Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The new compact... technology matters

The new compact is sophisticated
Both in electronics and equipments but mainly in chassis and suspension design. The new compact (as pioneered by the Focus I but followed by the VW Golf V) has very sophisticated multilink rear suspension design. But also very high body stiffness. The most advanced representatives of this class (Focus II and Golf V) are in reality smaller versions of their bigger brothers (next Mondeo and current Passat) sharing most of the suspension parts and underpinnings. This level of engineering means that the new compact drives exceptionally well combining great levels of comfort, handling and safety. In this particular the Focus II is clearly superior to the VW Golf, mainly due to its bigger footprint (wheelbase x width) and Ford’s extensive experience with multilink suspension design. It is really impressive how the Focus can still be very comfortable with 17’’ wheels while displaying amazing handling, safety and agility.

This level of sophistication will be followed by other competitors, although it is not clear if the French machinery will upgrade to multilink suspensions: current versions of the Peugeot 307 and Renault M├ęgane are still very competitive in handling and comfort even if using old suspension design… On the other hand the current Opel Astra will have to upgrade a lot. Actually, if the Opel Signum could be made a bit smaller (and cheaper) maybe then it could compete with the Focus II…
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