The Volkswagen brand is continuing to rethink its interiors, and that includes greater use of buttons and soft-touch materials.

    Autocar reports Volkswagen is introducing a row of physical, backlit buttons for climate control functions, in addition to the previously revealed rotary controller.

    Brand CEO Thomas Schäfer admitted earlier this year features like haptic steering wheel switchgear and touch-capacitive climate control sliders “definitely did a lot of damage”.

    The company is already working to add illuminated sliders and returning to regular steering wheel buttons.

    Volkswagen interior designer Darius Watola said that “customers had a different view in Europe” than in other global markets and wanted more physical buttons, noting this year’s ID.2all concept previewed the new direction for the brand’s interiors.

    “Customers say a pure touchscreen is not enough and they expect physical switches and dials for important functions,” said Volkswagen design boss Andreas Mindt.

    Mr Watola also committed to Volkswagens having a screen ahead of the driver, unlike rivals from Tesla (Model 3, Model Y) and Volvo (EX30) that have no digital instrument cluster or head-up display.

    The company will continue to use infotainment screens with touch functionality, and these are larger than ever. The latest Tiguan, for example, features a touchscreen that measures 15 inches diagonally.

    Volkswagen also reportedly wants to phase out hard plastics, glue, leather and chrome in favour of soft-touch trim, including fabrics and Alcantara, as well as limited use of some woods and metals.

    It’s promising a “better quality and nicer design”, according to Mr Mindt.

    The production version of the ID. 2all, due in 2025, will also have screens with various different themes including one inspired by the original Golf, as well as doors that combine the door handles, grab handles and armrest into one unit.

    Other features reportedly set to appear on the production model include a rear bench with a foldable bottom half, allowing a bike to be put in the rear footwells, plus a storage space beneath the boot floor large enough for three big drinks crates.

    Volkswagen’s new Driving Experience Switch is a centre console-mounted rotary dial that can be used to control the drive mode, stereo volume and ambient lighting.

    Debuted on the new Tiguan, it’s expected to be rolled out across other Volkswagen models.

    MORE: VW CEO: Our cabins “frustrated” owners, “did a lot of damage”

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Also on CarExpert