Playtime got serious recently when pupils from Holmer Green First and Junior Schools in Buckinghamshire in the United Kingdom taught car manufacturer Hyundai a lesson in quality testing. School children became the brand’s ‘Next Generation Testers’ and put its i30 Tourer through an extreme durability test to assess its suitability as a family car.
Recognising that little people can provide big insights, Hyundai went back to school. The car brand recruited a panel of 25 children aged between 4 and 10 to carry out a series of quality tests on its New Generation i30 Tourer and see if it really is tough enough to stand up to the challenges of everyday family life.
This is the next installment of Hyundai’s unique quality tests after the carmaker put the hatchback version of the Hyundai i30 through similar unusual testing at Knowsley Safari Park last year. Responding to customer feedback that their ‘little monkeys’ would be much harder on a car than 40 baboons, the brand decided to put the theory to the test.
Specially-designed for families and their children, the i30 has been made using extra strong materials, easy-wipe plastics, tough fittings and special high-quality steel for the bodywork. Hyundai parked its car in the school’s playground and then let eight times as many children as in the UK’s average family subject it to some rigorous testing. Six hours later, the tough tourer cleaned up as new and was driven out of the playground fully intact and virtually unscathed.
The children simulated the typical car punishment that parents dread but sometimes have to deal with: jumping and bouncing up and down on seats (in muddy wellies on this occasion), prodding buttons and opening storage compartments, repeatedly putting windows up and down, dropping crisps, squashing bananas into fabrics and spilling orange juice on the seats.The car’s gadgets were also inspected, with the children pulling faces to their friends in the reversing camera and making calls to their teacher using the car’s hands-free Bluetooth system.
Outside, the paintwork was put to test after magnets were thrown onto the car and mud smeared all over the body panels. The children investigated whether the i30 really was ‘made of steel’ by using the bonnet as a slide and thumping the doors with drumsticks. Thankfully, the hard-wearing paint protected the car from significant scratches and chips.
As well as confirming the robust quality of its New Generation i30 Tourer, Hyundai will use the findings to inform the research and development of its future cars. Mark Baxter, Hyundai UK’s product planning manager, said: “At Hyundai we believe in ‘New Thinking’, which is why we like to take a different approach when it comes to quality testing. Kids are notoriously hard on cars and these days families need transport that will withstand sticky fingers, accidental spillages and energetic personalities. We wanted to see if the i30 Tourer really is a fully suitable and durable family car – we thought that if it can withstand the tests of 25 kids, we could be confident that it would be tough enough for family life.
“I must say, I was extremely nervous about doing this test. I have a child myself so I know exactly how messy kids can be. But I am very confident in the quality of Hyundais. As I suspected, the reception children gave our New Generation i30 Tourer a thorough inspection and the Year 5 pupils provided me with some very useful feedback. The fact that the i30 survived with only a few scratches after such rigorous testing is testament to the way modern Hyundai vehicles are built.”
Tyreece Carey, a five year old reception pupil from Holmer Green First School said: "It was really good fun playing all over the car. My favourite part was getting really messy with my muddy wellies. And I enjoyed making sandcastles in the boot. Mrs McClelland said I could only do this today and that I mustn’t do it in Mummy or Daddy’s car.”
Sandy McClelland, Headteacher of Holmer Green First School said: “This is such an exciting project for our school; we were delighted when Hyundai approached us to take part. “In preparation for this challenge, we taught the children about transport and product testing. We also ensured that it was very clear that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity – not to be repeated at home!
“Children love to help and they are extremely inquisitive. Personally, I can’t think who would be better suited to such a job. And the best part of today was when the children saw how dirty they had made the car and asked if they could help clean it - surely a lesson learnt in itself!”
Yasmin Pierce, a 10 year old pupil from Holmer Green Junior School commented: “I really enjoyed becoming a quality inspector for Hyundai. We called ourselves the ‘Junior Scientists’ and it was our job to inspect the car while the reception children got it extremely messy. It was good to be able to feedback our findings to Hyundai and I thought that the i30 was really stylish and overall very strong. It is a good car for families.”
Rebecca Campbell, head teacher of Holmer Green Junior School, commented: “Pupils who had shown a keen interest in Science and Technology were chosen to take part in this project and they were extremely excited about the challenge set by the car maker.”
She added: “The children took their role as Hyundai’s quality inspectors very seriously. They watched every move that their younger peers made, noting down feedback throughout the day and then presenting it back to Hyundai’s product planning manager. Ensuring a professional job, my pupils even inspected the car with a magnifying glass! This challenge gave them the opportunity to learn about quality testing and the automotive industry, but in a practical and engaging way.”
To thank Holmer Green and its pupils for all of their help, Hyundai is funding new equipment for both of the schools.