Your car is filled with secrets—behind the dashboard, under the seat upholstery, and below the carpet.
Masked by vinyl, leather, and plastic, there's an intricate world of motors, computers, structure, plumbing, and wiring that automakers hope you never think about. It's where an airbag lies dormant, how the seatbelt cinches in an accident, and why your car can be a cool 68 degrees on a 100-degree day. A beautifully finished interior puts everything in the right place and makes it all look easy. It isn't. Designers typically kick off the back-and-forth negotiations by sketching a dashboard surface, then challenging the engineers to fit the necessary systems behind it. Even decades of experience don't make the job any easier. "It is a constant challenge to find the packaging space for new options and to avoid opportunities for squeaks and rattles," said Bob Nicol, an interior systems engineer for Cadillac. On top of that, there's an ongoing effort to minimize weight and maximize interior volume. We couldn't show you everything hidden beneath the skin because that image would look like a box of microwaved Crayolas. But to give you an idea of just how complex a car interior's internals are, here's what you'd see if you could x-ray a Cadillac CTS.
Source: Car and Driver