The 10 Best Interiors Of 2016, According To WardsAuto

As drivers, we spend most of our time inside our cars, so it’s no surprise that interiors are one of the most important, yet sometimes neglected, aspects of any vehicle.

Every year, WardsAuto editors take to the streets driving new cars in the United States, seeking to find the 10 best interiors that raise the bar for each brand and vehicle’s segment.

For 2016, the editorial staff selected 10 winners from a field of 47 vehicles with new or significantly improved interiors, based on their overall design, materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value, fit-and-finish and the user-friendliness of the so-called human-machine interface.

One thing we should take from this year’s awards is that, for the first time, luxury automakers dominated the list, capturing six out of 10 spots. In previous years, only as many as three luxury brands had made it to the top.

The publication argues though, that this was due to the overwhelming number of new luxury models, as 19 out of the 47 eligible vehicles this year hailed from premium brands, citing the examples of Audi which had five new cars, including the A4, A6, Q7, S7 and TTS, while BMW and Lexus each had three entries.

Even so, WardsAuto says that all non-premium brand models in the list lean toward the luxury side of the aisle, integrating lots of soft surfaces, upscale materials, warm ambient lighting and the latest connectivity and safety features typically associated and found in premium cars.

“It’s important that the Wards 10 Best Interiors list include mainstream, affordable vehicles,” says Drew Winter, director-content at WardsAuto. “But the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. has risen past $33,000, which is forcing us to reconsider how we define mainstream, affordable vehicles.”

With all that said, how about we see the winners below? After you’re done checking them out, tell us which car has the best interior overall in your opinion.

Audi TTS

The most impressive thing about Audi’s new sports coupe was the clutter-free dash with the fully-digital instrument panel that also incorporates the infotainment and navigation displays, as well as the integration of “buttons and climate controls in clever places on the instrument panel, freeing up space and resulting in a cabin that feels less cramped.” It also scored points for the quality of materials and trim.

BMW 7-Series

BMW’s latest flagship sedan was praised for its design language and for incorporating “enough electronic wizardry to entertain a member of the Geek Squad for hours”, all while maintaining “enough familiar aspects to keep brand loyalists happy, such as the horizontal array of audio and climate controls in the center stack”.

Cadillac XT5

A successor to the SRX, Cadillac’s new XT5 luxury mid-size crossover won editors with its “first-rate materials” and “generally flawless fit-and-finish”. Wards also pointed out “how comfortable and ergonomically correct the XT5 is, whether in the reclining second row or seated in the driver’s seat, where the shifter and all controls are within easy reach”.

Chevrolet Camaro

GM’s second car to make the list is the new Chevrolet Camaro, with the editorial team stating it comes with “enough significantly upgraded materials and flare to set a new standard for an interior in this segment”.

Chrysler Pacifica

The new Pacifica is Chrysler’s stylish replacement to the well-regarded, but rather square, Town and Country minivan. Wards says it was impressed by the lavish appointments and its spaciousness, with even the third row of seats being quite comfortable for an adult.

Honda Civic

The 10th generation of Honda’s popular Civic may be the least-expensive car in this year’s list, but Wards says its interior “hardly qualifies as cheap”, sporting a modern design and a suite of available tech features that help it “stand apart from its segment rivals”.

Lexus RX

For the past 20 years, Lexus has dominated the mid-size luxury SUV segment, with Wards saying the new RX continues the tradition of offering an “impeccable fit-and-finish” while not forgetting its “utilitarian purpose” with “second-row seats [that] fold nearly flat, exposing a massive cargo”.

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Formerly known as the GLK, Mercedes’ brand-new GLC makes a great first impression with its modern yet elegant design language that follows in the footsteps of the C- and S-Class models. The editors added that it’s “supremely comfortable in the front row” and offers a long list of tech and comfort features.

Nissan Maxima

Wards says it was highly impressed with the eighth generation Maxima’s spacious cabin that “makes a brilliant first impression with expert craftsmanship” delivering “a warm, inviting interior that competes with significantly more expensive vehicles from luxury brands”.

Volvo XC90

It took Volvo nearly 13 years to come up with a replacement for their XC90, but the new model makes up for the lost time with an interior that the editorial staff say, “makes the most dramatic styling statement in this year’s competition” with “far-reaching elements seen only in concept vehicles, particularly the 2-tier center console”.

Photo Gallery

  • JJ

    Everyone should sit inside an TT, it just feels very futuristic and premium unlike any other car.

    • Big Black Duck

      as opposed to the Tesla?

      • JJ

        In my opinion, yes. The quality is better that it incorporates metal and fine materials in a more elegant/futuristic way. Not that I don’t like the tesla’s interior, just TT’s is too awesome.

  • MultiKdizzle

    My list; current gen C Class, all new Infiniti Q60 Coupe.


    • emjayay

      Mercedes is putting the center vents along the bottom of the dashboard. Not as low as the Camaro, but below not above everything else.

      • Matt

        They are slightly lower in the Mercedes to accomodate the tablet-style infotainment screen, but they’re not that low by any stretch.

        If you compare them to the vents closest to the doors, you’ll see they dropped the centre vents a couple of inches only.

        The Camaro’s design is just odd.


    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      Isn’t it to keep the knob warm?

  • RS6 Performance Wagon Lover

    Opel Astra is my favourite.

    • emjayay

      It looks like this.

      • RS6 Performance Wagon Lover

        That’s the one. Thanks!

  • smartacus

    Honda effin Civic??
    i’d venture to say even the Scion iA’s interior is superior to the Civic.

    • jh

      This award is bought… must be. No other explanation possible…

    • Tumbi Mtika

      That’s a good joke.

  • MarketAndChurch

    From this list, I’d go TTS, XC90, XT5, and the RX.

  • Silimarina

    What about alfa romeo giulia?It’s one of the best interiors, in my opinion.

    • Matt

      These are all models launched in the last year, the Giulia isn’t on sale yet.

      • jh

        True, but stylewise the 3series interior isn’t too far away. Even this would/shoud top the the list. I don’t like audi but where’s the a8 on that list?

        If the giulia doesn’t top the list by lightyears next time, you can be certain this whole award is a scam…

        • Status

          Or the Giulia’s interior is simply of poor quality and is not remarkable.

          What do you think is more likely? That the habitually low-quality Alfa pitches a substandard interior, or that the automotive media is colluding and working in tandem to deliberately exclude Alfa from a subjective list?

  • Six_Tymes

    The Audi and the Camaro really stood out to me, they seem to mesh with the exteriors. Then again the same can be said of the great looking new Volvo. i am going to check these out in person and see if i am just as impressed then. Nice designs

  • jh

    Are you kidding me? Most of those are dead-ugly!

  • Vassilis

    The TT’s interior is simply stunning.

  • Christian

    before CARSCOOP GOT IT. YOU SAW IT FIRST HERE…the new Aston Martin GT8

  • Mind Synthetic

    what no demio, the best interior by far, clean and simple

    • Status

      And a CD player, dragging the driver right back to 2005. It’s not needed in it, or even in any of the cars listed here.

    • Matt

      Being an American list, the Demio is not sold stateside (unless you want a Scion badge and a boot).


    alfa romeo gullia

    • Big Black Duck

      Now…this is Nice…

    • Nikos Kalantas Brother


  • I feel like the E class is missing… 🙁 and XC90 should be on the top.

  • Toronado_II

    The XT5 didn’t impress me when I sat in. And I hate the touch button !

  • Sandeep

    Pic 68 is of the S90, not XC90.

  • nauticalone

    The new Volvo is stunningly beautiful…especially inside!

  • Cadillac & Volvo hands down.
    I love Audis, and though the TT’s interior is very clean, sometimes it would be an issue not having any access to the entertainment controls or navigation by the passenger – it is helpful, like when on a road trip.

    • Jawad Karim

      I agree, but I wouldn’t be taking a TT on a road trip, not the ideal car

  • john1168

    I like the Maxima interior and I wish the refreshed Q50 had elements of this interior to make it a bit more modern and sporty.

  • Nikos Kalantas Brother


  • Tostik

    Quote from above on the Volvo XC90;

    “–an interior that the editorial staff say, “makes the most dramatic styling statement in this year’s competition” with “far-reaching elements seen only in concept vehicles, particularly the 2-tier center

    I agree.

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