11:00 AM | April 27 2018

Interior revolution: The end of cabin clutter

Revolutions often start from something small – in this case the XC40 compact SUV that adopts a radical approach to car-interior space, storage and all-round functionality.

It’s a problem faced daily by drivers around the world: where to place belongings in their car when it typically lacks suitable and functional storage spaces.

The solution is the Volvo XC40, the compact premium SUV that has declared war on cabin clutter to lead its segment for cabin space, storage and all-round functionality.

As part of the XC40’s development phase, Volvo Cars’ customer research team spent considerable time investigating how city dwellers around the globe use their car on a daily basis – and, more importantly, how they store their belongings in their cars. Customers were also asked how they would like to see the interiors of their cars improved.

It turned out that different regions and cities produced remarkably similar results, providing valuable input as Volvo’s designers got to work on the new XC40’s interior.

“As we spoke to people about how and where they store the things they carry with them daily, it was quite clear that most of today’s cars are falling short in this area,” says Louiza Atcheba, Model Brand Manager for Volvo’s new 40 Series range of vehicles, which begin with the XC40.

“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. We set out to solve these and many other issues we encountered.”

For instance, in order to provide better storage space in the doors of the new XC40, Volvo designers chose a radical new approach. By moving speakers from the door and developing a world-first, air-ventilated dashboard-mounted sub-woofer, Volvo created enough storage in the door compartment for a laptop and a tablet, or a couple of water bottles.

“When we designed the tunnel, the focus was not only on creating a nice design but also to ensure that cupholders can be used as cupholders and that the design itself provides areas for coins, cards or charging cables,” says Conny Ewe Blommé, Senior Design Manager at Volvo Cars. “Another focus area was to make a usable space for your phone that offers wireless charging as well as USB ports.”

A small fold-away hook has been added to the glove compartment, allowing you to secure small shopping or take-away bags. Both front seats offer a storage space under the seat, large enough for a mini tablet or other smaller items.

The XC40 also offers slots for credit and service cards that can be neatly inserted into the dashboard, making them readily available when needed. In the tunnel console, under the armrest, there is a large storage area with room for a tissue box. A special, removable bin allows you to discard waste quickly.

The XC40 includes a fold-up boot divider with two hooks to help secure shopping bags or other luggage, along with four load hooks that make loading luggage a simple task.

“A lot we have done with the XC40 is based on extensive consumer insight,” says Louiza Atcheba. “With the XC40, we’ve made sure everything is within arms-reach but also out of sight. It’s about clearing the clutter so you can clear your mind.”

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