It may sound at first like little more than a gimmick to grab attention at a time when every major manufacturer wants to be noticed — an international auto show is just days away. But Volvo has conducted extensive research to understand exactly how drivers who live in urban areas use their cars and what they need to take with them every day.
"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," said Louiza Atcheba, Model Brand Manager for the 40 series at Volvo Cars. "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."
As well as adding even more stress to the trials and tribulations of inner city driving, unsecured items can become projectiles flying around inside the cabin in the event of a collision.
So for the new XC40, Volvo has thought big when it comes to creating space. For instance, the front speakers, usually integrated into the front doors, have been ditched in favor of a dashboard-integrated amplification system. This has made room for spaces where a laptop computer and a tablet can be securely stored.
There are slots for credit cards in the dashboard for paying for parking and toll roads. There are dedicated spaces for loose change and mobile device charging cables, plus a phone holder that can keep your handset still and wirelessly charge it at the same time.
In the tunnel console that runs between the front seats, there is a small removable bin for disposing of waste and a space designed to perfectly hold a box of tissues. Even the glove box features an extending hook for holding a takeaway meal or small grocery bag.
The trunk has dividing panels with hooks and at the push of a button the rear seats fold down giving owners a large, perfectly flat floored storage space. There's also a hidden locked storage compartment under the trunk floor for storing valuables.
"A lot we have done with the XC40 is based on extensive consumer insight," said Atcheba. "It's about clearing the clutter so you can clear your mind."