6 Jul 2017
At a time when automotive manufacturers are using every method known to man to lower the static weight of their vehicles in the interests of improving gas mileage, it may strike some as odd that several new full-size and mid-size SUV and Crossovers are still being built on steel frames. With lighter alloys and stronger plastics, like those used in many cars and even Ford’s full-size pickups, the idea of a heavy, often nosey and poor handling steel frame on which to build a new vehicle appears like a step back. Odd perhaps, and with some ill-effect to MPG, but using an already developed platform, or frame, can be a major cost savings to the launch of a new vehicle. With fuel prices currently down, for now, it’s still a winner to not have to develop a suspension and platform supporting unibody and deal rather improving MPG and performance wherever they can. That said, should gas prices jump back up, watch for a new wave of “frameless” SUVs and Crossovers.