ARE YOU sitting comfortably? You will be in the Volvo XC90 Excellence Lounge Console Concept, a prototype for a positively palatial car interior that is designed to reflect the best in first-class air travel.
Revealed at the Shanghai motor show, the three-seat car caters for booming markets including China, where dense traffic means many wealthy car buyers prefer to hire a chauffeur and travel in the back seat, so they can be productive during rush hour.
More typically associated with harassed parents with a gaggle of children to ferry about, the XC90 is a large SUV with seven seats and is meant to maintain some sense of equilibrium through giving everyone a comfy seat of their own. However, to create a truly stress-free travel experience for the Lounge Console Concept, Volvo threw away the front passenger seat and fitted just two back chairs.
The result is the equivalent of turning left when boarding a long haul flight; a world of opulence awaits the Volvo XC90 Lounge Console’s two passengers, with a footrest that doubles as a shoe box for their Jimmy Choos, a jewellery and make-up table (how disappointing to note travellers must supply their own shiny things) and 17in media display.
Perhaps the ultimate indulgence is being able to kick off your shoes at the end of a busy day, lie back and stretch out your legs – just as if you were on the sofa at home.
The rear nearside seat offers unrestricted passenger space, whereas the driver’s side passenger seat is restricted by the seat in front.
A spokesman for Volvo in Britain told Driving that, for all its excellence, the Excellence Lounge Console Concept would not be sold here: “In the UK the XC90 is seen as a seven-seat family car, whereas in China it is a luxury car. There, the emphasis is on class and stature, and cars with a lot of rear seat space that allow passengers to be productive are considered luxurious.”
Don’t be downhearted, though. The three-seat Volvo XC90 may be more lavishly appointed than any other XC90 or, indeed, SUV on the road in Britain, but it still doesn’t solve that age-old problem: arguing over who gets the best seat.