The increase in instrument panel design and functional performance requirements has resulted in a variety of structural architectures that have been utilized in different passenger vehicles, vans, and light trucks. Each architecture can be designed and engineered to meet corporate and federal requirements using different levels of integration, functionality consolidation, and assembly simplification.The present paper reviews three basic IP design architectures, i.e., traditional, hybrid, and structural, and discusses the performance requirement-functionality matrix in each case. Emphasis is given at explaining the role components play in the different architectures, defining their contribution to static, dynamic and crash performance and their relation to the overall assembly process and sequence. Performance and functionality requirements are linked to basic material characteristics that guide material selection for achieving design targets. The rationale for selecting different traditional materials such as steel, aluminum, and magnesium and non-traditional polymeric materials such as olefins, styrenics, and blends is given. Examples are provided for the different design architectures to exemplify the strategy used during optimization of system response.