Mike Stevens | Aug 30, 2011

Renault Australia has combined research with advertising and social media in its Stress Test 'experiment'. The project forms part of the promotional campaign for the new 2011 Latitude.

Surveying 852 motorists in Australian capital cities, Renault's study found that 83 percent of respondents find the drive to work more stressful than actually being there - rising to 90 percent for those on the road for more than one hour each day.

The top stress-inducing factors proved to be traffic jams and gridlock (80 percent), drivers not indicating (73 percent) and searching for a parking spot (53 percent).

Children around the car (34 percent) and road noise (27 percent) were other stressors that ranked highly.

Now, here's the rub: according to the Renault survey, 71 percent of respondents said that their stress levels are also influenced by the car they are driving.

Participants in the Latitude Stress Test were monitors with in-car cameras and facial recognition software, measuring changes to their expressions while driving their own car and then driving Renault's new medium sedan.

“The goal of the experiment was to put Latitude to the test to see how its features could make your drive more relaxing. It had the desired effect, with the families clearly more at ease in the Renault Latitude,” Renault Australia Marketing Director, Chris Brown said.

Features and conveniences that proved to alleviate stress for participants included a spacious interior (16 percent), massaging leather-trimmed seats (25 percent) and filtered air management systems (24 percent). A "top quality" audio system (24 percent) also ranked well.

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