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In order to have good wheel travel and traction while on a rough road or trail, a vehicle’s suspension needs to be soft and flexible. The goal is to allow the tires to contact the ground as much as possible to gain as much traction as possible, and to get the power from the power source to the appropriate wheel. In terms of suspension design, good performance on pavement is often contradictory to good performance off-road. What’s more, having an off-road suspension isn’t the best for on-road feel. Most small SUVs have fully independent suspensions creating a stable, more comfortable, carlike ride. A side effect of independent suspension, though, is that wheel travel is restricted. This is one reason solid-axle suspensions, both front and rear, have such good reputations for off-road performance.

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