Life Motoring

Saturday 23 August 2014

It's child's play as Ford gives B-Max a thorough going-over

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

Published 23/01/2013 | 05:00

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PEOPLE like me write a lot about engines, gearboxes, and appearances of new cars.

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But we often overlook the everyday wear-and-tear that can be wrought on a sparkling new motor by children, pets and God knows what else.

Yes, keeping a car clean is a big job – especially where there are children and pets scrambling in and out every day.

Now Ford say they have given their new B-MAX an unmerciful going over in an attempt to "child-proof" the family motor.

They got down and dirty – big time.

So much so that engineers even put the car through laboratory tests that replicate the toughest treatment children and pets can dish out.

That included soaking materials in milk and fizzy drinks. I've seen children do that, no problem.

They also tested fabrics with a "mace" and pounded plastics with a heavy rubber ball.

They may have had great fun – no doubt it brought out the child in them – but it was all serious work.

Mark Montgomery is senior materials engineer with Ford of Europe. He said: "By testing for everything from soft drink spills to muddy boots, we've made sure the B-MAX interior is ready for anything."

(Steady on there, I'm sure we'll think of something.)

Samples of all leathers and fabrics in the cabin were tested for stain resistance and how easy they were to clean after being soaked for 24 hours in the liquids and being smeared with soil and grease.

The engineers left little to the imagination. For example, they tested how resistant surfaces were to damage from zips and fasteners from children's clothing and bags.

According to Ford, the "mace test" used a metal ball with needle-sharp spikes to brush fabrics 600 times and replicate the effect of snagging zips and studs.

Fabrics were also rubbed 60,000 times in a 17-hour non-stop wear test.

They really got their teeth into the job at hand by scraping metal spikes across plastic parts to test scratch resistance.

Carpets didn't escape.

They were checked for durability on a special test rig fitted with rough abrasion wheels.

Over to you now, children.

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