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View Poll Results: Your preferred suspension tune?
Soft (comfortable) 75 19.23%
Medium (balance) 256 65.64%
Firm (sporty) 59 15.13%
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Old 28th November 2022, 08:09   #1
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Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Your preferred suspension tune - Soft (comfortable), medium (balance), firm (sporty)

A car's suspension ultimately determines the way it rides and handles - factors which are instrumental in determining the purchase for enthusiasts. Suspensions may be tuned to provide a plush ride (soft) or very sharp handling (firm). Some might be tuned keeping in mind a balance between ride & handling.

So, what's your kind of suspension tune?

Soft (comfortable)

A soft suspension is not rigid. In general, this gives the vehicle a plush low-speed ride. Even when the road gets rough, occupants will not be uncomfortable. This sort of suspension is ideal for commuting as the comfort of occupants is prioritised.

On the downside, a soft suspension will make a car prone to body roll. Such a suspension is not suitable if the driver gets enthusiastic in corners. Again, a soft suspension will make the car wallowy at high speeds. This setup is not for enthusiastic drivers.

Examples of cars with a soft suspension setup:

MG Hector

Skoda Octavia

Kia Carnival

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz

Medium (balance)

A medium suspension setup sits between a soft and firm one. It provides a good balance of ride and handling. In such cases, the car will have a compliant ride for the most part and acceptable handling for an enthusiastic driver. Such a setup is ideal for those who use their cars for commuting from Monday to Friday, and enjoy blasting on a winding country road on a Sunday morning.

Negatives? It's neither here nor there. Sometimes, one might just feel that he could do with a more plush ride or, if the roads in the area are really good, get a car that has a firmer suspension. While handling is not poor in a car with a medium suspension setup, it won't be as sharp as a car with a firm suspension.

Examples of cars with a medium suspension setup:

Skoda Kushaq

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

BMW 3-Series
Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)-img_3409.jpg

Citroen C5 Aircross

Firm (sporty)

A firm suspension is more rigid than the other two setups. In the case of most firm suspension setups, passengers will feel all the bumps and irregularities on the road, which translates to a jiggly low-speed ride.

However, a firm suspension setup gives a vehicle superior handling. There is less body roll and corners can be taken at higher speeds. The suspension is quick to recover on hitting dips and undulations on the road, which also results in better high-speed stability. 100+ kmph ride comfort on expressways is generally better with firmer suspensions (more planted feel). Those after performance and handling are more likely to enjoy a firm suspension setup.

Examples of cars with a firm suspension setup:

Kia Seltos

Ford EcoSport

Volkswagen Tiguan

Tata Nexon

Nissan Magnite

Special Mention = Adjustable Suspensions

Clearly giving you the best of both worlds, adjustable suspensions come with a "soft" setting which greatly enhances comfort by delivering a plush, softer ride. Flick the magic button on the open road & things firm up, making the suspension more dynamically-oriented now. The Kodiaq is the first car in its segment to offer adjustable dampers & we sure hope other brands / cars follow. This dual-personality is a MUST-HAVE for India, thanks to our varying road conditions.

Last edited by GTO : 30th November 2022 at 11:30.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:37   #2
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

In my 20s, I'd have nodded vigorously & voted for "firm & sporty" . Today? No way. My first choice is "medium" . Extremely happy with the balance of cars like the 3-Series, Kushaq / Slavia, C5, etc. This is perfect for India. Will reward you for the 10% of the times you are driving hard & keep you acceptably comfortable for the other 90%. Stiff & firm suspensions are no longer for me - heck, I'd pick an Octavia or Hector tune over a stiff back-breaking setup. My sister drives a Tiguan and I hate travelling in it to Pawna. Do consider the aftermarket also = My next car (arriving in December) has a bumpy suspension, so I’ve already gotten an after-market suspension which improves ride comfort. There is plenty of high quality aftermarket support today.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:51   #3
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

I voted for "Medium (Balanced)".

For Indian driving conditions, and for my long weekend drives on mixed highways and rural roads conditions, a well-balanced suspension is my choice. I am quite happy with the suspensions of my F30 3-series, which falls in this well balanced category.

However, for pure highway drives, I would like a firm and sporty suspension. On some fast runs on smooth highways, I find my F30 suspensions a bit too soft for my liking (even when I am running Run Flat Tyres). I would have loved them to be a tad firmer for those conditions. And that is why I find it amusing when people complain of harshness of RFTs on F30s (or even G20s, which are not firm by any standards). For me, even with RFTs, the F30 or G20 ride is a bit too soft for highways (but perfect for bad rural roads and overall mixed driving conditions).

On a couple of times, I got a ride in an M340i on long highways (Bangalore to Chennai), and loved that ride. M340i has optimal firmness for highway drives. I really like that sporty firm feel on the highways. So maybe, my choice would be somewhere between medium to firm suspensions in general, for our driving conditions.

What I absolutely do not like is soft suspensions. That soft, wallowy ride is the worst, and no matter what the conditions, I would stay away from such soft cars.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:53   #4
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

My daily driver is a Fiesta 1.6S with sport-tuned firm suspension. Apart from the corners where it makes me smile, there are far too many bumps and ruts that have caused me to wince and cringe.

I had to think twice between soft & medium suspensions before voting, I dream of a cushy ride that much! Considering the condition of roads in our country, firm is definitely not enjoyable.

I finally chose medium, as soft suspensions will roll too much and also tend to bob up & down at highway speeds.

Last edited by aravind.anand : 30th November 2022 at 11:54.
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Old 30th November 2022, 13:09   #5
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Medium ride any day unless I had the luxury of having specific cars for specific occasions.

You'll more likely complain of having a harsh ride than a soft ride unless you're on the highway way too frequently.

You can get away from the sways and wallows of a softly sprung car if driven gently on the highway but you can't get away from the harsh ride of a stiffly sprung car when you have to drive on our terrible roads.
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Old 30th November 2022, 13:16   #6
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Voted for Medium.
My current vehicle in use is a Duster AWD. It has exemplary balance between comfort and handling. A bit of a body roll at higher speeds, but the way it absorbs bumps and undulations of the road make it worthwhile. The suspension is soft enough for light to medium offroading. It is yet to cause any scares or surprises in rare evasive maneuvers on highway drives.

I am happy with current setup. I might go for raised springs from Eibach or full ironman system in the future but that is only if I fully commit to motorsport participation.
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Old 30th November 2022, 15:01   #7
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

I have a soft corner for cars with soft suspension. Body roll is something one would notice rarely (on certain roads and that too only when driving aggressively). But rough roads is something one notices pretty much all the time.

Unfortunately, most cars with soft suspension also have crappy steering (superlight + slow turn in). My ideal car is one that has soft suspension but also weighty & quick steering.
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Old 30th November 2022, 15:11   #8
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

My vote is for Medium, a balance between soft and firm.

My past three rides had one of each setting.

Current ride: MG ZS EV (Soft)
- Good comfort
- low fatigue over long distances
- High body roll
- Unsettles the car over undulations at higher speeds.

Previous ride: S-Cross 1.6 (medium)
- Perfect balance between soft and firm
- Could take corners at high speeds at minimal body roll
- Cushy ride over smaller imperfections, helpful in cities.

The one before: Ecosport 1.5 (firm)
- Excellent handling
- Fun to drive on twisties
- No need to slow down for bad patches of road
- Firm ride in city, was tiring over long distances.
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Old 30th November 2022, 15:32   #9
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Voted Medium.

My Nissan Terrano is perfectly (IMO) setup for all kinds of roads I might travel.
I have learnt she sails smoothly over Pune roads when the speed is slightly more than my earlier ride, the WagonR.

On the highways she is steady, with a full feel of the road, that I don't even realise how I gobble up the miles. Has a slight tendency for body roll on high speed corners, but I managed to learn to handle it in a few days.
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Old 30th November 2022, 15:37   #10
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Voted medium. While adaptive dampers would be the way to go, it's not always feasible. Our 2006 Fiesta strikes a beautiful balance between ride and handling; absolutely perfect for Indian roads, I'd say.

However, I feel like any of the three options can work properly if tuned well enough. For example, in our 2021 Superb, the suspension is quite soft but it is tuned brilliantly. High speed stability is never an issue and it arrests body roll surprisingly well too.

Other factors also affect this according to me. Tyre pressures play a massive role! In the same Superb, using the pressures for a full load (36 front, 48 rear) ruins the ride quality due to how harsh and loud the bumps seem. Drop it to regular pressures, however, (32 front, 33 rear), and it's a wonderfully supple yet planted ride.

Suspension tuning is an art not many can get right. In my experience, German manufacturers have the best track record at this.

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 30th November 2022 at 15:42.
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Old 30th November 2022, 17:14   #11
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

At my age, its more of a "getting old, needing soft" suspension to save my bones, especially with our increasing uneven concrete roads. So I think this poll needs an age dimension.

Sometimes I wish suspension mode was a selectable option like engines.
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Old 2nd December 2022, 09:29   #12
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

While I have voted medium, the setup preference is highly dependent on the car. FOr example, I would like a Thar/Scorpio with a soft suspension while a Polo with a stiffer setup. A City would be something I would like balanced.

"Balanced" for the car persona is the right word here!
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Old 2nd December 2022, 09:34   #13
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Voted "Firm". Aside from the handling advantages that it brings, my primary factor is less body-roll over stiff ride. My kid and wife both are very sensitive to the slightest of body-rolls and ends up with a nausea. That's the reason we dropped Octavia from our list of possible contenders while looking for our next car and narrowed down to Tiguan/Compass though none of these SUVs could match the luxury quotient of Octavia.
It's difficult to judge the effect of body-roll from the driver's seat but the back-benchers will surely feel it.
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Old 2nd December 2022, 09:37   #14
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

Nice poll.
A little off-topic, but I keep reading about VW Tiguan being of Stiff/Hard suspension but I really did not feel uncomfortable at all in my test drive of this vehicle. At most only slight bumps were felt and the suspension made noise when going over medium sized imperfections : )

On topic, I really did love my Octavia test drive on the comfort aspect. It glided over everything and I feel this is the way to go for Indian roads. After the few corners I cut at what would be called decent speed I doubt it will effect high-speed lane switching stability either. Absolutely perfect tuning!
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Old 2nd December 2022, 09:39   #15
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Re: Your preferred suspension tune | Soft (comfortable) vs medium (balance) vs firm (sporty)

For me it’s not just the suspension, but it’s the balance between suspension, chassis etc. Say in the original list Kushaq with medium set up is still a better handler than Seltos, Nexon etc. So I would pick a Kushaq which is best of both the worlds.

However if it is suspension alone, I would anyday pick a stiffer one as my highway and fun car (always Tiguan over Tucson/C5) and will go for medium as my beater city car. Soft suspension is a totally no for me, unless the chassis and other hardwares compensates for this (say Octavia in this list with softer suspension is still the best handler after 330). So voted Firm.
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