Automakers have taken quality so far that troubles with transmissions, engines, and other key components are now very rare compared to bygone days. However, as automakers make progress in most areas, one design aspect is going backwards. That would be wheel, tire, and suspension durability.
This is only partly the fault of automakers. Reviewers tend to be hot-shoe sports-car fans grudgingly reviewing a family car or crossover. Unless the vehicle has steering as sharp as a razor and can corner like an F-1 car, it get’s panned as “boring.” So a cycle has been created. Automakers put ever larger wheels, with ever smaller tire profiles on cars that have no right to wear such silly jewelry. We are also to blame. We collectively have decided that funding road maintenance comes last in our local, state, and federal budgets. So the roads are a mess anyplace with frost, and in many places that have no real excuse.
GM recognizes this reality and a recent press release by the company highlights that Chevy puts four decades of data into designing the new 2016 Malibu to handle real-world roads. Since 1972 data has been collected on real roads. The data are recorded impacts from potholes, expansion joints and broken pavement in the US and other countries.
GM uses this data in their family-car designs according to Dan Devine, Chevy’s Malibu validation engineer. Dan says, “Although most Malibu owners will never put their car through similar abuse, we test all new vehicles in extreme climates, inclement weather and on punishing road surfaces. The 2016 Malibu is definitely up to these challenges.”