New Ford Focus Well Equipped for Potholed Roads

Despite the UK government’s plan to fix the roads, the new Focus is being developed for the global car market, so it should be able to deal with rough road conditions. That’s why Ford wants to ensure the toughness and durability of the suspension systems on all its cars and vans, while also not compromising on the rewarding driving experience that defines Ford vehicles.

Extensive testing and development for chassis and suspension systems was carried out by Ford engineers at Dunton Technical Centre, one of Europe's largest automotive R&D centers, and Lommel Proving Ground, Belgium. This means that Ford vehicles are capable of coping with the most demanding road surfaces. Tests include running real-world road simulations, high-tech data acquisition and thousands of miles of surface testing.

The automaker uses high-tech equipment to record the load and strain placed upon suspension components. This equipment is fitted to "Road Load Data Acquisition" systems that cost up to £250,000, and combine with the sophisticated data recording and processing equipment inside the car to make such vehicles worth more than £1.5 million.

The challenge for the suspension system comes when it exits the pothole - it can be like hitting a kerbstone. We test all the wheel and tire sizes that are fitted to the production cars so we know they can cope,” said Simon Mooney, test engineer, Dunton Technical Centre.

We use specially instrumented wheels on the car which measure the load in three directions. On some vehicles there are various sensors totaling some 200 extra channels through which to get the data,” Mooney continued.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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