Cars with the best suspension

Whether you're looking for a car with a smooth ride or sporty body control, a vehicle’s suspension is key to how it feels on the road

Matt Rigby
Sep 30, 2021

A car’s suspension might not be the first thing that you think of when you’re considering your next car, but it is crucial to how a car feels on the road. Cars with a firm suspension setup will have a sportier feel as they’ll benefit from a quicker steering response and tighter control of the car’s body movement during corners.

More softly sprung cars, on the other hand, will tend to be more comfortable over rough roads or bumpy surfaces, but they might not be as much fun to drive on a twisty road. Cars can also be set up to have greater-than-normal suspension travel (the amount the wheel is allowed to move up and down) making them great for off-road work.

The technical details of vehicle suspension can get very complicated, but essentially cars can be fitted with mechanical springs or air suspension. They can also feature adaptive suspension where electronics control how firm the setup is and even how high the car rides over the ground.

Below we’ve gathered eight examples of cars with a great suspension setup at different budgets and to suit different types of driving preferences - covering everything from comfy city cars to upmarket motorway cruisers and high-riding SUVs.

Cars with the best suspension

1. Mercedes C-Class

Used deals from £15,550
Monthly finance from £257*

Refinement is an important aspect of luxury cars and Mercedes is better than most at creating a refined car. In the case of its C-Class upmarket saloon, this offers a supple ride and very little noise from the tyres at speed.

This makes the C-Class a great saloon for a relaxing long drive on high-speed roads. It’s better than a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 in this respect, so is a sensible choice if you spend much of your life on motorways or fast A roads.

2014-2021 MERCEDES C-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Land Rover Defender

Used deals from £67,999
Monthly finance from £1,022*

Although the latest Land Rover Defender can be specified with regular suspension on the short-wheelbase 90 models, all the longer 110 models get air suspension as standard. And it’s a revelation. It helps make this huge and heavy off-roader feel agile and composed on the road while maintaining a level of ride comfort better than anything its direct rivals like the Jeep Wrangler or Toyota Land Cruiser can offer.

For models equipped with air suspension, there’s an extra party trick when you head off-road, as the air suspension is height-adjustable. It can even raise itself by an extra 70mm in emergency situations. This gives it a huge amount of ground clearance, helping it to deal with extreme terrain.

READ MORE ABOUT THE LAND ROVER DEFENDER

3. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf front three quarters view

Used deals from £16,750
Monthly finance from £302*

Entry-level versions of the latest VW Golf, the eighth-generation version, have fairly simple suspension, but more expensive models have a much more sophisticated setup.

Part of this includes the option of 'Dynamic Chassis Control' (DCC). This allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual driving modes, which includes adaptive suspension - suspension that can be tailored to suit different types of driving.

This means that Golf drivers of cars fitted with the DCC package can make use of the car’s adaptive shock absorbers to make the suspension firmer for a more sporty feel or to soften it up for a smoother, more comfortable ride.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Citroen C3

Used deals from £8,295
Monthly finance from £148*

Citroen has a long history of sophisticated and super-comfortable hydropneumatic suspension systems going all the way back to the 1950s, so it’s clear that offering a comfortable ride is a big part of the brand’s DNA.

The little C3 has normal mechanical springs (as do all modern Citroens), but this supermini is still a supremely comfortable car. In a time when many of its rivals offer a deliberately sporty feel, including firm suspension, in the hope of attracting young drivers, it’s a pleasingly different approach.

CITROEN C3 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Lexus UX

Used deals from £26,017
Monthly finance from £380*

The Lexus UX actually shares quite a lot of its mechanical components with the Toyota C-HR crossover, as Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota. Unlike the C-HR, however, the UX is not set up to feel sporty, which boosts its comfort level.

Inside it’s a luxurious, refined car with quiet and smooth hybrid petrol-electric power. So the fact that it has a plush, smooth ride is entirely in keeping with the car’s relaxed demeanour. It’s certainly a much more chilled-out experience than a drive in an Audi Q2 or a VW T-Roc. Optional adaptive suspension makes it a flexible companion, too, enabling you to tailor the way it drives.

6. Jaguar XF

Used deals from £19,500
Monthly finance from £310*

Jaguar is famous for sporty big saloons, and the XF is a fine example of that. But what Jaguar is also supremely good at is balancing that sporty, well-controlled feel, with a smooth and supple ride.

It’s a trick that very few cars can pull off with such aplomb, so if you're after a large and comfortable car that still has a sporty feel, the Jaguar XF could be perfect for you.

JAGUAR XF BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Tesla Model S

Used deals from £42,280
Monthly finance from £621*

The sheer weight of electric cars’ battery packs represents a challenge for car makers looking to make plug-in models with a comfortable ride, as they have more mass to control. But the air suspension in the Tesla Model S does a better job than most electric vehicles at smoothing out lumps and bumps and rough-feeling road surfaces.

Air suspension also has aerodynamic advantages - it enables the car to run lower at higher speeds, which reduces air resistance and helps improve the battery's range.

8. Hyundai i10

Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £176*

Getting really small cars to feel smooth and comfortable is something of a challenge for vehicle engineers, and it’s a rarity to find a city car that’s genuinely smooth and comfortable around town and stable and surefooted on the motorway.

But that’s what the Hyundai i10 achieves. It’s a light, compact, good-value city car that feels as comfortable as cars that are significantly larger and more expensive. Consequently, if you want something that is both small and easy to park, but very comfy, too, the i10 is a good choice.

HYUNDAI I10 BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

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