WardsAuto is out with its annual Top 10 Best Interior awards for 2016.
Eight WardsAuto editors spent two months evaluating 47 vehicles. The interiors had to be all-new or significantly redesigned to be eligible. Editors scored them based on a bunch of factors including aesthetics and design harmony, as well as materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value and fit-and-finish.
For the first time ever, six luxury brands earned a spot on the annual list. In years past, it’s never had more than three luxury brands on it.
“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.”
Editors also look at the technology aspect in the cabin. For instance, they test the user-friendliness of the human-machine interface to see how effectively it communicates vehicle information.
Without further ado, here are this year’s winners:
Audi TTS ($58,500 as tested)
“Audi redefines how a driver experiences a compact sports coupe by integrating buttons and climate controls in clever places on the instrument panel, freeing up space and resulting in a cabin that feels less cramped. With an IP free of clutter and the only information screen perched directly behind the steering wheel, the TTS clearly is a driver-focused car.” – WardsAuto
BMW 7-Series ($129,245)
“So many features put the 7-Series in the winner’s circle: the massaging seats, heated armrests, chestnut wood trim inlays, wireless phone charging, microsuede Alcantara headliner and the swirling lighted speaker grates for the outstanding Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Don’t forget gesture control, which lets the driver perform certain functions with a mere swipe of the hand.” – WardsAuto
Cadillac XT5 ($63,845)
“This all-new XT5 rolled into a cage match with nine other finely appointed midsize luxury utes in this year’s competition and was among four to survive and make the list. It does so with first-rate materials, such as satin-finish Rosewood trim, supple semi-Aniline Maple Sugar leather, rich metallic brightwork and velvety microsuede headliner, pillar trim and (on certain models) instrument panel.” – WardsAuto
Chevrolet Camaro ($46,095)
“Who knew the cabin of a muscle car could incorporate so many soft surfaces and still feel like a sporty coupe intended to be driven hard? Our well-equipped Camaro SS came with a mostly black interior, but the beefy seats and door panels tie in a striking accent with Ceramic White trim inserts and contrast stitching. And this V8-powered bruiser is well suited for comfortable cruising with a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats and more than 20 ambient lighting colors to fit your every mood. It’s a classic in the making.” – WardsAuto
Chrysler Pacifica ($48,455)
“The folks who put the minivan on the map in the 1980s have stunned the segment yet again with the lavishly appointed Chrysler Pacifica,” said Tom Murphy, senior editor of WardsAuto. “Shoppers buy minivans out of necessity, but there are many aspects of the Pacifica they will want, such as the rich Deep Mocha leather, the groundbreaking Stow ’n Go seats, the panoramic roof and the integrated Stow ‘n Vac vacuum. And the kids will clamor for the third-row seats, which recline at the touch of a button. A trip to school, hockey practice or the doctor’s office will never be the same.”
Honda Civic ($27,335)
”The new Civic is the least-expensive vehicle on our list this year. Aesthetically, the new Civic is spot-on, with two shades of adjoining metallic trim (bronze and silver) on the instrument panel and doors. In addition, this beige interior is spiced up by a single black stripe down the center of each front seat.” –WardsAuto
Lexus RX ($52,968)
“Open the door to the new RX, slide into the driver’s seat and the reasons for its dominance among luxury utility vehicles are evident in the impeccable fit-and-finish, the satin brushed-aluminum trim, the form-fitting seats and the richly finished Espresso Walnut wood that curves gently up from the center console toward the glovebox,” said WardsAuto Senior Editor Tom Murphy. “But the RX is much more than a luxury experience, never seeming to forget its utilitarian purpose. Second-row seats are spacious and comfortable, and they fold nearly flat, exposing a massive cargo hold to accommodate at least a dozen flats of gardenias for hauling home from the nursery.”
Mercedes-Benz GLC ($54,360)
“The GLC is supremely comfortable in the front row, and scalloped seatbacks add space for second-row occupants. For the driver, the interface with the high-resolution display screen is first-rate, whether using the touchpad or the rotating dial in the center console to select vehicle preferences. The voice-recognition system and Bluetooth media and phone link also work well.” – WardsAuto
Nissan Maxima ($38,750)
“This interior makes a brilliant first impression,” said WardsAuto Senior Editor Tom Murphy. “The Maxima exhibits expert craftsmanship and reminds us once again why it serves as Nissan’s flagship. We love the black-and-camel color scheme, two-tone flat-bottom steering wheel, ‘Liquid Chrome’ metallic trim and Alcantara diamond-quilted seating surfaces. Nissan took some chances with the Maxima interior, but the rewards are evident.”
Volvo XC90 ($84,005)
“The XC90 interior arguably makes the most dramatic styling statement in this year’s competition, leveraging a uniquely Scandinavian sensibility,” said WardsAuto Senior Editor Tom Murphy. “From the diagonal grain of the Linear Walnut wood inlays and Oreffors crystal gear shifter to the user-friendly tablet-shaped display screen and gleaming brightwork, the XC90’s cabin is a credit to all things Swedish.”