Buy a car and you’ll expect it to work, regardless of the temperature and conditions. But so much work goes into making sure that your car will continue to work throughout the winter and, for some car engineers, that means spending up to 10 weeks a year in the wilderness.
For months at a time, SEAT engineer Gonzalo Giménez can be found in Lapland in -25 degrees, testing pre-production models to their limits. The team, often comprising of up to 16 people, will subject each development car to almost 60 individual tests, covering over 18,500 miles in the process.
All aspects of the cars are scrutinised, from the brakes and steering to the stability and assistance functions. Thankfully, the brakes are thoroughly tested on both snow and tarmac – at the same time. The test facility has a 200m long track that’s half covered with snow, so that the engineers can see how the car reacts with different surfaces. That’s how you can be sure that your ABS system works when you need it to.
Gimenéz and the other engineers will also test the ESC stability control system, ensuring that the car will make up for any loss of traction and keep everything under control.
Up to 90 cars will be tested on the 60cm-thick ice course each year. Each return to the Arctic Circle allows the systems to be improved further. Evolution in technology means they can be more efficient, faster and better performing, which helps new cars become safer than older models.
Once the winter coats have been packed away, SEAT will send their engineers all over the globe. They’ll test each car in all weathers and in all five continents, so you can have utmost peace of mind that your car is designed to carry on working even when the conditions are at their worst.
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