Interior lighting enhances ambience in the 2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion caused quite a buzz during the Detroit auto show, and now details are trickling in suggesting the interior will be just as enticing. We recently sat in on a presentation focused solely on the next Fusion’s interior-lighting design. What we learned was there’s more science involved in establishing interior lighting than you may think.

First, Mahendra Dassanayake, technical leader for design for Ford, explained the science of color. He said our brains respond to color and that certain colors trigger enzymes in the brain; these enzymes often cause an emotional response such as feeling calm, angry or happy.

Through extensive color research, Ford engineers claim to have discovered blue evokes a sense of luxury, and ice blue in particular has the ability to boost alertness. Not surprisingly, Ford has chosen ice blue as its signature interior-lighting color.

The 2013 Ford Fusion will incorporate ice blue and also offer drivers the option of choosing any of six additional ambient-lighting colors (purple, blue, orange, red, white and green) depending on their mood—or their attire—each time they get into the car.

But there’s more to interior lighting than color. Ford claims appropriately placed lighting can also help direct the driver’s eye to needed controls quickly and efficiently—important considerations at a time when distracted driving is a growing concern.

“Lighting gives you a sense of orientation,” said Dassanayake. “It’s a unique combination of functionality and comfort. Lights, graphics and displays are critical to drivers; we need to make sure that information is presented to the customer in an effective way.”

All combined, Ford hopes the research that has gone into developing the sophisticated interior of the 2013 Fusion will exceed consumer expectations. Interior chief designer Michael Arbaugh may have summed it up best, “We think it’s the perfect package; one that will make drivers fall in love.”

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