The wheelbase is the distance between the centres of the front and rear wheels. A vehicle with a longer wheel base usually rides smoother both on and off the road. The lengthy distance between the front and rear wheels, in a long wheel base vehicle, means that any bumps that are ridden up and over create less of a pitch in the vehicles horizontal ride line, compared with the experience in results of a short wheel based vehicle. The occupants are not jolted as much in a long wheel based vehicle compared to occupants sitting in a short wheel based vehicle travelling over identical bumps. This is due to the lesser forces working upon the occupants bodies whilst riding over the bumps. A vehicle with a shorter wheelbase not only is joltier but makes for a more tiresome long-distance journey on or off-road. However, the added bonus of a short wheel based vehicle is evident in off-roading circles. Many owners of short wheel based 4X4 vehicles experience better ground clearance when undertaking very rough and undulated terrain. As is often the case, the short wheel base off-roading vehicles avoid bellying out on humps a lot less frequently than their long wheelbase counterparts.
Many cars have models in their range that will offer a long wheelbase option. Take for instance the Mercedes Benz 500, long wheelbase model. Not only does the longer wheelbase offer a smoother and more luxurious drive, but the space in the cabin is greatly enlarged, making the car very limousine like.We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Wheelbase?’!
Back to Car Glossary