On the road, Atoms ride harshly but handle brilliantly. That’s the general theme that they – and other lightweight sports and track cars – tend to follow.
The Nomad is stunningly different. It still handles brilliantly, but coupled with that is now an ethereally composed ride quality.
That comes from the raised ride height and trick dampers, which allow surface imperfections to be batted away. In that respect, the Nomad gets better the faster you go. Around town, imperfections still filter through to the cabin. Once you get the chassis working, though, it’s astonishing to sit there and watch, but not feel, how the wheels bob around to absorb ruts and bumps.
What, naturally enough, this softer set-up brings is larger body movements than in a road or track-focused lightweight car. But don’t mistake that for a lack of body control; over crests and dips, the Nomad settles on its first iteration. When you accelerate, brake or corner, the Nomad’s body moves with you, but it is always impeccably controlled while it does it.
Partly that’s because the body is still refreshingly light – so controlling its movements isn’t difficult – and partly it’s because the way the double wishbone suspension is designed means that the car’s roll centres don’t move as the body rolls.
If it did, more of the body’s weight would fall onto the suspension under cornering, necessitating stiffer springs to resist it, thus harming the ride.
The upshot of all this is that the Nomad is supremely controlled and far more settled along a bumpy road than the vast majority of track or road-focused cars.
Even a supple hot hatch like the Volkswagen Golf GTI would be thrown off line more readily than a Nomad, whose impeccable control leaves its body flat, its steering uncorrupted and its driver – free from kickback, nagging and interruption – alone to concentrate on the wholesome business of driving.