Judging a car by its exterior makes sense, but when it comes down to it, you’ll really be spending most of your time actually inside the vehicle. It’s therefore arguably as important that the interior matches the outside, because a great looking car with a shoddy interior won’t be doing you any favors on a long road trip.
That’s why, when sites like WardsAuto.com rank the top ten interiors available, it’s probably good to at least pay some attention. “The honorees represent a broad swath of cars and utility vehicles available in the U.S. with advanced human-machine interfaces, high-quality materials, outstanding comfort and, in some cases, breathtaking aesthetics and limited self-driving capabilities,” Ward’s said. ”To be eligible for Ward’s 10 Best Interiors, a vehicle must offer a new or significantly redesigned interior. Unlike with Ward’s 10 Best Engines, there is no price cap,” it added. Hence the nearly $400,000 Rolls-Royce.
The following are ranked alphabetically, so number one doesn’t mean it’s any better than number ten. The numbers are for formatting purposes alone. Here are the 10 best interiors, as determined by Ward’s, from about $25,000 up through the aforementioned $400,000 — a little something for everyone.
10. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ($71,960)
The Chevrolet Corvette is not just a technological marvel, a head-turner, and the best performing Corvette ever — it’s also one of the most comfortable and luxurious that the nameplate has ever seen. With the right options, the Corvette Stingray can be outfitted in premium leather and high-end trim around the completely driver-focused cockpit.
9. 2015 Chrysler 200C ($31,470)
Chrysler’s (FIATY.PK) 200 sedan was in desperate need of a refresh, and thankfully, it got one — inside and out. The interior is no longer bland and unappealing, but inviting and intuitively formatted. New sculpted seats swaddle the driver with sports-like comfort, and the sedan has been infused with far more tech, which is all conveniently routed through steering wheel-mounted buttons. It’s a simple format, but is elegant in its simplicity — not bland or boring.
8. 2014 GMC Sierra Denali ($56,685)
You’d be forgiven for not realizing that the vehicle you’re looking at above is a pickup truck. The GMC Sierra Denali, to be specific — a truck so elegant on the inside that it gives several luxury cars a run for their money. You’ll pay for the comfort — at nearly $49,000 base price — but if comfort is your first priority (maybe second behind truck abilities), than the Denali package is a good choice. It’s quieter, boasts higher-end materials than the base-level trims, and heated and cooled driver and front passenger 12-way power-adjustable bucket seats. Great for towing your yacht.
7. 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate ($68,920)
The Hyundai Equus raised some eyebrows when it debuted, mainly because it was such a far departure from what Hyundai typically builds. However, it’s now one of the best values in the luxury sedan category, thanks largely to its handsome and elegant interior that makes it such a nice place to be. Virtually every aspect of the seats can be adjusted to get it just right; there’s an optional heads-up display, rear sunshades and recliners, and an LCD instrument cluster make the Equus perhaps the best luxury value on the market.
6. 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited ($37,525)
Jeeps are much more than just rugged off-roading vehicles now, and the new Cherokee Limited proves that. The exterior of the car has been up for much debate about its appearances, but it’s hard to argue that the inside isn’t a quality, well-formatted interior. Unlike the Denali, it’s not a hardcore rugged vehicle with a luxury filling, but instead uses two-tone color schemes and high-end materials to convey a pleasing yet masculine and high-tech cabin.
5. 2014 Kia Soul+ ($24,010)
The Kia Soul is about as far from a luxury vehicle as you can get, but with the right options, it becomes quite a comfortable and luxurious-looking space. Options include the leather-gilded appointments, the full tech suite, and features that you’d find on more premium vehicles. It adds some weight to the base price, but if you’re spending a lot of time inside the car, wouldn’t you want it to be worth it?
4. 2014 Mazda3 ($30,415)
The new 2014 Mazda3 is a better car than its predecessor in just about every way — including the interior, naturally. Despite its status as a compact car, the cabin has a decidedly upscale feel with an Audi-esque protruding screen, brushed aluminum trims that contrast with the dark, elegant cockpit. Everything has been designed with acoustics in mind, so the cabin is quieter, too. In all, the Mazda3 is one of the best buys in its class.
3. 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 ($122,895)
Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK) is a master of its craft, and as good as the cars look from the outside, it’s the inside that sets them apart from the competition. The inside of the S550 sedan could be extrapolated to a palace; on its dash are two screens in place of the conventional gauge cluster, while wood trim and premium leather options make the cabin among the nicest on the road, full-stop. Buyers can also choose Mercedes-brand scents for the interior, as well as a choice in color for ambient lighting.
2. 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith ($372,800)
In anyone is to out-do Mercedes for elegance and prestige, Rolls-Royce is the company to do it. It’s hard to know where to start — the exceptional hand-crafted details, the quality of the materials, the premium feel to just about everything — the Wraith’s interior is, in short, the full package. It does everything well, and the driver will be well rewarded for his choice — and should be, given the astronomical price they pay for it.
1. 2015 Volkswagen GTI
Few cars exude fun as much as the Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) GTI. That feel is brought inside with its signature tartan seats, the sporty steering wheel, and premium fit and finish that many don’t expect in a compact car, hot hatch or otherwise. The layout is simple and intuitive, and the buttons are neatly spaced to avoid clustering and crowding. In all, it’s a nice place to spend some time while whipping through corners.