza; Jahromi, Mohammad Rafiee; Alasty, Aria (2005-04-11). "Fatigue Life Assessment Approach to Ride Comfort Optimization of a Passenger Car under Random Road Execution Conditions". SAE Technical Paper Series. Vol. 1. doi:10.4271/2005-01-0805.
  8. ^ Kumbhar, Prasad Bhagwan (August 2013). Simulation-Based Virtual Driver Fatigue Prediction and Determination of Optimal Vehicle Seat Dynamic Parameters (MSc). Texas Tech University. hdl:2346/50297.
  9. ^ "Mustang Suspension 101". www.dazecars.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  10. ^ Els, P.S.; Theron, N.J.; Uys, P.E.; Thoresson, M.J. (October 2007). "The ride comfort vs. handling compromise for off-road vehicles". Journal of Terramechanics. 44 (4): 303–317. doi:10.1016/j.jterra.2007.05.001. hdl:2263/26302.
  11. ^ https://www.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-042712-134653/unrestricted/FINAL_AUCAS_MQP_Report.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "Understanding Springs And Ride Quality – Tech". www.hotrod.com. March 2003. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Driver Power 2012: Best for ride quality". www.autoexpress.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

Further readingEdit