Apr 18, 2017
Seven automakers landed on Wards 10 Best Car Interiors list for the first time.
For the past seven years, WardsAuto editors have evaluated and scored interiors based on several aspects: aesthetics, comfort, ergonomics, materials usage, fit-and-finish and user-friendly electronics. There’s no price cap on the vehicles evaluated, so it’s no surprise that several of the choices are from luxury automakers. A total of 31 interiors were eligible this year that are all-new or have been significantly redesigned, and some automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are notably missing.
The top 10 list was not ranked, so here are this year’s winners in alphabetical order.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
There’s a lot to like about the Alfa Romeo Giulia, especially the Quadrifoglio model sporting a Ferrari-sourced engine. But we’re here to talk about interiors and the Giulia’s cabin doesn’t disappoint. WardsAuto noted the F1-inspired steering wheel and creamy leather seats, along with the sedan’s matte-finish genuine walnut trim and stylishly arrayed center console. They also raved about the metallic accents, outstanding build quality, artistic lines, intuitive control screen and tidy white stitching found across the soft-touch black IP and upper door trim.
When it first debuted, the Bentley Bentayga had a lot of claims, including the world’s most expensive SUV. But that money gets you one of the best interiors on the market with one editor saying, “The leather is so soft and smooth I can barely keep my hands off of it.” There’s also the massaging seats, a state-of-the-art infotainment system in both rows, a Naim premium audio system, driver-assistance features and the fold-out leather bench helping get the Bentayga onto the list.
Over the past few years, Buick has been working hard on changing its image to better compete in the luxury space. The hard work has paid off, with the LaCrosse’s interior being recognized by WardsAuto. The publication touched on the two-tier instrument panel and door trim that create a soothing, contemporary environment. The cabin is further enhanced by light neutral leather with dark brown accents, rich wood-grain film, an uncluttered center console, massaging front seats, a roomy backseat and a general feeling of spaciousness.
Not all cars on the list are from luxury automakers. The Honda CR-V continues the Japanese automaker’s tradition of being on the list with the Civic, Fit and Odyssey being named in previous years. This year, the CR-V gets recognized for its upscale, clean, functional and supremely well built cabin. WardsAuto tested a Touring model that received high marks for its bronze-tinted metallic strips, the half-moon touch-sensitive volume button on the steering wheel, the floating display screen and a digital gauge cluster that some judges found retro, while others called it futuristic.
Lexus LC 500
There’s a lot to love about the Lexus LC 500’s exterior, but its interior is no slouch. inside there’s stylish carbon fiber scuff plates, grippy high-shoulder leather seats and Alcantara microsuede for the headliner. With color options like Rioja Red and Bespoke White, the LC 500 offers something truly unique for shoppers that want to stand out. Of course there’s more traditional, conservative color schemes like caramel beige.
Lincoln has quite a bit riding on the Continental and it’s a good thing the interior doesn’t disappoint. Soft ambient lighting that glows at night, reconfigurable gauges, supple Alpine Venetian leather seats and a cavernous second row all helped the luxury sedan receive high marks. WardsAuto tested a Black Label model featuring a 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system that it says has the “ability to virtually put the listener in the studio, on stage or in the concert hall” while creating “auditory magic that will have drivers taking the long way home.”
Maserati’s entry in the luxury SUV segment gets recognized sumptuous Ebano wood, distinctive stitching, minimal brightwork and “Zegna edition” silk fabric. WardsAuto says the interior is clearly configured for the driver, with easy-to-reach controls, a user-friendly UConnect infotainment system and large gear-shift paddles fixed in place like a Formula 1 car. It did however, note that while the second row is comfortable, it doesn’t have the same amenities as its competitors with no available rear-seat entertainment system.
The new Mazda CX-9 continues to be a favorite with WardsAuto editors, having already claimed a Wards 10 Best Engines trophy earlier this year. Editors praised the SUV’s textured knobs and dials, comfortable third row, limited use of chrome, impeccable fit-and-finish, rubber-lined bin ahead of the shifter, knee pad along the center console, intuitive central controller and head-up display as well as the use of black accents against the light brown leather seats.
As the largest MINI ever created, the new Countryman also benefits from more interior space. There are of course, some signature MINI traits inside the cabin, like the kitchen-clock-sized display atop the center stack and the airplane-like toggles. But it’s the vastly improved headroom and legroom helping earn the Countryman a spot on the list, as well as its extended thigh support for front-seat occupants, the heavy-duty package tray above the cargo hold and the quilted “Chesterfield” mocha leather that contrasts with both white seat piping and black accents on the door and instrument panel.
This is the first time Subaru has landed on the Wards 10 Best Interiors list and it’s ironically with its least expensive vehicle. But the new Impreza shows the direction Subaru is heading with an all-new crisp, easy-to-use telematics screen bookended by angular vertical vents on a gently sloping instrumental panel featuring contrast stitching and metallic trim. WardsAuto also pointed out the lack of buttons, well-bolstered seats and the high-luster simulated carbon-fiber trim. With a price under $20,000, the new Subaru Impreza proves well-equipped and comfortable interiors aren’t just for expensive luxury cars.