The 2014 Geneva Motor Show has introduced some of the greatest cars we’ve ever seen this year. The Audi RS6-R Avant, Alfa Romeo 4C Targa, Audi S1, Audi TT, and Bentley Continental Flying Spur V8 are just a few examples.
But not all of the best cars were super fast or super engineered. No, some of the best cars were humble estates.
Take the Volvo Concept Estate, as an example. This is perhaps the best looking car to be unveiled, yet it’s a family car, designed for safety and comfort, not outright speed. Who would have thought that an environmentally conscious and safety conscious automotive manufacturer could have drawn the biggest crowds.
Well, they did. With a design inspired by 1960s cars, the Estate Concept from Volvo is utterly gorgeous.
Powerful yet feminine, the car resembles the old 1800 ES without being a complete rip off. The car is an estate at heart, but it’s only got three doors. It’s more of a coupe, and with huge wheels and wide arches, it’s among the sportiest cars of its type we’ve ever seen. In fact, the only car that comes close to challenging the looks of this is the F-Type Coupe, and that’s very high praise indeed.
Inside, the Concept Estate is as minimal as you would expect a Volvo to be. It still features Volvo’s trademark floating dash, but this is dominated by an iPad-like touch panel, and the materials themselves are lighter than you’ll find in current cars. In other words, this a more playful Volvo, that will appeal as much to female drivers as it will male. The interior is trimmed with tactile materials like woven wool carpets, tanned saddle leather, aged wood, and aluminium – it is all very Volvo, and all very Swedish.
The touch screen interface itself has had a lot of work, according to Volvo. “It is fine for an ordinary tablet to compete for your full attention, but a touch screen in a car is very different,” says Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president of design at Volvo. “Information must be clear and user-friendly, without turning up the visual volume so much that you risk losing focus on the road.”
As such, the Volvo Concept Estate would have an advanced voice command system, not unlike Siri in CarPlay, an upcoming technology that’ll find its way into Volvo cars soon. This is obvious when you look inside the car, which is devoid of almost all buttons, save for the usual array of switchgear. Essentially, where a button would control some form of media before, it has been replaced with a voice command or touch screen command.
Vertu Cars was gob smacked by the beauty of the Concept Estate. It is so futuristic, yet it is easy to that design inspiration from 1960s cars. In a word, the Concept is beautiful.
Although this car will not make production, many of its design elements will in other cars. It’ll be interesting to see which ones.