The latest Ford Fusion V6 Sport is the first vehicle in the company’s line-up to feature continuously controlled damping and pothole mitigation technology as standard against the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Ford’s test facility at the Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium was used to replicate the effects of the world’s worst potholes and other extreme surfaces with its 1.9km pothole-ridden track.
Onboard computers analyse multiple signals collected from 12 high-resolution sensors – adjusting the dampers every two milliseconds for the best vehicle response in every situation.
When the edge of a pothole is detected, the car’s computer quickly adjusts the dampers to its stiffest settings to limit the wheel and tyre’s downward travel into the pothole and won’t strike the opposite side of the pothole as harshly.
The rear suspension can respond even faster, with a signal from the front wheel providing a pre-warning to the rear wheel well before it reaches the pothole.
With an estimated output of 325hp from the Fusion V6 Sport’s 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine, not only can it deal with potholes, but also possess improved handling characteristics.
Two suspension modes of normal and sport are available at the push of the button, with the former providing a balance of comfort and handling for daily driving, while sport mode increases the overall damping rates to improve responses to driver input and to help the car corner flatter when at speed.
According to the American Automobile Association, pothole damage cost US drivers approximately US$3 (RM12) billion a year and drivers report paying US$300 (RM1,200) to repair pothole-related vehicle damage.
“The new Fusion V6 Sport substantially reduces the harsh impact potholes often deliver. Our new pothole mitigation technology works by actually detecting potholes and ‘catching’ the car’s wheel before it has a chance to drop all the way into the pothole,” said Ford continuously controlled damping engineering expert Jason Michener
“We tested and tuned this system by driving over countless potholes – subjecting Fusion V6 Sport to the brutal, square-edged potholes of our Romeo Proving Grounds to finesse the software,” he added.
The all-new Fusion V6 Sport with continuously controlled damping and pothole mitigation technology is due to arrive at Ford dealerships in the US in the second quarter this year.