Volvo gives a peek at sleek future wagons

Volvo's three-door Concept Estate debuts at the Geneva auto show.
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Volvo has previewed the sleek look of its future station wagons with the Concept Estate, which also reveals the brand's intent to offer simpler interiors with a large touch screen that replaces most buttons and controls.

The three-door sports wagon, which debuts this week at the Geneva auto show, is the latest Volvo concept to show the brand's future look and feel prior to the launch of the second-generation XC90 premium large crossover early in 2015.

Volvo says the Concept Estate shows how it plans to capitalize on the success of current-generation wagons such as the V70 and XC70 while also taking cues from vintage models.

For instance, the concept's rear borrows from the design of the 1800 ES from the early 1970s. The 1800 models also provided inspiration for the concept's two-spoke steering wheel, instrument panel and dials.


Like Volvo's other recent prototypes -- the Concept Coupe and the Concept XC Coupe -- the face of the Concept Estate also is characterized by a floating grille.

Inside the concept the main focus was to offer simplicity, which is why a large tabletlike touch screen control panel in the center console has replaced the buttons and controls found in most cars.

"The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way," Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo's chief designer, said in a statement.

Volvo says the touch screen will be the main control panel for its future interiors. The touch screen replaces all buttons and controls except for functions such as volume, hazard lights and window heaters. It also interacts with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.

Volvo Interior design head Robin Page said in the statement that removing the buttons and controls "is like being freed from a pair of handcuffs."

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@autonews.com.


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