When designing vehicle suspension systems, it is well-known that spring and damper characteristics required for good handling on a vehicle are not the same as those required for good ride comfort. Any choice of spring and damper characteristic is therefore necessarily a compromise between ride comfort and handling. The compromise is more pronounced on off-road vehicles, as they require good ride comfort over rough off-road terrain, as well as acceptable on-road handling. In this paper, the ride comfort vs. handling compromise for off-road vehicles is investigated by means of three case studies. All three case studies indicate that the spring and damper charcteristics required for ride comfort and handling lie on opposite extremes of the design space. Design criteria for a semi-active suspension system, that could significantly reduce, or even eliminate the ride comfort vs. handling compromise, are proposed. The system should be capable of switching safely and predictably between a stiff spring and high damping mode (for handling) as well as a soft spring and low damping mode (for ride comfort). A possible solution to the compromise, in the form of a four state, semi-active hydropneumatic spring-damper system, is proposed.