How about 56,778? That’s the ping-pong ball count you’ll need to fill up a Ford Escape. Ford knows this because the company uses ping-pong balls to measure odd-shaped spaces like console compartments and glove boxes in its vehicles.
According to Ford engineers, this method more effectively measures the volume of interior storage spaces than by using a measuring tape. Often, two people who measure the same console with a measuring tape come up with quite different figures. But by using ping-pong balls, the two will get similar results.
The engineers developed a cubic measurement for each ping-pong ball that accounts for the open space between a stack of balls. They then use that measurement and the number of ping-pong balls in a particular storage space to determine the total volume.
The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is one of the latest entrants in the hotly contested compact crossover segment. If I blur the lines slightly, and blend compact and midsize CUVs, they accounted for 6 out 20 of the bestselling vehicles in Canada for 2012. These things are big business.