As increasingly complex in-vehicle infotainment systems (IVIS) are available in the automotive marketplace, there is a growing tendency to move from usability to user experience, the latter emphasizing more strongly the importance of users’ emotions during system design. Emotions have long been recognized as cognitive processes that affect decision making, perception, and attention. Recent literature reveals that design based on emotions can influence the overall user experience of interacting with IVIS. Therefore, this paper presents an exploratory co-design study aimed at identifying the emotional needs of car occupants (particularly for passengers inside the vehicle) and potential directions for the design of future passenger targeted IVIS. 16 participants were invited to participate in the co-design process, which mainly included the sessions of brainstorming and concept generation. The results showed that emotional design plays a vital role in user engagement with IVIS. In line with Norman’s emotional design model, a thematic network was constructed to illustrate how the visceral, behavioral, and reflective levels of mental processing can be supported and enhanced by the appropriate emotional design of passenger targeted IVIS.