Luxury automakers took a majority of the spots on the 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors list.
In previous WardsAuto Best Interiors lists, no more than three luxury brands have been recognized in a single year, but in 2016, a total of six luxury automakers made it onto the list. A total of 47 vehicles were evaluated in this year’s competition with 19 of them coming from premium brands. To be eligible, an interior must be all-new or significantly redesigned before eight WardsAuto editors put them to the test in February and March to determine the winners.
According to WardsAuto, each vehicle is scored based on aesthetics and design harmony, as well as materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value and fit and finish. The publication also tested the user-friendliness to see how effectively vehicle information is communicated.
It’s easy to point towards Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as to why the TTS’s interior has been named in this year’s list, but WardsAuto also commended its “aggressively bolstered bucket seats.” Overall, the Audi TTS‘s interior features integrated buttons and climate controls in clever locations, helping free up space to create a cabin that feels less cramped.
BMW’s new flagship 7 Series sedan is impressive from all angles, especially from the inside. Now featuring a 10.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen, BMW has improved its iDrive interface, but it’s the luxurious amenities that impressed WardsAuto‘s editors. Some of those included the massaging seats, heated armrests, chestnut wood trim inlays, wireless phone charging, microsuede Alcantara headliner and the swirling lighted speaker grates for the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
Replacing the aging SRX in the American automaker’s lineup, the Cadillac XT5 is off to a good start. Featuring first-rate materials in the cabin, the XT5’s interior has supple semi-Aniline leather, rich metallic brightwork and a velvety microsuede headliner. Seating and comfort received high marks along with the in-car tech such as its rear camera mirror, seamless connectivity of the Cadillac User Experience, bright head-up display, Ultraview panoramic sunroof and a generally flawless fit and finish.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Review
Chevrolet Camaro SS
WardsAuto goes so far as to say the new Chevrolet Camaro SS sets a new standard for interiors in the sports car segment. Boasting significantly upgraded materials, the Chevrolet Camaro SS is built for comfortable cruising with luxurious features like a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats and more than 20 ambient lighting colors to fit every mood.
Chrysler is betting big that the minivan segment isn’t completely dead with its all-new Pacifica. The interior impressed WardsAuto‘s editors, who called it a breath of fresh air. Of note is the Stow ‘n Vac vacuum that is integrated near the rear of the driver-side sliding door that makes for easy cleanup, while the updated Stow ‘n Go seats fold into the floor in the second and third rows to result in extra cargo space. Most surprising is how spacious and comfortable the third row of seating is for an adult.
AutoGuide.com named it the 2016 Car of the Year, and part of the reason why the new Honda Civic won the award is due to its interior. For $27,335, the Civic’s interior can be had with a 10-speaker audio system with subwoofer, Bluetooth HandsFree link, Honda LaneWatch, text message capability, a clever and spacious center storage bin and leather seats, steering wheel and shift knob. To go along with all of it is Honda’s suite of active safety technologies. The new Honda Civic is also the cheapest car of the list, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way on the inside.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic Review
The Lexus RX has dominated its segment for nearly 20 years and its latest iteration looks to continue the trend. The publication praised the RX’s interior for its “impeccable fit and finish” and form-fitting seats along with the crisply lit gauges and display screen. The second-row seats fold nearly flat, giving owners massive cargo space if necessary.
Mercedes ushered in a new-generation of crossover and SUV models with a change in its naming convention with the GLC replacing the GLK. Luxurious options that were put to the test included heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, Burmester surround-sound audio system and several-driver assistance features. The SUV was praised for its “supremely comfortable” front row while the scalloped seatbacks help provide additional space for second-row occupants. The high-resolution display screen was called first-rate by WardsAuto and the voice-recognition system and Bluetooth media/phone link worked well.
One of the few non-luxury cars on the list, the Nissan Maxima is now in its eighth generation and boasts an interior that rivals more expensive vehicles from luxury automakers. The two-tone flat-bottom steering wheel is joined by expertly applied contrast stitching, cushy Zero-Gravity front seats and Alcantara diamond-quilting seating surfaces – at least in WardsAuto‘s test car. What impressed editors the most was the “Liquid Chrome” metallic trim.
Lastly, Volvo leveraged its uniquely Scandinavian sensibility to create a top-of-the-line interior for its XC90. The user-friendly tablet-shaped display screen turned out to be ideal for the spacious cabin while the two-tier center console simply makes sense. “Overall, there’s a kind of hypnotic beauty in the sleekly shaped head restraints, the scarcity of buttons and the bulbous metallic-wrapped Bowers & Wilkins audio speaker that rises gently from atop the instrument panel, always in view of the driver,” said WardsAuto.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription Review