The first thing one notices when driving a vehicle with Tenneco's new, high-tech electronic shocks is not how the vehicle handles the bumps, but how the steering is affected.
On a racetrack north of Detroit, Tenneco engineers let reporters drive a Chevrolet Silverado with the company's new DRiV shocks, its first with a built-in circuit board in the shock housing. The shocks instantly detect and react to wheel movements instead of reacting to the motion of the chassis.
On the test course, a Silverado with standard shocks leaned slightly in corners, and shuddered when driven over obstacles at 20 mph. But an identical truck with the DRiV shocks smoothed out the bumps.
Driving around a series of tight curves at the Waterford Hills track, the Silverado with the DRiV shocks leaned less and felt flatter in corners. The steering felt sharper and more precise, while the abrupt jarring usually felt when driving over a pothole was noticeably tamped down. Mashing the brake pedal hard did not cause the front to dive, as it did on a Silverado with standard shocks.