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State of the Car

Ford tech lets cars 'jump' over potholes

Some weather-beaten roads are so bad these days that potholes are impossible to avoid without swerving into the next lane. But what if you could just jump over them?

That’s sort of what the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport can do, when it’s not busy carving up the road itself.

The new high performance sedan has an active suspension system that’s been programmed to know when it encounters the edge of a pothole and then reacts the same way that you do when bracing for impact, by stiffening up.

But in this case, that can keep the wheel from falling into a pothole by allowing it skip over it. By the time the rear wheel hits, the suspension has gathered more information on the obstacle and does an even better job clearing it.

Ford hasn’t revealed exactly how big of a pothole the system can handle, but it partially depends on how fast the car is going. Along with making hard impacts less painful for passengers, Ford says it will help reduce damage to the suspension, wheels and tires, which a recent report from AAA says costs drivers $3 billion per year.

Unfortunately, the Fusion Sport won’t be on sale until summer, when hopefully most of those potholes will be filled in, so you might have to wait until next winter to find out how good it works.