Special Coverage

Ward’s Auto Interiors Show

Volvo Car Corp. could have altered the course of cinematic history if its sporty new C30 had been around when Ingmar Bergman was making movies.

The unique airiness of the hatchback’s interior would have inspired the Swedish director to forgo the dark studies of inner torment for which he is famed. And Blockbuster’s shelves would be lined today with Scandanvian-flavored slapsticks.

OK, that may not be a good thing (hard to imagine a comedy troupe named Larry, Moe and Bjorn).

But the ’08 C30 surely would have resonated with Bergman’s Swedish sensibilities. That’s why it earns the best brand-reflection prize from Ward’s editors as part of the 2008 Interior of the Year Awards.

With a push from Peter Horbury, who now leads Ford Motor Co.’s Americas design team, Volvo has embarked on a mission to honor the brand’s Scandanavian roots.

Marked by simplicity, grace and functionality, the C30’s interior exemplifies this heritage.

Consider the slender seatbacks that come courtesy of Johnson Controls Inc. They not only defy the industry convention that mass ensures comfort, they contribute to a futuristic ambience usually reserved for concept cars.

The brushed aluminum accents and contrasting black-and-gray upholstery are trademarks of an unmistakably European interior.

But the floating center stack – a recurring Volvo design element – boasts the kind of clean, fluid lines and space-saving practicality featured in trendy Scandanavian furniture.

If Ikea made vehicle interiors, they would look like this.