2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors Quick Hits

A summation of all 47 interiors evaluated in the 2016 competition. Many of these comments are taken directly from score sheets submitted by WardsAuto editors. Prices listed are sticker.

May 10, 2016

5 Min Read
Butterscotch and black play well in Toyota RAV4
Butterscotch and black play well in Toyota RAV4.Tom Murphy

Acura RDX ($43,520)

We asked Acura for this last year and need to ask again for one central display screen, not two. It’s twice the distraction.

Audi A4 ($54,275)

Audi is back on its A-game with outstanding interiors. A4 was in the hunt along with Audi Q7 and TTS.

Audi A6 ($55,775)

Layered walnut wood decorative inlays still lovely, but without Virtual Cockpit the A6 lagged behind others.

Audi Q7 ($72,875)

Good visibility, easy management of systems; everything in rightful place; finger-writing scratchpad pretty cool.

Audi S7 ($95,525)

Features excellent materials, but even at this price point the S7 can’t compete with newer Audi interiors.

Audi TTS ($58,500) WINNER

Checks all our boxes for functionality, connectivity, fit-and-finish, style and comfort. This is the interior of tomorrow.

BMW 340i ($58,420)

Bluetooth pairing is fast and user-friendly; no trouble linking to Pandora; can read text messages to driver.

BMW 650i ($91,500)

Interesting and adventurous butterscotch leather, but lack of driver-assistance features knocks it from contention.

BMW 750i ($129,245) WINNER

All first-rate, from rich leather and touch-sensitive controls to second-row executive lounge seating and innovative gesture controls.

Buick Cascada ($37,385)

Not a bad second row for 2-door convertible, but human-machine interface is outdated relative to newer GM models.

Expensive, yes, until factoring in cost of two great massages daily, for four occupants; voice activation works great.

Cadillac XT5 ($63,845) WINNER

Understated wood inlays, combined with microsuede and Maple Sugar leather, make for a sweet combination.

Chevrolet, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai

Chevrolet Camaro ($46,095) WINNER

What’s black and white, and red all over? This high-contrast Camaro interior, with crimson ambient lighting. Stunning.

Chevrolet Malibu ($34,285)

Difficult to like a black interior with oddly complex lines, but 2-tone gray color scheme is slightly better.

Chevrolet Volt ($39,850)

Boldly black-and-tan, like a good beer, but manual seat adjustments seem out of place in Premium trim package.

Chrysler Pacifica ($48,455) WINNER

Gorgeous colors, wonderfully trimmed, loaded with safety electronics, active noise control. It doesn’t suck, but Stow ’n Vac does.

Fiat 500X ($31,800)

Well-executed finishes and textures, but navigation screen is tiny and hard to manage, with slow touch-response time.

Ford Focus ($28,045)

Third-generation Sync connectivity represents massive improvement; but rest of interior mostly carries over.

Honda Accord ($35,400)

Competitive interior that needs to push more boundaries; we’re warming to right-side blindspot camera.

Honda Civic ($27,335) WINNER

Excellent seats, great design, with hints of performance and luxury; Civic has really grown up.

Honda HR-V ($26,720)

Cramped second row and cheap dark plastic in center console; certainly not a materials showcase.

Excellent access to third row, and adults fit OK back there; good interior that meets most buyer needs.

Hyundai Elantra ($27,710)

Great ADAS and electronics but overall can’t hold a candle to Civic interior. Why are Hyundai interiors going downhill?

Hyundai Tucson ($31,110)

Not inventive or particularly stylish. This could be any CUV from any automaker – not much of a brand statement.

Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Mitsubishi

Kia Optima ($36,615)

Lots of backseat head and leg room, except for adults in middle seat; diamond-quilt leather makes up for it.

Lexus ES ($39,853)

Lacks blindspot detection, which should be standard in luxury cars. Aesthetically dull, even with black and cream color combo.

Lexus LX ($96,905)

Fetching burgundy leather with white stitching; Second-row footwell and third-row seats are oddly cramped for such a big vehicle.

Lexus RX ($52,968) WINNER

This black-and-white cabin works well and other wood-and-color offerings are even better; it raises bar for Lexus interiors.

Lincoln MKX ($67,020)

Revel Ultima audio system rocks, as do dual storage bins under center stack, but adaptive cruise control quits at low speed.

Bold colors can’t compensate for several fit-and-finish problems; flimsy armrest blocks center cupholders and access to controller.

Mazda MX-5 Miata ($33,120)

Red stitching and door trim are sharp accents; people buy Miata for driving, don’t need a dazzling interior.

Mercedes GLC ($54,360) WINNER

Competitively price but heated steering wheel would be nice; slick animation when cycling through digital owner’s manual.

Mercedes AMG GLE63 S ($123,835)

Tremendous balance between comfort and sportiness, but it feels dated without Mercedes’ new multimedia interface.

Mini Cooper S Clubman ($39,550)

Chesterfield Indigo leather is stunning, especially with diamond quilting and burgundy piping; seats heat up quickly.

Mitsubishi Outlander ($33,095)

Clever fold-flat second row, but this CUV isn’t big enough for seven; third-row head restraints dangerously close to rear glass.

Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Scion, Toyota, VW, Volvo

Nissan Altima ($32,595)

Staff divided on whether creamy decorative plastic trim is handsome or cheap; front edge of headliner is frayed.

Nissan Maxima ($38,750) WINNER

Wonderful attention to detail, innovative thinking, bold colors and knurled metallic trim truly stand out.

Nissan Titan XD ($63,270)

Extra points for nicely finished seatbacks and remote light check for trailering, but faux woodgrain film is disappointing.

Porsche Macan S ($73,320)

Artistic use of carbon-fiber trim on IP and doors, but Porsche’s next-generation interior needs fewer buttons.

Ram Rebel ($53,275)

Cabin for buyer who considers himself a rebel; tire-tread textured seat fabric enhances off-road image; hot red accents very cool.

Scion iA ($16,470)

Sophisticated interface makes this a well-connected car; Toyota does good job dressing up a budget-minded compact.

Scion iM ($20,334)

Good-looking interior at great-looking price; would have been in contention if Scion brand weren’t on death row.

Toyota Prius Four ($33,125)

Risky play sandwiching porcelain-white center console between black fabric seats; please pass the Oreos.

Toyota RAV4 ($35,245)

Roomy second row and cavernous cargo hold; butterscotch and black a fine combo; seat comfort on par with Lexus RX.

Toyota Tacoma ($36,630)

Poor fit-and-finish and cheap plastic manual gear shifter looks ancient; orange trim on IP is cool but out of place.

Spacious, well-executed interior for five in this German car, built in America; high-quality materials throughout.

Volvo XC90 Hybrid ($84,005) WINNER

Top-notch materials: leather, aluminum, crystal, even high-grade plastics; same interior available in less-expensive non-hybrid.

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