Interior Car Design: The Aesthetic Evolution Over the Years (2024)

Interior Car Design: The Aesthetic Evolution Over the Years (1)

Evolution of Car Interior Aesthetics Over the Years

Over the past few decades, the aesthetics of car interior design have undergone remarkable evolutions, reflecting the social, technological, and cultural changes in society. Cars have evolved from simple transportation vehicles to symbols of style and status, becoming extensions of our personalities, and interior design has played a fundamental role in this transformation.

1950s and 1960s: Functionality as a Priority

In the 1950s and 1960s, car interior design primarily focused on functionality. Seats were made with durable materials like vinyl and fabric, featuring simple and linear shapes. The aesthetic was minimalistic, emphasizing practicality and ease of maintenance. Predominant colors were often sober and neutral, such as gray, black, and beige.

1970s and 1980s: The Beginning of Customization

During the 1970s and 1980s, car interior design began to reflect the growing demand for customization and comfort. Interiors became more cozy and luxurious, featuring higher-quality materials like leather and wood. Shapes became softer and more rounded, with vibrant colors like brown, burgundy, and dark blue gaining popularity. Additionally, accessories like air conditioning, cassette players, and audio systems became more common. Music, in fact, began to circulate in cars with the introduction of audio cassettes and radio broadcasts in the early 1970s, leading to significant changes in dashboard and door designs to accommodate these new features. The 1980s also saw the introduction of the first onboard computers capable of calculating distances traveled, fuel consumption, time, and remaining fuel in liters.

1990s and the Beginning of the New Millennium: The Technological Revolution

In the 1990s and early 2000s, car interior design underwent a true technological revolution. Digital displays replaced traditional analog gauges, and entertainment systems became more sophisticated with the introduction of CD players and later GPS navigation devices. The use of synthetic and lightweight materials became more prevalent to improve efficiency and sustainability. Interior design also focused on safety, with the incorporation of airbags and advanced driver assistance systems.

2010 and Beyond: A Fusion of Technology and Comfort

Throughout the 2010s, car interior aesthetics continued to evolve, embracing a fusion of advanced technology and comfort. Touchscreen displays, infotainment systems, and smartphone integrations became integral parts of interior design. Cars started integrating eco-friendly and sustainable materials, reflecting the growing environmental consciousness.

Moreover, interior design became more attentive to ergonomics, providing a more intuitive layout of controls to enhance the driving experience. Lines and forms became more fluid, creating elegant and welcoming interior spaces. Customization reached new heights, offering a wide range of colors, materials, and finishes for a personalized touch.

Today, thanks to digitalization, the level of interaction between humans and cars has reached new heights. Technologically, cars are equipped with antennas and sensors that enable various types of connections, from Bluetooth to GPS. This evolution has completely changed the way we experience being in a car: drivers can constantly stay informed about parking, traffic, and parking areas, while passengers can watch movies, use virtual reality, and engage in various forms of entertainment. This has led to the development of increasingly comfortable and functional car interiors to provide passengers with a captivating and entertaining travel experience or even a workplace, depending on their needs. Today, infotainment plays a central role in car design, and we could say that the entire development of car interiors revolves around infotainment and all its associated functions.

The American magazine Wards Auto, as reported by AlVolante in Italy, has ranked the top 10 best car interiors of 2023, with large screens, innovative gear selectors, advanced graphics, and user experiences taking center stage to provide an enhanced driving and travel experience.

Regarding sustainability, significant progress has been made in the research and development of eco-friendly materials and the recycling of plastic materials. For instance, seat coverings can now be made from recycled PET bottles, old fabrics, or fiber scraps. Similarly, plastic covers for seatbelt buckles are produced using recovered plastic materials.


In conclusion, the aesthetics of car interior design have undergone remarkable transformations over the years, reflecting the evolution of consumer expectations and technological advancements. From the functionality of the 1950s to the explosion of comfort and customization in the 1980s and 1990s, and the integration of advanced technologies in the new millennium, car interior design has become a fertile ground for innovation and creative expression. This demonstrates how car interior design has been, and continues to be, an essential aspect of the automotive industry, offering exciting prospects for the future.

In this context, the work of Lucchese Industria fits perfectly. Attention to detail and the continuous evolution of consumer tastes and styles allow us to meet the demands of our clients and automakers regarding car interior design, which, more than ever, should be a functional space where all passengers can feel comfortable.

We produce consoles and components for car interiors that take into account the numerous functionalities to be accommodated in the vehicle, with a focus on ergonomics, design, and the quality of materials used in production.


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Interior Car Design: The Aesthetic Evolution Over the Years (2024)


How has car design changed over the years? ›

Many post-war vehicles were built with new materials and technologies, such as fiberglass bodies, larger windows, and overhead valve engines. On the other hand, during the 1960s and 1970s, cars began to feature more futuristic designs and advanced technology.

How have cars changed in the last 20 years? ›

In the modern age, computers have transformed cars. Safety features like anti-lock brakes, tire pressure sensors, and electronic stability control help drivers react faster and maintain control of their cars in difficult conditions. Backup cameras and lane-change assist also help eliminate blindspots for drivers.

How did the cars evolve? ›

The first automobiles were powered by steam engines and were developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However, it wasn't until the late 1800s that the first gasoline-powered cars were developed. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen, developed by Karl Benz in 1886, is widely regarded as the first practical automobile.

Does a car designer design the interior as well? ›

A car designer is someone who creates the appearance and functionality of cars, trucks and other vehicles. They typically focus on one of three areas: the inside, outside or color and trim.

Why did car styles change? ›

New safety and emissions guidelines affected the way cars were built, and designers experimented with various ways to evolve the overall look of the American automobile. By the end of the 1980s, drivers were tired of wedge-shaped, boxy cars that focused more on fuel efficiency than on aesthetics.

When did car design peak? ›

20th century. Steam-powered road vehicles, both cars and wagons, reached the peak of their development in the early 1930s with fast-steaming lightweight boilers and efficient engine designs. Internal combustion engines also developed considerably during World War I, becoming easier to operate and more reliable.

What will happen to cars in 2050? ›

In 2050, a typical new vehicle will be much more than just a mode of transport; it will represent a highly integrated, intelligent ecosystem. The interior will be revolutionized by advanced technologies, such as holographic displays and interactive 3D surfaces.

What did the very first car look like? ›

The major features of the two-seater vehicle, which was completed in 1885, were the compact high-speed single-cylinder four-stroke engine installed horizontally at the rear, the tubular steel frame, the differential and three wire-spoked wheels. The engine output was 0.75 hp (0.55 kW).

What was the first car name? ›

The Benz Patent-Motorwagen ("patent motorcar"), built in 1885 by the German Karl Benz, is widely regarded as the first practical modern automobile and was the first car put into production. It was patented and unveiled in 1886.

Is Cars 4 coming out? ›

Cars 4 isn't confirmed, and probably won't be happening with Pixar's current slate of movies.

When did cars evolve? ›

It might surprise you that the first automobiles were actually steam and electrically powered. These were being developed as early as the late 1700s and early 1800s. However these vehicles were very primitive and had many shortcomings. It was not until 1885 that the first gas powered car was invented by Karl Benz.

What is the oldest car in the world? ›

The oldest running car in the world is La Marquise, an 1884 model made in France. It has a steam engine and three wheels. The car was entered in an 1887 exhibition race from Paris to Versailles.

Who designs the interior of cars? ›

Interior Designers focus on making the vehicle interior for the driver and passengers, and also design the shape of instrument panel.

What is a car interior designer called? ›

Automotive designers, also known as automotive stylists, are specialized industrial designers who combine their technical knowledge of mechanics, production, and materials with artistic talent to improve the style, appearance, and ergonomic and aerodynamic design of automobiles.

What is automotive interior design? ›

The automotive interior designer tackles the challenge of fitting together all the components of the car while maintaining its aesthetics and comfort. Designers are also in charge of selecting the materials the different parts of the vehicle will be made of: fabric, plastic, metal, as well as the trim package.

What improvements have been made to the car? ›

Equipment and technology
  • Seat belts. Most standard equipment in cars today wasn't even an option decades ago. ...
  • Air bags. Air bags have come a long way since the first one was invented in the 1950s. ...
  • Electronic stability control. ...
  • Backup camera. ...
  • Blind spot detection. ...
  • Driver assistance.

When did cars change shape? ›

This underappreciated transformation is probably the most distinct design change to come to cars over the past half-century, and for most US cars, it happened within just a few years, starting in 1986.

How has technology changed in cars? ›

Safety Improvements

Some examples are antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, brake assist, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, backup camera, and tire pressure sensors.

When did cars change their look? ›

It wasn't until after World War II that cars started to take on their modern-day appearance. The 1950s saw an explosion in car design, with many new models appearing each year. The 1960s saw another boom in new designs, as well as advancements in safety features and technology.

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