With its box shape and winky-eyed face, it’s easy to be cynical about the VW Group’s Sedric concept, a vision of how the electrified, self-driving, fully connected car of the future will look. When car makers stare so far into the future, there’s a fine line to tread between being visionary and cliched, especially when you know that the car has been created in a relatively short space of time and - in part - in reaction to the Dieselgate scandal.
But don’t under-estimate Sedric - named after the words SElf-DRiving Car - because it is significant for many reasons, and it’s a neat trick by the powers that be to sit head of research and development Ulrich Eichorn in one of the four seats as he explains the concept. After 20 minutes sat in an individual chair, space to stretch out, it’s hard not to relax and start to appreciate the potential benefits of cars like this.
Sedric has a footprint not much bigger than a VW Up, but because there’s no engine and no controls beyond three buttons to command it to stop, go or call for assistance, there’s ample space for four plus luggage. The atmosphere is more designer front room than car, buoyed by the deliberately quirky materials; there’s no leather here, but vibrant lime green seats and a striking floor made of birch bark.