The Small Things are a Big Deal: 2017 Ford Fusion Gets Re-Engineered Cupholders
The Fusion is an important car for Ford. It’s done well in two large U.S. markets, California and Texas, and proven capable of shrinking the sales gap between itself and the Honda Accord.
That’s why it was essential for the Blue Oval to pay attention to the changes – both big and small – it made to the sedan for its 2017 model year facelift. It tweaked the styling. It gave the Fusion available adaptive cruise control that can manage itself in stop-and-go traffic. It equipped the V6 Sport model with a dual-mode suspension that can lessen the impact of potholes.
Ford even went through the trouble of re-engineering the 2017 Fusion’s cupholders – after conducting research into customer needs and habits, of course. It discovered a number of things, including:
-A new Nielsen survey reports that 79 percent of Americans use cupholders for bottles. Most people – 52 percent – say they use them to carry cups of coffee and tea.
-North Americans are more likely to drink on the go and from large soft-drink cups than other people.
-About 50 percent of people put their mobile devices in their cupholders; 28 percent throw their loose change in them.
-The majority of containers placed in cupholders are: half-liter recyclable water bottles, 20-ounce plastic bottles used for juices and sports drinks, or 30-ounce cups used by fast-food restaurants.
Giving the car a rotary-style shifter gave interior designers room for two cupholders, one placed in front of the other. Ford’s findings indicate they’re easily reachable by at least 95 percent of drivers. The cupholder furthest forward is six inches ahead of the location of the cupholders on the 2016 Fusion, which allowed Ford to extend the armrest by almost three inches and expand the bin in it by an extra half-gallon. A pocket added to the front console can hold items such as a wallet or a phone.
According to Ford, it used “its tactical robot arm RUTH [shown in the video below] to verify the Fusion cupholders, as well as the spring-loaded resistance grips within them, meet customer preferences for resistance and feel. RUTH measured things like how much effort it takes to insert a bottle and how much tension the grips exert as a cup is being pushed down.”
Little touches like these bring to mind the work Ford put into the dimensions and layout of the 2015 F-150’s interior. If we get our hands on a 2017 Fusion, we’ll be sure to tell you all if these changes feel right.