The existing investigations on thermal comfort mostly focus on the thermal environment conditions, especially of the air-flow field and the temperature distributions in vehicle cabin. Less attention appears to direct to the thermal comfort or thermal sensation of occupants, even to the relationship between thermal conditions and thermal sensation. In this paper, a series of experiments were designed and conducted for understanding the non-uniform conditions and the occupant's thermal responses in vehicle cabin during the heating period. To accurately assess the transient temperature distribution in cabin in common daily condition, the air temperature at a number of positions is measured in a full size vehicle cabin under natural winter environment in South China by using a discrete thermocouples network. The occupant body is divided into nine segments, the skin temperature at each segment and the occupant's local thermal sensation at the head, body, upper limb and lower limb are monitored continuously. The skin temperature is observed by using a discrete thermocouples network, and the local thermal sensation is evaluated by using a seven-point thermal comfort survey questionnaire proposed by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc(ASHRAE) Standard. The relationship between the skin temperature and the thermal sensation is discussed and regressed by statistics method. The results show that the interior air temperature is highly non-uniform over the vehicle cabin. The locations where the occupants sit have a significant effect on the occupant's thermal responses, including the skin temperature and the thermal sensation. The skin temperature and thermal sensation are quite different between body segments due to the effect of non-uniform conditions, clothing resistance, and the human thermal regulating system. A quantitative relationship between the thermal sensation and the skin temperature at each body segment of occupant in real life traffic is presented. The investigation result indicates that the skin temperature is a robust index to evaluate the thermal sensation. Applying the skin temperature to designing and controlling parameters of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning(HVAC) system may benefit the thermal comfort and reducing energy consumption.