Theme – Benchmarks: Glovebox Capacities

What one remembers often has little to do with what is important. I clearly recall James Ruppert deriding the 1998 Mazda 626 as being a car whose sole claim to fame was that it had the biggest glove box in its class.

2010 Toyota Prius glove boxes. Neat. Rattly.
2010 Toyota Prius glove boxes. Neat. Rattly.

This small and apparently modest claim is a good example of the problem of epistemology. That relates to how we know what we know and how much faith we can have in our beliefs. On the face of it, a glovebox is a simple structure with measurable dimensions. It ought to be easy to determine which glove box is biggest.

However, on closer examination the claim turns out to be contestable. And one can contest the claim without even leaving one’s desk. First, in order to claim that one’s glovebox is the largest you need to have measured all the gloveboxes available. You need to do so using the same system of measurements. And it is necessary to demonstrate that the means of measurement is reliable and meaningful.

1997 Mazda 626
1997 Mazda 626

If we apply these standards, we discover that Mazda’s claim is a hard one to have 100% faith in. For example, did Mazda test all the available cars in the European market or the global market? Or did it use manufacturer’s own data? Did the claim include cars launched after the time Mazda froze their 626 design or did it only include cars measured before design freeze?  We will never know. All we can do is check the volume ourselves, by inspection and try to judge if it seems like a bigger glove box than average. In the meantime, glovebox capacity will be a hard parameter to assess and a hard feature to benchmark.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Image: Ridemonkey.com
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Image: Ridemonkey.com

[Citroen decided the benchmark for the 1989 Citroen XM was that its glovebox ought to be able to hold an SLR camera.]

[If you feel the need to do some comparisons, this site  has some key dimensions. The menus of available cars is limited though. Parkers is more thorough yet it does not detail the glove box volume.]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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