Yes, it’s true; cupholders aren’t necessarily the sexiest or most fascinating of vehicle features. Truth be told, consumers don’t likely spend a lot of time thinking about them at all.
… Well, if they’re designed properly, at least.
But the refreshed, 2017 Ford Fusion has switched from a conventional gear-selector stick to a rotary knob, which opens up a lot of avenues for the automaker to improve upon the car’s center console cupholders in order to make them as user-friendly and pleasant as possible. Minutia like that matters to car owners, who won’t necessarily notice a thoroughly well-designed cupholder, but might come to loathe a bad one.
When setting out to design the new Ford Fusion‘s cupholders, Ford made extensive use of customer feedback, concluding that the ideal design would be able to hold everything from a half-liter (16.9-ounce) plastic water bottle, all the way up to the 30-ounce cups used for soft drinks at fast food restaurants, leaving quite a large range of varying heights and widths that needed to be accommodated. In addition, their research revealed that consumers store plenty of non-beverage items – things like phones, wallets, and loose change – in vehicle cupholders. The automaker decided that these things, too, should fit and be easily retrievable.
And then, there’s the issue of access. Ford took care to position the new Ford Fusion’s cupholders effortlessly within reach, studying driver ergonomics to meet the needs of as many people as possible. The switch to a rotary gear-selector helped here, as it meant that Ford could install one cupholder in front of – rather than next to – the other. The front cupholder has been moved forward by about six inches, and Ford says the design ought to meet the needs of about 95 percent of the population.
As a result of the migration forward, the 2017 Ford Fusion is afforded three extra inches of armrest length, and another half-gallon of center console space.
“Being dissatisfied with your cupholders may be a minor annoyance, but it’s a daily one, which over time detracts from the overall car experience,” said Ford Instrument Panel and Console Manager Jolanta Coffey, whose name happens to be homonymous with a delicious beverage. “On the other hand, when you like your cupholders, they can make your vehicle feel like home.
“For Fusion, we set out to develop a beautiful interior, paying attention to the details that make people fall in love and stay in love with their car.”