General Motors revealed on on January 20 details of the new Astra Sports Tourer climate testing that was conducted at the Opel International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
Inside the climate test chamber at the facility, mounted on the four-post rig, which is used for comfort testing including NVH optimization, the Sports Tourer was subjected to temperatures from -40°C to 60°C and direct sunlight conditions. During a two-week test phase, temperatures inside the chamber were changed daily.
Otto Hemmelmann, lead engineer for test methods, said, “We needed to see how the materials in the Sports Tourer would react to extreme conditions. We also needed check if its appearance would change and if extreme heat or cold have an effect on, for example, gap width. Sealing, bonding, plastic parts and materials, rubber, all this has to work properly, meaning constant elastic constricting and stretching like a rubber band, without bearing any traces of it.
“If the Sports Tourer is parked outside in the summer, interior temperatures could reach 90°C; we also tested how long the air conditioner has to be on until the temperature is bearable again.”
Before and after a test, vehicles are always thoroughly checked. Hemmelmann explained this typical procedure: “We look at what impression the car makes on us and take measurements to determine if anything has become distorted or misaligned.”
The team’s systematic examination puts a special focus on the installed plastic parts such as bumpers and side sills. “The gap width is extremely important in these cases, because, of course, the components must not be protruding.”
Experts also checked all functions in the interior of the vehicle and considered, for example, whether the glove compartment opens smoothly and easily, whether the FlexFold rear seat back can be seamlessly adjusted in all situations, and whether the sensor-controlled tailgate opens and closes at -40°C with a simple kicking motion under the bumper.
January 26, 2016