Interior Designs Are the Main Event at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show

Never mind the autonomous and sustainable proposals and funky concepts — the best of Detroit are the insides.

Bryan Campbell

With every passing car show, two things become glaringly obvious: 1) fully autonomous and sustainable automobiles aren’t Hollywood pipe dreams anymore, they’re inevitable; 2) in anticipation of those same automobiles, interior design and use of space are overtaking exterior design in terms of automaker focus. Makes sense: without the distractions of driving-as-we-know-it, our attention will almost be 100 percent focused on comfort, user interfaces and interior customization.

And considering how much time we already spend in our cars commuting and traveling in general, it’s not at all far-fetched to think manufacturers will eventually offer just as many and varying interior design options as they do exterior colors, performance upgrades, wheel sizes and rim designs. If cars ever become consumable products on a par with smartphones (which manufacturers desperately want them to be), manufacturers will want to design that space as an extension of the customer, much like the way we each uniquely design our homes.

Regulations and restrictions largely dictate the size and shape of each auto segment. If you compared the silhouette of every car on the NAIAS floor this year — every crossover, SUV, sedan, coupe and pickup truck — they’d all look surprisingly similar. So it makes more and more sense that designers mostly let loose on the insides. Some interior designs at NAIAS were radical and eye-catching, like the seemingly BDSM-themed Lexus UX Concept, while others were comfort-focused, like the Lincoln Navigator Concept. Others still looked to redefine our basic interaction with the automobile, like the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept, which hides the steering wheel entirely and instead relies on video game-like controls. It should come as no surprise that among all the future-leaning concepts, Singer Vehicles did an extraordinary job refining a “classical” interior space — much like it does the engine compartments.

Below, enjoy our absolute favorite interiors from the Detroit show.

The Cadillac Escala concept

The Mercedes-Benz GLA45

The Mazda MX-5 Speedster

The Lexus UX Concept

The Lincoln Navigator Concept

The Singer Monaco Car

The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept

The Mercedes Electric Intelligence Concept

The Chrysler Portal Concept

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Motoring