Today’s luxury cars can come equipped with any feature imaginable. However, it wasn’t always this way. So, how did automotive comfort change over time? In this article, we’ll take a look at how technology transformed car interiors. Let’s dive in.

The early 1900s

The dawn of the automotive industry saw open-air vehicles. With their open tops, backs, and sides, passengers were exposed to all sorts of weather. Luckily, Cadillac developed a closed body car in 1910. This protected from precipitation and shielded passengers from extreme temperatures. Now that cars had interiors, automakers worked to make these spaces as comfortable as possible.

Throughout the early 1900s, several important innovations paved the way for future improvements. In1912, Cadillac equipped their cars with an electronic self-starter, ignition, and lighting. In 1914, Scripps-Booth started installing power door locks. And, in 1929, Ford began incorporating heating systems in their vehicles. After that, all these inventions improved the level of comfort in cars.

Music innovations

From where they’ve started, automotive sound systems have gone through a complete transformation. Car radios were first installed in the late 1920s and became commonplace by the 1930s. In 1950, AM/FM radios began to pop up. After an unsuccessful interlude of in-car record players in the 1950s, the 8-track player gained traction in the 1960s. Over time, these were phased out in favor of cassette players. In the 1980s, car CD players took over, and these stayed popular throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. At this point, USB ports and other forms of compact digital storage media gained popularity. These days, you can stream music to your car’s sound system with your cell phone. Early automakers wouldn’t have believed the technology we have today!

Climate control

In 1940, the Packard Motor Car Company had two crucial inventions. Similarly, these were in-car air conditioners and power windows. Both sought to improve the interior temperature of the car. In 1960, Cadillac took these ideas a step further and developed an automatic climate control system. For instance, by clicking a button, passengers could set whatever interior temperature they desired. In 1980, Cadillac released a fully electronic version of this system, which is the basis for what automakers use today.

Seat improvements

We can all thank Cadillac for their invention of heated seats in 1966. Over the years, automakers improved on this technology to offer other heated features, on side panels and steering wheels. On the other end of the spectrum are ventilated seats. These were invented by Saab in 1998. In addition, one of the best car seats comes from Mercedes, who installed massagers in their seats in the early 2000s. Talk about a luxury driving experience!

Modern technology and human-machine interfaces

Modern cars now come with smart interfaces, which let you fully integrate your smartphone or personal device. The technology is called HMI, or human-machine interface. However, with HMI technology, drivers can control all sorts of interior functions, such as:

  1. Sound systems and advanced lighting
  2. Wireless communication
  3. Seat comfort and interior temperature
  4. Touch interfaces
  5. Internet and cloud connectivity
  6. GPS


Therefore, with a simple screen tap, HMI technology makes it so easy to access and adjust all your car’s interior features. Automotive comfort sure has come a long way. In conclusion, early automakers would be blown away by all the features and controls we have these days.

Do you have questions about your vehicle’s interior features? Our experienced technicians at Dale Feste Automotive have answers. Call today at ​(952) 938-9808, or ​schedule an appointment online​. We look forward to hearing from you.