Nissan is spilling more secrets about the rigorous testing which goes into developing its new crossovers - but that's the only thing being spilled. Cupholders have become an integral part of any cabin design, and Nissan engineers work hard to make sure travel mugs, drinks bottles and cans remain upright in the Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail.
They even have a set of test cups as part of their commitment to engineering quality when developing new models. Consisting of more than 40 cups of all shapes and sized, the equipment is used to make sure no one gets scalding hot coffee or sticky soft drinks in their lap or on the car's upholstery.
Russell Davies, from the Customer Oriented Engineering department at Nissan's European Technical centre in Cranfield, UK, commented 'Our research shows there is a large variation in popular cups, cans and bottles in different countries, so we test more than 40 different ones to satisfy all customers'.
He added, 'A cupholder may be something you take for granted, but you'll notice it very quickly if it doesn't work as it should!'. Cupholder evaluation is not just a static process done in a workshop. Nissan's test cups are taken to the test track and put through their paces as new vehicles perform lap after lap.
Attention to detail is everything and a strict testing procedure ensures a quality performance. Each car is driven to the limit of its grip under acceleration, braking and cornering to verify cupholder performance.
'It's amazing how much detail goes into something so simple' explained Russell. 'If you look at the shape and contour of the cupholders in the Juke, you'll see how the design is graded by width to the bottom. Whichever cup you prefer, it will fit snugly into the holder and not rattle around or tip over'.
Russell and the marketability team are constantly looking at new storage trends. For example, while mobile phones have recently been getting larger again, cans were getting narrower as energy drinks grew in popularity. Nissan was among the first to address the issue, and work with design colleagues to enhance its interior storage solutions.
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