We all tend to take our cars for granted a little these days, but if you stop and look around, it is amazing to see how different the cars on our roads really are. Whilst there are some vehicles that might be 30 years old still eating up the miles, there are also some pretty futuristic electric models that are starting to appear.
Just this little snapshot can show us how much the design of cars has changed over the decades, but some of the biggest and most shocking changes have actually taken place inside the cars. Interiors have varied from looking like a gentleman’s club to a spaceship and everything in between.
In this article, we take a look at what the future might hold for the interiors of our cars and what it might mean for our experiences as drivers and passengers.
When we think about the direction that car design might take in the future, it is important to look to the past first. In the 1930s a car was still very much a luxury, and only the privileged owned one, so car manufacturers wanted the interiors to feel as special as the owners probably felt.
It is for this reason that many of them started to look like a room from a stately home, as art deco styles produced healthy amounts of timber, leather and shiny metal. This did set the template for many interior car designs that are still being produced today, as a little mahogany in the right place and thick carpet beneath the feet has a tendency to make things feel expensive.
To show off their wealth, car owners enjoyed the exclusive little details that had been added, including precise stitching, padded seating and everything polished to within an inch of its life. Luxury car manufacturers today still adopt this approach, showing that time doesn’t change everything.
By the 1950s, a sense of flamboyance had started to creep in, thanks to influence from the aerospace industry. Now, car interiors were starting to enjoy a little more colour, big grilles and chrome bezels, but it was not until the 1970s that plastic started to become a feature. At this point, it began to take over instrument panels to give a more ergonomic design, and the trend has largely continued to this day.
Throughout the last 40 years, a lot of focus has been given to entertainment in various forms. As stereos have developed, so have car designs, with many centring around the CD players. Now, digital displays take centre stage, with the equivalent of a tablet computer sitting firmly in the middle of most cars.
The have been a few weird and wonderful additions to the interiors of our cars over the years, but it is fair to say that not all of them have caught on. At one point Fiat tried to integrate an espresso machine, whilst a specially modified Cadillac had its own television, shower and toilet, but neither of these proved to be a popular addition.
The in-built fragrance system from Mercedes-Benz has so far failed to replace the traditional pine air freshener whilst Chrysler’s early attempts to install record players were thankfully replaced with cassette and CD players, and eventually Bluetooth.
We have all wished we couldn’t hear the fighting of our children in the back seat at one point or another, so it is easy to understand the attempts to build partitions in cars to block them off, but safety concerns soon put an end to this one.
Transporting your dog has never been easy, especially if you are fearful of them clawing the seats or leaving mess behind. These days we have some terrific pet liners to protect our interiors, but some early vehicle manufacturers tried to fit sacks or cages to the sides of the car for our furry friends to travel in.
These days, car manufacturers are trying to develop car interiors that combine a modern feel with all the technology you could wish for and the ultimate in comfort. As many have found, this can be a tricky balance to get right. Car manufacturers have realised that the needs of the public vary greatly, and so whilst some want a small cinema screen to control every aspect of the car, others put more focus on being cocooned in a comfortable seat. That is why car interiors are now more varied that the exteriors as they try to appeal to different sectors of the market.
It is fair to say that technology is set to be at the forefront of every development in the interior of your car. Whether it is all singing and dancing infotainment system, an AI assistant or a seat massager, the biggest brands are all now being forced to compete with some of the high tech brands that have stolen the march on them.
The work on driverless cars has been underway for some time, and that looks set to continue, whilst the way we power our cars is now all geared towards an electric future. BMW have already showcased colour changing paint on the outside of their cars, so it seems only likely that more customisable interiors will not be far behind.
Brands now also have a new focus, as we don’t just car what our cars look like, but how they were made. This has led to a push towards more sustainable materials, which might mean that the old wood trend could be set for a resurgence.
No matter how cleaver our cars get, many consumers still want to enjoy their home away from home. That means a plush carpet underfoot, a driving position that supports them and that new car smell that we all relish. This probably means that whilst some space age models might appear, many will still keep their roots in the old interior traditions, with a few modern twists, even if the outsides of the cars start growing wings.
Make a start to improving the interior of your car with a range of interior products for your car. Here at Car Mats UK, we stock a range of tailored car mats, boot mats, seat covers, and a wide variety of other accessories, and if you require any other information, please contact our team today.