Comparing early cars to today’s vehicles is like comparing apples to oranges. This is especially true when it comes to comfort and convenience. Nowadays, we can control most of our car’s features with the click of a button or the tap of a screen. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of automotive comfort throughout the years. Read on to learn more.

The early 1900s

The earliest cars were open-air vehicles, exposing passengers to the elements. This meant that unless you had perfect weather, you were dealing with lots of inconveniences. All that changed in 1910, when Cadillac invented the first closed body car. As soon as this happened, manufacturers started paying closer attention to car interiors. They wanted to make them as comfortable as possible for the driver and passengers.

In the 1910s, several developments improved automotive interiors. In 1912, Cadillac brought an electronic self-starter, ignition, and lighting to their Model Thirty vehicles. In 1914, Scripps-Booth invented power door locks. In 1929, Ford offered the first interior auto heater. These improvements paved the way for future comfort measures, transforming auto interiors altogether.

Music innovations

Auto manufacturers first installed radios in the late 1920s. By the 1930s, AM radios were considered standard features. But, it wasn’t until 1950 that the first AM/FM car radio appeared. In 1966, Ford introduced an 8-track player in its Mustangs, but these were eventually phased out and replaced by cassette players. By the 1980s, CD players were the next big thing. These remained popular throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. In the 2000s, USB ports and other forms of compact digital storage media began popping up. Fast-forward to today, a time when everyone is streaming music. Early automakers couldn’t have fathomed such a thing!

Climate control

The ability to control a car’s interior temperature was one of the biggest innovations in automotive comfort. Packard Motor Car Company had two huge inventions back in 1940: in-car air conditioners and power windows. Both gave drivers and passengers control over the car’s interior temperature. In 1960, Cadillac took things a step further with the creation of the first automatic climate control system. This allowed drivers to select and set a preferred temperature. By 1980, they refined their system and made it all electronic. This is the same as the modern systems we see in cars today.

Seat improvements

Heated seats are the absolute best. Our frigid Minnesota winters are a tad bit easier to deal with, thanks to Cadillac’s introduction of the heated seat in 1966. Since then, manufacturers have created all sorts of heated features, from steering wheels to side paneling. Ventilated seats, which cool instead of heat, were developed by Saab in 1998. In the 2000s, Mercedes brought ultimate luxury with their massaging seats. Why go to the spa when you can have a seat in your car? Automotive seating has truly seen an evolution in comfort.

Modern technology and human machine interfaces

Modern cars have smart interfaces that allow you to integrate your personal devices. HMI (human machine interface) technology offers luxury convenience in many ways. This includes the following:

Seat comfort and interior temperature

Internet and cloud connectivity

Touch interfaces

Advanced sound and lighting systems

Wireless communication


With HMI technology, you can customize and control your car’s interior with the tap of a screen. Conclusion

It’s hard to believe how far automotive comfort has come. Do you have questions about the interior features in your vehicle? Our experienced technicians at Bonfe’s have answers. Give us a call today at (​651) 222-4458. We look forward to hearing from you.