Volvo is getting attention for its recent announcement of a crossover vehicle concept with an unusually parent-focused redesign.
The front passenger seat has been replaced with a swiveling baby seat.
The design of the 2016 XC90 with the “Excellence Child Seat Concept” was announced by the Swedish car company on July 2.
“We started by asking ourselves if we could make life easier for parents and safer for their children when it comes to the child seat experience,” said Tisha Johnson, chief designer of interiors at Volvo Cars Concept and Monitoring Centre, in a news release.
“We have always placed a great deal of importance on child safety, but this takes things to the next level,” she said.
The crossover is a four-seat version with extended legroom of Volvo’s seven-seat XC90 SUV. For now, it’s just a concept, and it’s not clear when vehicles would go into production.
The vehicle is intended to make it easier to get a child into and out of a child seat, and to provide the child with a rear-facing seat that allows eye contact with a driver or rear passenger, Johnson said.
The baby seat swivels toward the door when the child is being seated and then locks in a rear-facing position, according to Volvo. Storage space is available underneath the seat.
The vehicle also has heated cup holders that can keep a bottle warm, Johnson said.
Consumer Reports lauded the concept, noting that up to 75 percent car seats are installed incorrectly.
Many states in the U.S. require that children ride in the back seat, so it’s not clear if there is a market for the concept in America. California requires all children under the age of 8 to be buckled into a car seat in the rear seat unless there is no rear seat or in a few other specific situations.
Children under the age of 1 are required to ride in rear-facing seats in California, and a state brochure notes that rear-facing seats for children are safest.