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Handle With Care

It’s Neither Difficult Nor Expensive To Get Your Car To Handle Reasonably Well

Photography by Courtesy of the manufacturers

Most of us view performance handling as a considerably lesser priority than a killer drivetrain. We think that’s because a torquey burnout generates more tire smoke than an opposite-lock four-wheel drift. But even if you’re not setting out to build a road-race machine, making your car handle safely and predictably is pretty important—don’t you think? If not, we challenge you to hitch a ride in a car whose owner dropped a monster V-8 in place of the stock six-banger and left the chassis alone. Sure, it gets sideways at 80 mph, but while that sounds impressive, how much control do you think the driver has? Barely enough to keep the car pointed down the road—so we don’t have to suggest what happens should the need ever arise for a sudden evasive maneuver. If you ain’t at the dragstrip, it’s over, man. There’s just something wrong with seeing a $5,000 motor in a $40 chassis (the $40 spent on “slapper bars,” of course).

It’s neither difficult nor expensive to get your own death trap to handle reasonably well, provided that you understand the car’s problems and how to solve each one without creating another. The information here should give you a general idea of what to expect from common suspension upgrades. Pick and choose wisely, and you’ll be rewarded with a more capable car regardless of your budget.

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