I do a bit of volunteer driving for our local transport charity. Usually, in my Rover 75 V6 Connoisseur (I had to look up how to spell this). It is a pleasure to transport clients to their hospital appointment in the comfort of a well-riding car, which has a controlled yet wafting manner (and proper leather seats). Many of them recognise it as a car of fundamentally good quality and they are often surprised that it is a 21-year-old.
The charity has recently purchased a wheel-chair accessible vehicle. Cleverly converted, the Ford Tourneo (another spelling check just made…) can take a client in their chair and importantly position them within the car, adjacent to their carer and/or driver – much more ‘normal’ than being stuck at the back of a minibus, which was the historical option.
Obviously, the wheelchair user is positioned rather higher in the vehicle than the other passengers. Whilst stadium seating provides a good view, it also magnifies the risk of pitch and roll forces upsetting the passenger. So, a calm, unhurried driving style is the order of the day (isn’t it always?). Thankfully, the Ford brand values relevant to driving dynamics are not just words – they have influenced this vehicle. Whilst not a Ford Focus, the crisp and predictable steering response, decent body control and progressive roll behaviour all help the driver to make progress. Without upsetting the occupants. Such a shame then, that the (VAG products of 20 years ago) level of brake pedal servo ‘jump-in’ tests the wheelchair lashing straps if the driver isn’t ultra-sensitive.
Talking of crisp, predictable steering response, I have finally got around to fitting a set of our adjustable lower arms to my wife’s MG TF. It has been a long time coming, because the arms hadn’t suffered too much corrosion and the geometry has always been reasonably good (actually one of the best production cars we have seen, with almost equal front caster at just over 4 degrees). After a long day in the workshop and being distracted by other jobs, I finally set off home. What a joy! Whilst I shouldn’t be surprised, the extra steering centre definition, effort build up and desired feedback was clear to see (or feel). Well done VHS I thought.
Enjoy the art of driving. Decent vehicle dynamics can help.