What is a Handling Package?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A handling package is a set of retrofits to the suspension of a vehicle, designed to improve on the road performance and make the car more responsive to the driver. Drivers can pay an extra fee to add these features to a car before delivery, and it may also be possible to have a retrofit at the dealer's or a third party mechanic's. Cars with handling packages can have a higher resale value, especially if other features to enhance performance and comfort have been added as well.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Cars with a handling package have stiffer shocks and dampers, giving them a suspension tuning closer to that used in sports cars. In addition, the tires and rims may be changed. Tire size and format can be adjusted to improve performance and decorative rims may be added to enhance aesthetic appeal. Antiroll bars can be installed to assist with cornering and reduce the risk of tipping or rolling when taking corners at high speed.

Auto manufacturers may make a handling package available for models on the lower end of their lineup. More expensive cars usually have such modifications installed as part of their base configuration, with other options available to meet the need for special features. The handling package can improve the way the car feels on the road, but will not address other aspects that may limit performance. Other packages may be designed to accomplish this and people with specific needs may need to purchase a more expensive model.

If a car comes with a handling package at no additional charge, this will be noted in the paperwork. When it can be purchased, the price may be negotiable, depending on the car, the dealer, and the economic circumstances. It is sometimes possible to get a discount on the sticker price or to have the dealer provide add-ons for free if dealers have an urgent need to move cars off the lot. Manufacturers may also offer promotional discounts with the goal of encouraging people to buy cars and consider making up the savings difference with add-ons.

It is advisable to review the specifications of a handling package to learn more about the specific modifications being offered. People may find it helpful to look up reviews of such packages in publications aimed at car purchasers so they can make an informed decision about whether the package is a good investment. Minimal difference in performance may not be worth the higher sticker price.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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