What suspension is best for Russian roads

Cars with soft suspension for Russian roads

Modern car models should provide comfort and driving safety. But for off-road travel choose a softer suspension with more travel. Elastic device of this type is usually complex and expensive. But there are passenger car models that can handle off-roading well and are sold cheaply.

Reinforced suspension

The stiffness of a car’s elastic device determines the degree to which the body is protected from shocks and bumps. Inexpensive cars with soft suspension are popular among Russian drivers. The design of the damper of these models provides the necessary driving safety on bad roads.

The importance of suspension in the car

The elastic design of the car provides comfort and handling when driving at speed. Roads in Russia, especially secondary roads, have poor pavement quality. Russia also has unfavorable driving conditions most of the year – slippery roads, rain, snow, fog. Therefore, in order to maintain stability in motion, the car must rely on all wheels.

Good contact with the road surface is provided by a soft suspension. A balanced elastic device has sufficient compression stroke to compensate for variations from surface irregularities. The design of the suspension also allows to reduce roll when maneuvering at speed.

GAZ 31105 front strut

GAZ 31105 front strut

The main parts and assemblies of the elastic structure:

  • springs, pneumatic cylinders;
  • gas or hydraulic shock absorbers;
  • levers, rods and springs;
  • stabilizers, torsions;
  • silent blocks and rubber cushions;
  • travel limiters.

Good drivability and stability is provided by an independent car suspension. The damping device of the car is selected according to the type of operation. Rigid suspension is suitable for driving on smooth roads with high speed. A soft elastic device is more often used in crossovers and SUVs.

What kind of suspension is needed on bad roads

The function of the damping structure is to protect the body from shaking and vibration. Driving on bumps and irregularities of Russian roads increases the demands on the softness of the elastic device. The design with a large compression stroke ensures reliable contact of the rear and front wheels with the surface.

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Suspension types for different operating conditions:

  1. Standard – applicable in the urban cycle, well provides comfort and maintains proper handling on smooth roads in all weathers.
  2. Sport suspension – with lowered compression and rebound stroke, used for racing cars – has low ground clearance.
  3. Soft suspension – applicable in off-road conditions, also allows you to ride comfortably on city roads.

Some car models partially use parts with an increased compression stroke to improve cross-country ability.

Suspension for an axle car

Suspension for an axle car

Features of the suspension for driving on bad roads:

  • high ground clearance;
  • increased stroke of shock absorbers and springs;
  • multilever construction;
  • transverse stabilizers.

Soft elastic device does not give proper control when driving at high speeds due to the swaying of the car. But the rigid dependent design is not comfortable, it wears out faster on bad roads.

Why the suspension should be soft

Safety and good handling of the car is provided by the tight contact of the wheels with the surface. Therefore, for bad roads it is better to have an independent suspension with a large compression and rebound stroke. Damping design of this type is usually equipped with cars with increased cross-country ability – SUVs and crossovers.

The essence of the benefits of soft suspension:

  • effectively dampens vibrations on uneven pavement;
  • Creates comfortable conditions inside the car;
  • Wear of elastic parts and units is reduced;
  • evenly distributes the load on the wheels;
  • transmits the driving moment well.

Inexpensive cars, having a damping device with a large stroke, are poorly controlled on sharp turns. Therefore, the driver needs to do a speed reduction before maneuvering.

Inexpensive cars with soft suspension

Modern car models should provide comfort and driving safety. But for off-road travel choose a softer suspension with more travel. Elastic device of this type is usually complex and expensive. But there are passenger car models that can handle off-roading well and are sold cheaply.

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Sports suspension arms

Sport suspension arms.

Top list of inexpensive cars with soft suspension for 2021:

  1. Toyota Corolla.
  2. Kia Ceed.
  3. Ford Focus.
  4. Hyundai Solaris.
  5. Skoda Octavia.
  6. Peugeot 308.
  7. Mazda 3.
  8. Mitsubishi Lancer.
  9. Chevrolet Cruze.
  10. Volkswagen Polo.

The damping design of the cars on the list dampens vibrations and oscillations well, maintains a smooth ride and maintains cornering stability. The resilient device gently transmits motion torque during acceleration and braking without losses. And lets you ride comfortably on smooth asphalt and poor dirt roads. Fine-tuning the soft car suspension well reduces sway and roll during maneuvers.

For car stability, manufacturers often change the tilt of the wheel axle – camber. This compensates for the load and improves traction. A too soft suspension can be less comfortable because of the motion sickness effect. Therefore, new models of passenger cars are always tested in real road conditions.

Which suspension is better: soft or hard

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This time let’s talk about which suspension is better: soft or stiff. Let’s analyze what the differences are. We’ll tell you why the choice of suspension depends on the purposes you are pursuing when buying a car. For stiffness does not always go along with tenacity, and softness – with comfort.

A girl in the car.


The essence of the suspension

To begin with, let’s break down what functions any suspension should perform:

  • To reduce roll when cornering;
  • Be one mechanism not separable from the car in case of emergency braking or collision;
  • provide smooth running of the car;
  • to keep sharpness of angles of car wheels;
  • effectively and quickly dampen vibrations of the body while driving over bumps, potholes, speed bumps and so on.


To make all 4 wheels confidently stand on the road surface, they should have a possibility to move up and down and touch the road with their whole width. Making the suspension softer or stiffer helps adjust the springs. Shock absorbers also play a big role.

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Shock absorbers

These suspension elements are responsible for dampening vibrations. That is, their setting determines the roll as well as body movements when driving on rough roads. The shock absorber can make the suspension rigid, but flexible. It is not necessary to adjust it too soft – the car will swing like a pendulum. Stiff – also it is not necessary: the car will “collect” the smallest roughness of a road surface. Skilled mechanics can adjust shock absorbers so, that it will be less rolls, and “rolls” during acceleration and braking – too. Moreover, the suspension will not react on a driver’s back at the slightest hole and will not break if the motorist will appear in a deep puddle.


Further we will talk about rigid suspension, its pros and cons.

Rigid suspension

When the suspension is rigidly tuned, the iron horse becomes safer and more maneuverable. Therefore, only a rigid suspension is put on sports cars. It has at least six advantages:

  • the wheels are good for the pavement;
  • when cornering, even at high speed, the car almost doesn’t lurch;
  • sharp maneuvers are made without effort;
  • the braking distance is less than that of soft suspension;
  • on a level road it is easy to reach high speed in the minimum time;
  • wet, snowy or ice-covered road is not a reason to slow down.

But there are disadvantages of rigid suspension. They are connected with driver’s health and cost of service.

Thus, the owner of the car with rigid suspension feels every pothole, bump and stone. The spine is overloaded, which after a couple of years of driving can proclaim itself – the back will ache, curvature can appear etc..

Another significant disadvantage is that the rigid suspension will have to be carefully monitored, as it wears out quickly. The shock-absorbers should be replaced each 70thousandth kilometers or even more often.

Shock absorber

The experts assure: the rigid suspension is not the best option, as one wheel is often unloaded. It means that while making turns and abrupt maneuvers the weight of the car “rolls” over to one side. So, a wheel left without “weight” will easily come off the surface, making the car unmanageable.

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How to make the suspension stiffer

If you often drive on smooth city roads or highways with lots of turns, you want to make your car more maneuverable and controllable – readjust the suspension. Make it more rigid. We specify right away: you should not do it yourself, if you are not a professional car mechanic. In the service station can make a suspension stiffer in two ways:

  • Install a quality stabilizer, which will not let the wheels, located on one axis, to move in different rhythm. However, the method is not the best – one wheel will remain unloaded when turning 90 degrees or less.
  • They make the suspension stiffer: They adjust springs and shock absorbers in a certain way. The car will really become more “obedient”, but the difference in comfort you will feel at once.

Next we will talk about soft suspension.

Soft suspension

The obvious advantages of a car with soft suspension – comfort and clear traction (better than the hard suspension). Soft suspension setup has been popular in the States for years – 8 out of 10 roads there are straight. The advantages can be clearly defined as follows:

  • Effective dampening of axle oscillation when traveling on rough roads;
  • Comfortable driving, no stress on the spine of the driver and passengers;
  • The details of a properly tuned soft suspension will be worn out by 100 thousand kilometers or even more;
  • the load on the wheels during roll is distributed more evenly than on a rigid suspension;
  • grip is better than the rigid setting.

There are also many disadvantages of soft suspension. They are connected with the peculiarities of the design.

When turning, you have to reduce the speed, otherwise the roll becomes too strong, there is even a risk of overturning.

The car is less controllable than with a rigid setting. Fast driving, acceleration and braking on the car with softly tuned suspension is not possible – the car “bites” at any sharp movement. Do not even think about “police turns”, drifting, short races along a straight line (drag racing).

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Passengers in a car with softly tuned suspension often get seasick.

When the suspension is too soft, it shrinks too much on a corner: the wheels on the other side sag in the air.

If the weight of passengers and luggage on one side is more than on the other (including the luggage compartment), the car will bend even more on the turn and become almost uncontrollable, losing traction with the road. Experienced car owners combat this by changing the wheel camber.

How to make the suspension softer

If you often drive on broken, unpaved roads, your way runs in a straight line or calmly drive a car, preferring comfort – choose a car with a soft suspension. Another option is to “soften” a stiff suspension in one of the following ways:

  • Buy soft tires or reduce the pressure in the ones you have on now. The first option is safer, because the car with deflated tires is “three-tenths” of control and unstable on the road. Driving on these tires puts a strain on the engine and makes it consume more fuel. In addition, flat tires do not last long.
  • Take your car to a car service, change the shock absorbers. If you install gas or oil shock absorbers, you’ll get a softer suspension.
  • You can also have the shock absorber springs replaced at the service station. There are two ways to choose: buy new, softer ones or trim the old ones. The second option will make the car lower. Whether you like it is up to you to decide.

Remember: you also need competent adjusters to soften the suspension. A reasonable option is the last step of suspension softness, on the verge of hard.

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