Volvo Car Group used the Geneva Motor Show recently to reveal the third in a series of concept cars – the Concept Estate.
It continues the widely-admired exterior design language revealed in the first two concepts, but for the first time reveals how the interior of Volvo’s forthcoming models will both look and function.
Interestingly, the rear of the Concept Estate echoes the design of the Volvo 1800 ES from the early 1970s. Applying this approach to the iconic estate car, which is the essence of versatile Volvo functionality, serves to creates a car that is both beautiful and different.
The Volvo Concept Estate’s most striking interior design feature is its simplicity. The traditional selection of buttons and controls have been replaced by one large tablet-like touch screen control panel in the centre console, bringing the interior firmly into the 21st century.
“The basic idea is to organise controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient and safe,” says Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president design at Volvo Car Group.
In association with Volvo’s specially designed software, the touch screen will be the main control panel for Volvo’s new in-car user experience. It replaces all buttons and controls except for a few crucial functions, such as volume, play/pause, hazard warning and window heaters. It also interacts seamlessly with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.
“Not having to deal with buttons and controls for a growing number of functionalities is like being freed from a pair of handcuffs,” says Robin Page, design director interior of Volvo Car Group. “This has made it possible to build a beautiful interior architecture around the portrait screen. The concept car showcases how this user interface will be integrated in our new car generation.”
Volvo is the company that redefined the estate car by combining functionality, sturdiness and practicality with performance. The V70 and XC70 are among the most respected estates on the market and the new Concept Estate points to how the company could capitalise on this heritage in its forthcoming models.
Volvo has been on a winning streak with its concept cars. The Concept Coupé was named ‘Car of the Show’ by a leading German auto magazine at the Frankfurt Motor Show, while the Concept XC Coupé received the prestigious ‘Eyes ON Design’ award at the Detroit Motor Show.
Global attention on Volvo’s concept cars has been intensifying as they provide the first significant clues as to how the all-new and much-anticipated XC90 SUV and subsequent cars will look. The XC90 is due to be launched later this year.