Paul McAleer

Car Interiors, My Secret Geekiness For

Paul McAleer

An area of design which I’m really fascinated by is car interior design, particularly the dashboard. There’s an incredible amount of… stuff… which must be accounted for, and yet if the whole thing looks or functions poorly, it could be critical.

Thinking about aesthetics, I mostly dislike my current car’s interior:

It’s mostly a boxy, angled mess. The knobs should be buttons (particularly on the HVAC) and the buttons should be knobs. It all is just too much, and the UI for the nav/stereo could be better. Also: there are buttons on the back of the steering wheel, either side, which are totally unlabeled. You just have to read the manual and/or know what they do. Silly madness.

Chrysler did upgrade the interior for 2011:

This is a lower trim model than my car, but man - what a difference. Aesthetically, it’s streets ahead. I checked one out at the dealer and found most items felt better. The quality was much nicer, and the entire experience was just more pleasant.

What originally sparked this post wasn’t a critique of my current car - although I may write one - but the revised Volvo XC70 and S80 interiors. Check it:

Awesome. What a color palette! Reminds me of my first car, an 88 Dodge Shadow, except that the color is executed much better.


Definitely feels cool, maybe even cold… but it is lovely.

When it comes down to it, obviously the design goals and ideals aren’t far off from what I do: there’s a balance between functionality, interaction, and beauty. But because these are tactile objects I have a much different reaction to them.