Abstract In the past decade, a series of computer-aided methods (computer-simulation models) have been developed for design and performance evaluation of tracked vehicles, particularly those with short track pitch designed for high speed operations. The latest version, known as NTVPM-86, developed under the auspices of Vehicle Systems Development Corporation, Nepean, Ontario, Canada, takes into account all major vehicle design parameters and terrain characteristics. The basic features of the model have been validated by field tests over a variety of terrains, including mineral, organic and snow-covered terrains. It has been gaining increasingly wide acceptance by industry and governmental agencies in the development and procurement of new vehicles in North America, Europe and Asia. In this paper, the effects of suspension characteristics, initial track tension, track width and ground clearance on the mobility of single unit and two-unit articulated track vehicles over deep snow are systematically evaluated using the computer simulation model NTVPM-86. It is found that these parameters have noticeable effects on vehicle mobility over marginal terrain. The approach to the optimization of tracked vehicle design from the mobility point of view is also examined. It is shown that the simulation model can play a significant role in assisting the procurement manager to select the appropriate vehicle candidates and the design engineer to optimize vehicle design for a given mission and environment.