Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 16:00:40 +0100
From: "DervMan" <>
Subject: Re: Have Saab reintroduced hatchback yet?

"Colin Stamp" <> wrote in message news:cgu9f3tej7tg4c6nksdgke23dfj7b6top8nospamcom... > On Sat, 22 Sep 2007 11:47:53 +0100, "DervMan" <> > wrote: > >>"Colin Stamp" <> wrote in message >>news:jov7f3tc081ldgp9su0j9m80idms9rbv3fnospamcom... >>> On 21 Sep 2007 15:51:29 GMT, Adrian <> wrote: >>> >>>>Colin Stamp ( gurgled happily, sounding much >>>>like they were saying : >>>> >>>>> Yep. Looks are the only real reason I can think of why anyone might >>>>> actually prefer a saloon to the equivalent hatch. They really don't >>>>> have any redeeming features to offset the loss in practicality unless >>>>> you prefer the looks big-time. >>>> >>>>Shell rigidity, too. You've got a much smaller hole in the shell. Not >>>>quite >>>>relevant to the buying decision for a new car, though. >>> >>> I'm not quite sure what you're driving at here. Are you concerned >>> about handling? If so, we can dispel that little myth here and now. If >>> the shell flexed anything like enough to make a significant difference >>> to the handling, there would be all sorts of problems with the hatch >>> as the opening changed size and shape. It'd rattle, leak, burst-open, >>> buckle and the window would break. I'm sure I'd have noticed if >>> anything like that was going on at the back of my car. >> >>It's a bit more subtle than this. >> >>The next time you read a car advert, it may mention that the chassis is X% >>stiffer than the previous generation, so it can improve the handling and >>ride - usually at the same time. This is one reason why the (say) BMW >>3-Series rides well and handles well. There are other reasons too, like >>low >>unsprung mass, which helps. > > There is an awful lot of bullshit talked on adverts. a chassis which > is a few percent stiffer on a road car will make no discernable > difference to the handling. I think you're missing the point, though. Because the chassis doesn't flex, the suspension can be better tuned, as the engineers have a smaller amount of flex to worry about. Essentially then it can work "better." > It would be a different story on a race > car where the chassis needs to be lightweight, making flex a problem, > and at the same time, the suspension is very stiff. And the ride is appalling. :) > What you see on > the adverts is just a cynical attempt to sell cars on a bogus parallel > with race cars. >>But anyway, the reason why a stiffer chassis can improve the ride and >>handling is that as chassis bends and flexes over use, the suspension is >>less efficient or more compromised. Those small movements do, I'm led to >>believe, make an appreciable difference. >> > Not on a standard road car with standard road suspension. Yes. > You'd have > to stiffen the suspension to a enormous degree before chassis movement > started to become significant compared to suspension movement. You're taking it to the extreme and I didn't put it very well. Because of the length of the chassis, a small movement in degrees can lead to a fairly chunky movement in millimetres. That's better. As the front of the car goes over a bump, if the chassis flexes, even by a tiny amount, this gives the car a loose or bouncy feeling. The suspension is softened as a result, otherwise you can get a nasty double bump sensation over an undulated road. Because the suspension has been softened up for a decent ride, when you come to a corner it starts to flop about a bit. That's how my 9-3 feels - decent ride, bit floppy in twisty stuff. <If you've tried the current Volkswagen Fox, this car manages it probably with a stiff chassis set up, heh,> It isn't that I dislike the 9-3 - I bought it as a high mileage motorway tool - but I have the luxury or the misfortune (take your pick) to drive a whole bunch of new and old machines alike. More modern stuff has the ride of the 9-3 but is much more responsive on a twisty road. Hmm. My Ka's ride, with a braced chassis and Ford Racing suspension, was a hoot but that's something else. With a stiff chassis, the suspension can (and is) made harder for no loss in ride comfort, but a meaningful improvement in what in marketing speak is called "vehicle dynamics." Wish they'd just call it "the fun factor" meh. >>It'll only be subtle, the bodywork will be built to a tolerance, so you >>probably won't notice it - not to mention that windscreens are structural >>components. But bits move ever so slightly. At the same time the >>suspension components are also moving. Of a sort, the chassis is >>partially >>acting as the suspension. Of course, over a tight corner, the suspension >>is >>better at being suspension than the chassis twist. >> >>This is partially the reason why your 9-3 will have a top mounted chassis >>brace in the engine compartment. The other is that it improves crash >>robustness. > > My guess is that the strut brace is more of a marketing ploy than > anything else - same as the boot spoiler. Sorry to disappoint - but the strut brace is both subtle (unlike my Ka's brace, hehehe) and present in lots of modern stuff. The rear spoiler - is yours the larger, SE-style? - helps scrub the rear windscreen of water. We had four 9-3s and the S model didn't have such as effective rear windscreen scrub as my SE. I didn't buy the SE because of the spoiler, of course... :) >>>>> The stupid thing is that a lot of the saloons I see around look like >>>>> hatchbacks. The current 9-3 SS for instance, looks like they designed >>>>> it to be a hatch and then the marketing department got them to move >>>>> the hinges from the top of the back window to the bottom to keep the >>>>> image conscious target market happy. >>>> >>>>*DING*... You've got it... The target market is image conscious, and the >>>>image of a saloon is more upmarket than that of a hatch. >>>> >>> I'm not disagreeing that a lot of people see it that way. I'm just >>> pointing out how strange those people are - especially when they >>> supposedly can't bear their cars to be hatchbacks even when they look >>> like hatchbacks. >> >>It's strange isn't it? I have a sneaky suspicion that the manufacturers >>originally designed hatchback-shaped saloons to benefit from the improved >>structural strength (for crash protection and improving the drive) without >>making the car _look_ as though it was designed to be stronger, if you see >>what I mean... >> >>>>> The fact that people continue to buy these hatch-shaped saloons >>>>> suggests either that they have some kind of wierd brain disease >>>> >>>><shrug> Probably. These are people who order nice shiny new (usually >>>>leased) executive company cars, paying shitloads of income tax on 'em... >>>>Dervy, you're the expert... >> >>Well, kinda. I don't lease something myself, instead, I prefer to buy >>them >>when they come off lease. :) >> >>> Yep. People with far more money than sense. It's always amazing how >>> intelligence and wealth really do have absolutely no relationship to >>> one-another. >> >>It's great, isn't it? People who must have the latest in (whatever) >>usually >>have no appreciation for what their discarded item is worth. >> >>I love these people. I'm the second buyer of the item. :) > > You and me both. As long as they don't all make such stupid decisions > that there's nothing worthwhile left for us to buy! Ford won't stop making the Focus. Actually - yeah - the Focus has a much, much stiffer chassis than the Escort, it rides and handles so much better, but it's also between one and two adults heavier... -- The DervMan

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