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Automobile handling and vehicle handling are descriptions of the way a wheeled vehicle responds and reacts to the inputs of a driver, as well as how it moves along a track or road. It is commonly judged by how a vehicle performs particularly during cornering, acceleration, and braking as well as on the vehicle's directional stability when moving in steady state condition.

In the automotive industry, handling and braking are the major components of a vehicle's "active" safety, as well as its ability to perform in Auto Racing. The maximum lateral acceleration is sometimes discussed separately as "road holding". (This discussion is directed at road vehicles with at least three wheels, but some of it may apply to other ground vehicles). Automobiles driven on public roads whose engineering requirements emphasize handling over comfort and passenger space are named sports cars.

Centre of mass height

The centre of mass height, also known as the centre of gravity height, or CGZ, relative to the track, determines load transfer (related to, but not exactly weight transfer) from side to side and causes body lean. When tires of a vehicle provide a centripetal force to pull it around a turn, the momentum of the vehicle actuates load transfer in a direction going from the vehicle's current position to a point on a path tangent to the vehicle's path. This load transfer presents itself in the form of body lean. In extreme circumstances, the vehicle may roll over.

Height of the centre of mass relative to the wheelbase determines load transfer between front and rear. The car's momentum acts at its centre of mass to tilt the car forward or backward, respectively during braking and acceleration. Since it is only the downward force that changes and not the location of the centre of mass, the effect on over/under steer is opposite to that of an actual change in the centre of mass. When a car is braking, the downward load on the front tires increases and that on the rear decreases, with corresponding change in their ability to take sideways load.

A lower centre of mass is a principal performance advantage of sports cars, compared to sedans and (especially) SUVs. Some cars have body panels made of lightweight materials partly for this reason.

Body lean can also be controlled by the springs, anti-roll bars or the roll center heights.

Cars with unusual handling problems

Certain vehicles can be involved in a disproportionate share of single-vehicle accidents; their handling characteristics may play a role: