At the Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo revealed it’s new Flagship “Excellence” model based on the XC90. The XC90 Excellence eliminates the third row to create more luxurious and roomy seating. The reclining rear seats come with massage and ventilation. Volvo also created a lounge console concept for this model by eliminating the front passenger seat in favor of a handy console. Although still a concept, this console was designed for executives or socialites on the go: It can hold jewelry and valuables, transforms into a desk or vanity (great for productivity—maybe not so great in a crash), holds shoes, and contains a full-size screen for “infotainment.”
More interesting to us, though, is the version of the console that also holds a Volvo-designed infant seat. The seat swivels so parents can easily load the child or attend to his needs while standing outside the car. The seat then locks into a rear-facing position, much like the Orbit Infant Seat. With no seatback, a parent sitting in the second row can easily interact with the child during the ride.
The first question on everyone’s mind: What about airbags??? Airbags can be deadly to a rear-facing child in the front seat. No need to worry (much) though: This model doesn’t have a front passenger airbag. It should be noted that the rear seat is still considered the safest place for a child, but the absence of an airbag does make the front seat an acceptable option, and putting rear-facing children in the front seat is a common practice in some countries where the frontal airbag can be easily disabled.
No word yet on whether the infant seat can be replaced later with a rear-facing convertible, which would certainly make for a longer-lasting solution.
You won’t find these cars in the U.S. anytime soon—if ever. Right now the child-seat model is just a concept, and it was designed with the Chinese market in mind, specifically the segment of the market that makes use of chauffeurs (hence all the cool stuff you can do from the back seat).
What do you think? If this car were available in the U.S., would you want one?