Gothenburg, Sweden - As our lives have become more cluttered, so have our cars; the smaller the car, the worse the clutter. We use cupholders to stash phones, door pockets as rubbish bins, loop charging cable around the hand brake lever and push boxes of tissues under our seats.
To say nothing of the loose sunglasses, pens, adaptors and petrocards rattling around in the glove compartment. So, when when planning the interior of their new XC40 ‘city SUV’, Volvo designers took a long Swedish look at how city dwellers use our cars, what we take with us - and where we put it.
Louiza Atcheba, brand manager for the 40 series, explained that different regions and cities produced remarkably similar results.
Cupholders as cupholders
“When we spoke to people about how and where they store the things they carry with them daily, we realised most of today’s cars fall short in this area. Phones slide around in the mid-console, takeaway bags are at constant risk of falling over and people fumble behind the wheel as they try to get service cards out of their wallets.
“So we took the speakers out of the doors and put an air-ventilated sub-woofer behind the dashboard, making the door pockets big enough to take a laptop or a couple of bottles. And when we designed the centre console, we made sure that cupholders can be used as cupholders by providing areas for coins, cards or charging cables - as well as a usable space for your phone with both wireless charging and a USB port.”
Removable rubbish bin
Senior design manager Conny Ewe Blommé added a small folding hook in the glove compartment to small shopping or takeaway bags, and a storage space under each front seat that’ll safely hide a 10 inch tablet, out of sight but within reach.
There are slots for credit, toll and service cards in the dashboard, a space under the centre armrest big enough for a box of tissues and a removable, washable rubbish bin for used tissues and snack wrappers.
“We put folding partitions in the boot floor to separate your luggage,” added Blommé, “so you can use all the luggage space without removing the floor from the car, with two side hooks to secure shopping bags and four load hooks so you can strap bulky items safely down.
“There’s also a private, lockable storage compartment under the boot floor.”
Atcheba commented: “We wanted everything you need in your car within reach but out of sight - it’s about clearing the clutter so you can clear your mind.”