Illustration for article titled Volvo Concept You brings more questions than answers

Leave it to Volvo's Swedish-Chinese overlords to pull an enigma into the Frankfurt Motor Show — a big luxury sedan called the Concept You that tells more about its carpets than its engine. Is Volvo turning into an upscale Ikea?

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Ever since Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo there's been rumblings about where the company would go; whether it would push toward more expensive buyers or hew to those who enjoy assembling their own bookshelves and kitchen cabinets. The Concept You, the biggest car ever assembled by Volvo, says the luxury argument is winning; from the rear, it looks every bit a competitor, and perhaps a distant relative, to Jaguar.

The real point appears to be inside, where Volvo has eliminated all buttons in favor of only touch screen controls, suggesting at least someone in the auto industry understands Steve Jobs. There's lots of talk in the press release about the carpets, fabrics, woods and Scandinavian frippery. We'll be more interested if Volvo actually builds something like this — or at least tells us what's going on under the hood.

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DISCUSSION

That sounds about right for modern car design.

What engine does it have? Who cares, check out this carpet!

Why is the brake and steering feedback so muted? Whatever, the owners manual is an iPad!

Does it come in manual? Shut up dummy, the stereo was designed by Dr. Dre!

This is the automotive world we all live in now. There are a lot of beautiful, interesting, powerful cars out there, many featured and drooled over on this site. Cars for those who love cars, for those who love driving, for those who relish rather than fear the rear end breaking loose, for those who know the best way to lose ten pounds is a hot day at the track, for the gearheads and grease monkeys and Miata drivers.

But for every one of those cars there are a dozen numb, boring, wood-grain-look trimmed, automatic-only beigemobiles. For every FT-86 concept that will never be produced there are countless Prius iterations ready to roll off the assembly line. For every Europe only, AWD, turbo hatchback that will never make it to these shores there are parking lots full of SUVs that drive like you stuck a motor on your couch. A vehicles worth is now measured in miles per gallon and how many different models you can use this same window switch in because really, how do you quantify how good it feels to turn the radio off and listen to the engine sing? Why would a focus group respond to the word passion, unless it was in front of the word fruit and describing this years new colours? Who cares if the rotary is a marvel of engineering, engines aren't sexy. Not anymore.

The answer is no longer because racecar my friends. It's because groceries. It's because fiscal responsibility. It's because who cares about cars, and that breaks my pushrod heart.