By: IOL Motoring Staff

Gothenburg, Sweden - There's little doubt that Volvo is capable of creating some rather gorgeous cars. That fact's been well known since the P1800 emerged way back in 1960. Yet most of Volvo's wagons have been more boxy and utilitarian than sleek and racy. A notable exception, of course, was the 1960s 1800 ES that was based on the aforementioned P1800. And now the spirit of that original ES returns with the new Volvo Concept Estate.

The third in a new series of concept cars designed by Thomas Ingenlath (following on from the Concept Coupé and Concept XC Coupé), the Concept Estate is not necessarily an indication that Volvo is planning a sporty three-door estate.

CABIN OF CLUES

Instead, it's yet another preview of how future Volvos might look on the outside. Yet the main purpose of this design study is to reveal how the interiors of future Volvos (starting with the new XC90 later this year) will look and function.

The big buzzword here is simplicity. Volvo has done away with almost all of the dashboard buttons and controls, except for a few crucial ones like the hazard light button, audio volume and play-pause function. For any other function, you need to get acquainted with the large tablet-like touch screen in the centre console.

According to Volvo, this interface is set up in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way. In fact Volvo Design Director Robin Page goes as far as saying that not having to deal with buttons and controls for a growing number of functionalities is like being "freed from a pair of handcuffs."

“SWEDISH LOUNGE”

Another benefit, according to Page, is that designers were able to build a beautiful interior architecture around the portrait screen.

On that subject, the concept's colourful cabin was inspired by modern Swedish design and occupants are treated to woven wool carpets, a tanned saddle leather dashboard, orange seat belts and seats and roof padding in Bridge of Wear leather.

That "bright and cosy feeling that is the hallmark of a Swedish living room" is ultimately what designers sought to achieve.

And that lounge could end up in your garage some time soon.