Hyundai monkey around at Knowsley Safari Park.
Hyundai’s New Generation i30 hatchback, their new family car, has survived the ultimate wear and tear challenge.
No; not a stag night trip toPrague.
In the first endurance test of its kind in theUKby a car manufacturer, safari park baboons were let loose on the vehicle – inside and out. Ironic then that Hyundai claim that “The car has been specially-designed for families and their ‘little monkeys’ in the back, with extra strong materials used to build the interior, easy wipe plastics, tough fittings and a special high quality steel used for the bodywork.”
Well, probably not ironic, but a damn fine publicity stunt that certainly put the car through its paces. The baboons that live atKnowsleySafari Parkwere chosen for their well-known love of tearing park visitors’ cars apart – most famously Wayne Rooney’s vehicle when he visited the Merseyside attraction last year.
So, when Hyundai parked its i30 family car in the baboon enclosure, they were certainly expecting monkey business as it was immediately besieged by dozens of the park’s primates. But 10 hours later the car emerged virtually unscathed.
I’d guess that ‘virtually’ is a pretty loose term taking into consideration baboon eating habits and propensity for defecation but generally they seemed to simulate the behaviour of a typical family’s children; subjecting the car to as much punishment as it would expect: jumping up and down on seats, pushing and prodding buttons and opening and closing storage bins, and even checking the durability of cupholders with plastic drinking beakers!
Yes; the paintwork was smeared and scraped, but the hard-wearing paint protected the car from significant scratches and chips.
And yes; the fabric of the seats was tested by the baboons eating their lunch in the car and some played with their toys in the i30’s sizeable boot.
But Hyundai believe that this innovative test not only confirmsn the robust quality of its New Generation i30, but also that other lessons learned can help in research and development of future cars.
Felicity Wood, i30 Product Manager at Hyundai, said: “At Hyundai we believe in new thinking, which is why we decided to take a new approach with this durability test. You have to be pretty brave to subject a car to the most rigorous quality testers in the world, and the monkeys certainly gave our New Generation i30 a thorough examination! The fact that it survived with only a few scrapes is testament to the way a modern Hyundai is designed and engineered. We really do give a monkey’s about building tough cars!”
It wasn’t a free gig. Hyundai donated £1,000 (That’s 2 monkeys in financial slang) to one of Knowsley’s supported charities, the Primate Society of Great Britain, which dedicates its work to conservation and captive care of new and old world monkeys, gibbons and apes.
“For a baboon, to have a car to play with for a whole day is manna from heaven!” says David Ross, General Manager atKnowsleySafari Park. “I’ve seen thousands of cars pass through this enclosure, get mobbed by monkeys, and none have lasted the distance as well as this Hyundai. These baboons are incredibly inquisitive. If you put them on any car they will scour it for the weak points and find any faults. At one point there were 40 monkeys in the car, pushing it to its limits – that’s ten times the size of the average human family!”
But 1 times the average primate family and about the third of a baboon troop.