For a driver, a car’s interior is their sanctuary. It’s where you need to be able to relax, yet stay engaged, and not be completely put off by cheap materials or poor built quality.
Luckily, there is such a thing as premium or otherwise well put together cars, and according to Wards Auto, after thoroughly reviewing 40 nominated models that were either all-new or significantly improved from last year, 10 interiors stood out from the competition.
One of the things that Wards’ reviewers highlighted in this year’s competition, was that automakers were more adventurous with color options .
“Thank you to all the interior designers who have been urging their bosses to take chances and try colors that are less predictable,” said WardsAuto Senior Content Director Drew Winter. “We know a lot of consumers end up buying black, gray or beige interiors, but there are also a lot of shoppers who want more excitement. This year’s class of winners will make those folks happy.”
The Top 10 list, which is in alphabetical order, holds five premium and five budget-friendly brands, priced as tested.
Chevrolet Equinox ($36,375)
The all-new Equinox was pegged as having a “stylish, well-built interior”, proving once again why this model remains one of America’s most popular midsize crossovers. The overall design was lauded for having abundant curves, tilted oblong air vents and angular door trim.
At the same time, the soft materials, massive center console, excellent infotainment system and overall built quality played a huge role in helping the Equinox secure its position among the top 10. Wards even claims that they could barely find a seam out of place after looking long and hard at the crossover’s fit and finish.
Hyundai Kona ($29,775)
The Kona, another budget-friendly nameplate, relies on “brilliant splashes of color” that make the cabin stand out and give it a more premium feel. The neon lime trim is a nice touch, while the head-up display and 8-inch color touchscreen are two standout features.
It may not be what we’d call luxurious, but then again, the Kona does have an entry-level price of just $19,500.
Infiniti QX50 ($58,195)
Unlike the previous two models, the QX50 is undoubtedly premium – something reflected in its price tag as well as its interior quality. Wards really enjoyed the brown Ultrasuede headliner and navy blue Ultrasuede accents on the center armrest, while the white leather trim provided some delicious contrast.
The Infiniti QX50 also impressed with its large center console, spacious second row and strong value. It starts from just $36,550 in the U.S.
Kia Stinger ($48,350)
Kia is a five-time Wards’ 10 Best Interiors trophy winner, and its all-new Stinger just happens to have really strong build quality, not to mention brushed aluminum trim, comfortable seats and even an award-winning twin turbocharged V6 engine – the latter also helps make your time behind the wheel more pleasant.
Wards Auto editors described the Stinger’s cabin as “splendidly executed”, being both elegant as well as athletic/sporty.
Lexus LS ($89,780)
The all-new Lexus LS follows in the footsteps of the LC Coupe, which last year was also present on this list. Of course, the LS is a luxury saloon, so no matter how nice the LC Coupe’s cabin was, the LS definitely kicked things up a notch.
Wards mentioned things like the hand-pleated door trim, cut-crystal trim, knurled knobs, huge infotainment display and reconfigurable gauges as deciding factors for this award.
Lincoln Navigator ($96,570)
The word has been spreading about the all-new Navigator’s interior and from what we’ve seen, gosh it looks good. Taken into account here was the posh Black Label version, boasting Venetial leather, Dinamica faux suede and lacquered wood trim.
To top it all off, Lincoln’s full-size SUV also comes with an ultra high-res touchscreen infotainment display, loads of passenger and cargo room, and excellent overall build quality.
Porsche Panamera ($201,540)
Since we’re on the subject of luxurious car interiors, the all-new Porsche Panamera definitely qualifies.
While the interior is impeccably executed, Wards says that the automaker’s high-performance pedigree will definitely not be lost on you, thanks to the fixed head restraints, firm seats and intuitive commands.
RAM 1500 ($65,945)
In case you thought a pickup couldn’t impress its occupants with a nicely put-together interior, here’s the Limited-grade Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4×4 for your viewing pleasure.
Among its fortes are the indigo/frost color combo, cloth-mimicking film, contrast stitching, Harman/Kardon speaker grilles and metal trim. Wards editors were also impressed with the large, easy to use portrait-style 12-inch infotainment display, which features “bold hues and graphics.”
Range Rover Velar ($91,830)
The fact that the Range Rover Velar is on this list comes as no surprise. You can easily make a case against some of the other nameplates here, but the Velar is a true tech fest, and its interior almost seems years ahead of the competition.
To hear Wards put it, the Velar’s cabin is “beautifully done and strikes the right balance of luxury, sport and technology.”
Toyota Camry ($39,253)
While the all-new Camry may seem like a weird addition to this group of cars, keep in mind that this model represents a considerable improvement over its predecessor.
Among the things you might like about its interior are the overall built quality, the asymmetrical center stack, great head-up display and “nice” gauge-cluster screen.
“Stylish, futuristic – I think it’s really sharp and raises the level on midsize sedan interiors,” stated one Wards editor.
But what about you? Do you have any issues with some of these models making a Top 10 best interiors list? We reckon you could argue against the Kona, maybe the Equinox too – then again, what would you replace them with?