Volvo Concept Estate previews radical new interior style – plus video

Volvo Concept Estate previews radical new interior

Swedish firm uses Geneva motor show concept to showcase its overhauled interior, which will be seen first on the upcoming new XC90

This striking estate car is the third in a trio of Volvo concepts pointing towards the new XC90, which is due on sale later this year.

The Volvo Concept Estate stars at the Geneva motor show this week, and follows the acclaimed Concept Coupé from last autumn’s Frankfurt show and the Concept XC Coupé shown at Detroit earlier this year. The new XC90 is now just seven months away from its debut, which will be at the Paris motor show in October.

Most significant in the estate concept is its clean and simple interior that offers a thinly veiled glimpse at the internal design of a whole new generation of Volvos.

Switchgear is dramatically reduced to just one short row of buttons and knobs below a large tablet-style touchscreen that’s mounted on the centre console. The touchscreen controls all major functions including infotainment and heating, and is linked to the digital instrument cluster.

“The basic idea is to organise controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way,” said Volvo design boss Thomas Ingenlath. “Everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient and safe.”

The new XC90 will feature a similar large central touchscreen to control most interior functions, as previewed by the Concept Estate in which only the buttons for volume, play/pause, hazard warning and window heaters are not controlled from it.

The touchscreen uses established tablet gestures such as swiping and pinching, and runs software developed in-house by Volvo. The portrait screen displays four stackable tiles, with navigation at the top, and media, telephone and climate control below.

Touching one of these tiles brings its wider array of functions to the foreground, with fewer functions for the other three still visible.

“It is fine for an ordinary tablet to compete for your full attention, but a touchscreen in a car is very different,” said Volvo design chief Thomas Ingenlath. “Information must be clear and user-friendly, without turning up the visual volume so much that you risk losing focus on the road.”

Further controls are accessible on the steering wheel and important driver information is displayed on the instrument cluster.

The Concept Estate is a sleek three-door, whose basic design language is carried over from Ingenlath’s two recent concepts. The inspiration for the size and style of the concept car comes from the Volvo 1800 ES of the early 1970s, and the look could be adapted for a future V60 or V70 estate in the firm’s line-up.

The concept uses Volvo’s new modular SPA platform and draws its power from an unspecified engine chosen from the company’s new and efficient Drive-E engine range.

Inside there are four seats, the rear pair being able to fold flat into the floor to create a sizeable loading area. The interior is inspired by a Scandinavian living room, featuring orange

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