A multilink rear suspension is the gold standard for ride and handling; a solid beam axle is the ticket for max payload and trailering. The front-drive hybrid version of the 2022 Ford Maverick uses neither, but its rear suspension design threads a needle between these concepts with a trailing twist beam that leverages Ford’s patented “Force Vectoring Spring” design that first appeared on the very excellent Euro-market 2019 Ford Fiesta ST.
What Is a “Force Vectoring Spring”?
This special riff on the coil spring uses cold-formed steel that’s directionally wound (the right and left rear springs are not interchangeable) with the pitch and diameter of the coils varying throughout the springs’ length. The critical difference you’ll note in the photo is that the top and bottom coil look angled when the springs are uncompressed. Once installed with body weight on them, they look like normal springs, though the lower spring perches angle slightly up and inward on each side to accommodate the design.
What Does Force Vectoring Do for Handling?
As the 2022 Ford Maverick bends into a turn, compressing the outside rear wheel, those sharp angles allow the spring to directly absorb some of the lateral cornering force. In effect, the springs themselves vector some cornering forces laterally into the frame. This adds a degree of roll control without stiffening the bushings, the springs themselves, or the torsion bar in the trailing twist beam—any of which would have a negative effect on ride quality.
Are There Other Benefits?
Another common way to bolster lateral stiffness is by using a Watt’s linkage. In the case of the Fiesta ST, that solution would have added 22 pounds. Scaling everything up for truck duty, you can rest assured the weight penalty would have been even greater on the Maverick. The trailing twist beam itself features a rear-facing open C-channel section into which a torsion bar gets welded, which allows Ford to easily vary the roll control for different models and packages by simply varying the diameter of that bar. The low-mounted beam helps enable the low cargo box floor height, even while kicking up to permit the exhaust to run underneath, but it cannot accommodate AWD.
Where Else Are Force Vectoring Springs Used?
Drivers of Ford’s workaday Transit Connect also enjoy the ride/handling benefits of these “Force Vectoring Springs.” From hot hatches to delivery vans, to pickup trucks—that’s a pretty broad portfolio for this clever concept.