It's not just that we have a weakness for shooting brakes or Volvo's take on the genre in particular (we can see some P1800ES in this design). We just think this car is exceptionally well surfaced, with a fantastic stance and the sort of clean lines that are singularly appropriate of a Scandinavian design. We also appreciate the details that are expected to inform future production models, including the T-shaped headlamps, strong rear shoulders and floating grille mount. In fact, the vast majority of the Concept Estate's design idiom is expected to make it to showrooms in future models, starting with the long-overdue, second-generation XC90 crossover.
We hope – but don't expect – that attitude carries over to the interior, which has stunning, white leather, floating clamshell seats backed in plaid. If there's one cabin feature that's expected to make it to production, it's a derivative of the car's new infotainment system, which features a massive touchscreen with tablet-like gesture controls.
Volvo isn't saying what – if anything – powers the Concept Estate, but any production model would likely sprout a pair of extra doors (adopting a more traditional station wagon form) and turbocharged, four-cylinder power.
What are you waiting for? Soak up our gallery of live photos, then scroll down to view a trio of official videos.
Strate-of-the-art technology meets fashion and craftsmanship in the Volvo Concept Estate
After unveiling two applauded concept cars in the Concept Coupe and the Concept XC Coupe, Volvo Cars will use the Geneva Motor Show to uncover the final car in a series of three, revealing where Volvo is heading in the very near future. The new interior design language, the Stutterheim collaboration, the large portrait touchscreen and the intuitive new user interface manifest how Volvo put Scandinavian creativity at the core of its new design strategy.
"Creativity is thriving in Swedish society. This includes design and technology as well as the fashion, music and arts. This inspired us to create a new, exciting way to express Sweden's soul," says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Car Group.
Under Ingenlath's direction, Volvo Cars is undergoing a transformation, and the Concept Estate is his bold interpretation of the most classic Volvo heritage – the estate car. The exterior echoes the design of the iconic Volvo 1800 ES from the early 1970's, but with modern features such as the low bonnet, a glass roof, the new 'floating' grille and the T-shaped DRL light guides. While the silhouette is a powerful display of Volvo's new proportions, the most striking feature of the Concept Estate is the inside of the car.
With this car, Volvo reveal, for the first time, how the interior of Volvo's upcoming models will both look and function. The Concept Estate's most prominent interior design feature is its simplicity, utilizing exclusive materials and bringing the driver cutting edge technology and authentic craftsmanship in perfect harmony. The traditional selection of buttons and controls have been replaced by one large tablet-like touch screen control panel in the center console, bringing the interior firmly into the 21st century.
"We have created a digital environment that is fully integrated in the car. The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive way, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient and safe. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, and available at the touch of your finger," says Ingenlath.
The touch screen will be the main control panel for Volvo's new in-car user experience. It replaces all buttons and controls except for a few crucial functions such as volume, play/pause, hazard warning and window heaters. It also interacts seamlessly with the adaptive digital display in front of the driver. "Not having to deal with buttons and controls for a growing number of functionalities is like being freed from a pair of handcuffs," explains Robin Page, Design Director Interior of Volvo Car Group.
Contrasting the cutting-edge technology is the craftsmanship, the high-quality materials and the beautiful detailing in the cockpit. The colorful trends within contemporary Swedish design has inspired the orange seat belts and the woven wool carpets from Swedish designer Kasthall, and Volvo's collaboration with the Swedish fashion scene is manifested by two exclusive Stutterheim raincoats in the back of the car. The trunk also holds a specially designed "kubb" game set, offering people a piece of Swedish lifestyle.
The interior is exceptionally confident. The glass roof and seats covered by light, soft leather help to retain that bright and cosy feeling that is the hallmark of a Swedish living room. The crystal gear leaver from Kosta Boda, a recurring feature in all three concept cars, has an orange glow, giving ambience to the room – and the instrument panel is covered by thick, naturally tanned saddle leather from Tärnsjö with inlays made of naturally aged wood and machine copper details.
Volvo Car's new design language and the groundbreaking driver experience will be introduced in the next car generation, starting with the all-new Volvo XC90 revealed during the fall of 2014.