Whenever we review a car we always give you a short description of the interior. Was there enough space? Were important car functions intuitively within reach? Did it feel cheap, or luxurious?
A lot of the time, that’s about it. We’re really just looking to be comfortable, and don’t ask for too much else. But occasionally a car will contain a small new detail, something so novel you have to mention it (I’m looking at you Cadillac, with your awesome purse pocket).
Ford has announced details about the interior of the 2017 Ford Fusion, and this may be one of those cars. Why? Because they gave you room for everything in your briefcase.
“People love the look and feel of Fusion, but there are always things we can do to make it better,” says Kelly Whetstone, Ford vehicle architecture supervisor for Fusion. “So we looked at customer feedback, and then we honed in on the storage capability of the car.”
There’s been a massive jump in the number of Americans who own personal electronic devices between now and five years ago. According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of US adults today are rocking smartphones, up from 35 percent in 2011.
And remember when the tablet first came out? We all said, “Who wants a bigger phone without the phone?” Well, only 3 percent of us had bought in in 2011, but today 45 percent of US adults (including me, a vocal early critic of the iPad) have purchased the oversized phone.
One third of us own the computing trifecta: a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop computer. That’s a 140 percent increase from 2011.
So with all these new devices being carted around all day, we really need somewhere to put them. I miss the days when my purse was the biggest space-obstacle in the car.
I currently kick around in a beat up 2003 Ford Escape. My car has an early iteration of what they’re now calling the “media bin,” a little plastic cave at the base of where the dash meets the console. Except my “media bin” is only big enough for a pack of gum and half my cellphone. When you get more than one person in the car it’s like musical chairs for my phone. Ford’s new bin can comfortably fit a tablet.
The bin also includes a cell phone slot, lighted USB ports, and a cord storage space. I think that last bit may be the most exciting. Next time your phone is plugged into both the USB port and AUX outlet you won’t have to untie seven knots to skip a song.
There’s more space for media throughout the console. Three inches have been added to the armrest, adding 244 cubic inches of additional storage space. Open the clamshell top of the center console and you’re looking at another phone pocket, though this one doesn’t have a USB port. Maybe this is where you put your misbehaving teenager’s phone on a road trip.
To make the cabin feel more open, and add even more space, they’ve replaced the traditional gear shifter with a rotary dial. The word rotary certainly gives us a throwback feel (especially when we’re doing so much phone talk), but this shifter looks nothing but sleek. This isn’t a new idea, Jaguar adopted the rotary gear selector years ago, but a good one that Ford is wise to adopt.
“Without the larger base of the traditional shifter, there was much more room for us to add features that are important to the Fusion customer, like storage and connections,” says Hani Badawi, Ford Fusion ergonomics engineer. “We were able to shuffle around the driver-assist controls to the base of the shifter, along with the electronic brake, for a more intuitive arrangement for the customer, as well as providing a longer armrest for significantly improved elbow comfort for drivers.”
They’ve also widened the footrest, narrowed the A pillar, and moved the cupholders to a more ergonomic position.
Essentially, the inside of this car is designed not just for comfort, but also for modern convenience. And I may have to get my hands on one before I make my next cross country trek in December.