Autumn 2021

Noted...

Gaming concepts, revamped old favourites and retro stylings all feature in the autumn round-up of the most interesting recent launches 

MG Maze

SAIC Design, the London-based satellite design studio of the Chinese mega brand, has created a new digital concept that has been inspired by the world of gaming. Two occupants can enter and exit via the front of the car with the glass dome roof opening upwards. The “zero-gravity” seat design is made to feel like a comfortable sofa, and the entire IP becomes a user interface displaying 3D maps, avatar status, and “mission information”. Drivers use smart devices to control the car in the absence of a physical steering wheel, and aside from the addition of some ambient lighting, the concept’s interior appears minimal.

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Ora Cat

Vintage, but with a twist – the Ora Cat Concept made an appearance at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich. It has been designed for “trendsetters who want their car to embody eco-conscious flexibility, individuality and comfort.” The interior is soft and warm, with a teal fabric adorning the upper section of the IP and doors that envelops the front occupants in a cocoon. The cushioned seats are finished in the same colour, and look plush and comfortable. There is a simple two-spoke steering wheel offset by the contemporary floating central touch panel, a single rotary controller on the narrow centre console, and some metal climate control switches above the centre console that appear to have come straight from Mini. The model is based on a newly developed platform supplied by parent company Great Wall Motors.

Building the concept

Toyota Tundra

It’s not hugely groundbreaking, but when compared to the previous model year, the interior of the 2022 Toyota Tundra is infinitely more modern and pleasing on the eye. A horizontal layout with clean rectangular shapes and sharp lines is reminiscent of the GMC Hummer EV interior. There is a new, and very thin, 8-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a larger 14-inch screen. It sits astride the large central section of the IP, which protrudes out towards the front passengers while the top and lower sections of the IP are kept short. Most of the cabin is made up of hard plastics for practicality purposes, but the higher trim variants of the Tundra do have some colourful leather cladding with red stitching on the IP, doors and centre console.

Ford Expedition

Again not a revolutionary interior, but another strong update that showcases modern interior design – the 2022 Ford Expedition has had a completely overhaul on the inside. Like the Tundra, the Expedition uses a horizontal theme with clean, uninterrupted lines running across the IP. Each section is clearly defined, ensuring a neater and more cohesive design. The middle strip is finished in different materials, depending on the trim, and includes air vents that are now smaller and rectangular. A large 15.5-inch portrait-orientated touchscreen sits astride the dash, and feels less Ford and more Tesla. There is also a new 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster. These two new screens are a big improvement on the smaller ones found in the previous model, which were embedded inside the IP and looked dated.

Genesis GV60

To enter this new electric model from Genesis, the driver approaches the GV60 and looks at a small rectangle on the B-pillar that is loaded with facial recognition technology. The door opens to reveal a light and distinctly Lexus-esque luxuriousness cabin. As usual, there is a clear focus on high quality materials. There is also the usual slice of drama, this time created by a “crystal sphere” in the centre console that rotates to reveal a dial for drive mode selection. New for Genesis is the large screen unit that includes both the driver cluster and central infotainment system, and the separate smaller screens on the A-pillars that display the digital mirror views. The video below illustrates these points and is used in place of imagery, which the Genesis team seem to be lacking at time of writing.