Acura ILX ($30,095)
Excellent fit-and-finish, but uninspiring. This is slightly nicer than the Honda Civic, but not quite worthy of luxury placement.
Acura RDX ($40,315)
Not flashy, but very well done and soothing and incorporates intuitive controls. Proves Acura materials are vastly under-rated.
Acura RLX ($56,950 estimated)
Stitch line arcs in near-perfect form along door and instrument panel, but overall styling language is disappointingly subdued.
Audi Allroad ($50,670)
Updated A4 variant is well-done, but changes overall are minimal. Not the type of opulent Audi interior we know and love.
Audi RS 5 ($75,820)
Engine, exterior design, lighting sell this car, while interior is just along for the ride. Overall, interior needs more brightwork.
Buick Enclave ($50,965)
Nicest of General Motors’ Lambda CUVs, with rich reddish hues on instrument panel and center console. Nissan Pathfinder’s better.
Buick Encore ($32,230)
Nothing out there like it. Surprisingly roomy, comfortable and space-efficient. Lots of safety features for the money.
Cadillac ATS ($49,185)
Bold Morello red seats, IP and door trim make this an aesthetic homerun, but too much piano-black trim means too many fingerprints.
Cadillac SRX ($49,085)
Beautifully done interior that results from creative engineers and artists teaming up. Sleek, vertical layout works well.
Cadillac XTS ($64,695)
Ebony and ivory, together in perfect harmony, with superb ambient lighting and purple-haze accent stitching.
Chevrolet Impala ($39,510)
Fullsize sedan comes a long way, but exterior is much more upscale than interior. Needs nicer wood trim.
Chevrolet Spark ($15,795)
High-energy colors, high-quality plastics and excellent ergonomics illustrate why some designers deserve a really long leash.
Chevrolet Traverse ($46,410)
Front-center airbag a great idea, but overall it’s a bit drab inside, with mid-grade material. And sticker price is outrageous.
Fiat 500e ($33,395)
Really nicely done, with instrumentation that’s easy to read and understand. But still not exactly practical for U.S.
Fisker Karma EcoSport ($116,600)
Lots of imperfections, such as uneven sew lines. One of the worst touchscreens ever. Build quality doesn’t justify price.
Ford C-Max Energi ($37,550)
Interior design takes a backseat to powertrain technology. Too many hard surfaces and panel gaps.
Ford Escape Titanium ($34,735)
Better materials than Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. But we expect so much more from this uplevel trim. A bit bland.
Ford Fusion SE ($26,040)
Holds its own in segment, and red contrast stitching is distinctive. We prefer this package over Titanium trim.
Ford Fusion Titanium ($37,670)
Hard to understand why buyers would pick this top trim level. Serious fit-and-finish problems keep it out of contention.
GMC Acadia Denali ($51,805)
Nice effort in updating Lambda CUVs, but it lacks character and central gauges remain dated. Plastic center-console trim is cheesy.
Honda Accord V-6 ($33,140)
Surprising amount of headroom in this coupe, and build quality and materials are excellent. But the price isn’t right.
Honda Civic ($24,555)
Good effort, but bean counters still rule. Instrument panel remains an asymmetrical stew of disconnected lines.
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport ($35,925)
Everything you need – nothing you don’t. Shows why Hyundai deserves some upward price creep. Still, competitively priced for segment.
Hyundai Elantra GT ($25,365)
Fine package and very comfortable, but not enough new content relative to award-winning Elantra from two years ago.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT ($69,665)
Awesome, incredibly supportive seats. This latest redesign underscores just how far Jeep and Chrysler have come.
Kia Forte ($25,515)
At shut-off, this affordable compact says “goodbye” with lively color graphic showing Forte’s back end. Nice touch.
Kia Sorento ($38,550)
Too expensive, and electronic gremlins cause radio stations to go silent during our loan.
Lexus ES 350 ($43,105)
Certainly more than a gussied up Toyota Camry, and Lexus still owns the “quiet-car” segment. Seats lack support.
Lexus GS 450h ($68,139)
So beautifully appointed with bamboo and metallic accents, we can forgive lack of onboard navigation system.
Lexus LS 460L ($83,999)
Interior colors are attractive, but center stack leaves us cold. Central controller was cool when new but now feeling dated.
Lexus LX 570 ($88,670)
A beastly SUV with a pricetag to match, and it fails to raise the bar in any measurable way. Why no power-lift third-row seats?
Lincoln MKZ ($51,540)
We want to like this interior and its strong suit is style. But backseat is uncomfortable and fit-and-finish problems documented.
Gorgeous styling, simple-to-use infotainment system and creative use of three interior colors, including stitching, makes it a winner.
Mercedes SL550 ($124,345)
Typically well done high-end interior, and electrochromic sunroof is innovative. But interior overall is no benchmark.
Mini Paceman John Cooper Works ($47,100)
Probably our favorite Mini interior – just like the Cooper but with more headroom and more spacious backseat.
Nissan Altima ($31,035)
Also-ran in a very competitive segment this year. Another high-volume sedan that is afraid to take chances.
Nissan Pathfinder ($44,395)
Nothing cheap or flimsy about this interior – even the blinkers sound great. Makes tough sledding for competitors.
Nissan Sentra ($21,370)
Probably more than adequate for folks who want basic transportation, but interior ventures close to dowdiness.
Porsche Boxster S ($101,070)
Sight lines suffer and pricing too high for vehicle lacking active safety features. But, boy, that caramel leather really pops.
Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn ($55,390)
With rustic wood trim, copper-tinted accents and pony-express mail pouches, this rugged truck will find audience beyond ranches.
Scion FR-S ($24,930)
Another affordable sports coupe interior that gets overlooked. If not for the tiny knobs and controls, it may have had a chance.
SRT Viper GTS ($128,490)
Huge improvement but still not terribly comfortable. Foot-well remains cramped. Needs a muffler, or at least one that works.
Subaru Forester ($33,220)
Clean, straightforward interior that walks fine line between luxury and high-volume. HMI even works with gloves on.
Subaru Legacy ($30,677)
Kudos for EyeSight collision avoidance, but overall too much hard plastic. Altima, Fusion, Malibu and Mazda6 are better.
Subaru Outback ($33,607)
Panel gap on A-pillar is in a bad place: right at driver’s eye level. Special Appearance interior package nice, however.
Toyota Avalon ($42,449)
Clean and accessible, with a classic feel and quality materials throughout. Tasteful and restrained, yet highly functional.
Toyota RAV4 ($25,770)
Simple, practical, well-done and sort of minimalist. This is a high-volume, purposeful ute with a premium feel to it.