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  • An old-school concept that’s not meant for production, Fiat Chrysler’s Airflow Vision focuses on two things.
  • First, the interior, with user experience based on multiple screens and menus that FCA believes will make sense to drivers and passengers.
  • Second, the exterior, which is cool and serene and at least hints at what FCA might do in the future.

    Even though CES, the annual technology show in Las Vegas, is undoubtedly forward-looking, Fiat Chrysler apparently thinks a shimmer of the past is the right way to go. FCA will show off a new “sculptural design concept” there next week. Interestingly, its name takes more than a little from the Chrysler Airflow, which was itself more than a little futuristic when it was produced back in the 1930s.

    The Airflow Vision concept tries to do a few things at once, but most important is the fact that it’s not trying to preview a new production vehicle. While FCA’s description of the concept includes a nod to the realities of a powertrain—the Airflow Vision concept uses the same dimensions and flat load floor as the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, apparently—this is a concept that is focused almost entirely on the way the interior and exterior feel and work.

    First, the Airflow Vision concept tries to understand how people driving and riding inside premium vehicles will want that experience to feel in the coming years. FCA’s designers have revamped the user experience (UX) and put it front and center in the concept. FCA says the UX uses “multi-layered, high-contrast graphics and thoughtful details” in order to keep the look clean and sophisticated. There are multiple display screens and tons of personalization opportunities inside the Airflow Vision, which allows each person inside to swipe and interact with the information the vehicle is displaying. FCA says the suede and leather materials that make up the Airflow Vision’s interior help offer a “first-class travel experience” and a “serene environment.” There are also crystalized textures throughout the vehicles to help the transition from interior to exterior. That’s all well and good, but if there’s not a “De Soto Airflow” Easter egg somewhere in all of those UX menus, we’ll be severely disappointed.

    The Airflow Vision’s exterior isn’t quite as removed from future production possibilities as the inside, with FCA saying the exterior proportions and overall clean design “[hint] at the future of premium design.” As with its predecessor nameplate, aerodynamics are important, but the overall focus is more on the muscular shape and the kinds of words today’s automotive designers like to use: athletic profile, wide stance, dramatic persona.

    The Airflow Vision is finished off in a body color called Arctic White and an underbody in Celestial Blue. The unquestionably cool wheels are meant to evoke the elegant internal mechanical elements inside electric motors and mechanical watches. Those are things that work, even on a fantastical concept vehicle.

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