Unique Trim, Stunning Screens, Improving Tech Highlight 2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX Winners

10 Best Interiors & UX winners for the first time are all light trucks, with a mix of small, medium and large CUVs and SUVs and one fullsize pickup.

Wards Staff

April 25, 2024

4 Min Read
lincolnnautilus screens
Lincoln Nautilus wide upper and central display screens wowed our judges.

The winners of the 2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors and UX competition encompass several trends, including distinctive decorative trim, big display screens with increasingly high resolution and clarity and the improvement of the user experience as it relates to in-vehicle technology.

“Designers are unleashing their creativity in cabins with ever more unique trim, either with films or — in the case of the winning Chevy Blazer EV — perforated hard plastic, and with glossy or metallic trim that deviates from standard colors and finishes,” says Wards 10 Best Judge Christie Schweinsberg. “At the same time as they are raising their aesthetics game, automakers also are going big on interior technology, literally, with larger display screens and advanced user interfaces boasting stunning graphics. In-vehicle displays are nearing, or in some cases, already at, the quality of those in our living rooms.”

This year, Wards 10 Best Interiors and UX judges also experienced better UX thanks to phone pairing, largely wireless, that is easier than ever, and onboard voice assistants which are more accurate and responsive than ever.

Other attributes elevating the chosen vehicles to the top in 2024 include comfortable seating and soft surfaces, spacious passenger and cargo room, and colorful elements — both those that come from materials, such as the red seating in the Blazer EV (pictured below) and Lincoln Nautilus, and via technology such as on-screen graphics and ambient lighting, including the unique backlit trim on the dash in the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.

 Many of our winners also have plentiful passenger-pleasing USB ports and outlets. Three of our winners are 3-row utility vehicles: the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Kia EV9 and the Toyota Grand Highlander, and all have ports in the third row on each side, a rarity in past years. The Nautilus, despite being a 2-row crossover, even has an AC outlet for backseat passengers, a feature that largely has been the domain of big SUVs and pickups.

For the first time, all 10 Best Interiors & UX winners are light trucks. Among them are nine utility vehicles and one pickup, the Ram 1500 Tungsten. Given our nominees list, that’s unsurprising: only one of our candidates was a car, reflecting the growing dominance of light trucks in the U.S. Wards Intelligence data shows light trucks made up a record 80% of total new light-vehicle sales in the U.S. last year, up from a 72% share in 2019 and 61% in 2016.

The 2024 winners list also includes the Buick Envista Avenir, Hyundai Kona and Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. The Envista and the Kona cabins are notable for having high style at price points below $35,000, while the GLC is another fantastic interior and UX experience from Mercedes, an industry leader in both sectors.


A change from last year’s interiors and UX winners’ list is the presence of fewer electrified vehicles. This can be attributed to fewer new or refreshed electrified model launches than in previous years, with many new nameplates not due until the 2026 model year or beyond. Only four battery-electric vehicles were tested this year (with two of them winning, the Blazer and EV9). The ratio was the same for hybrid vehicles, with the Lincoln Nautilus and Toyota Grand Highlander the two winners among four hybrids tested.

Among automakers repeating as winners from last year are General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Stellantis, with the list of brands doubling up in 2023 and 2024 including Hyundai and Kia. Kia has fielded a winning 10 Best Interiors and UX vehicle for the past three years: the EV9 in 2024, the Sportage Hybrid in 2023 and the EV6 in 2022. And this year, Hyundai notches a first for our competition in being a brand placing not one but two models on our list: the Kona and the Santa Fe.

Evaluations of nominated vehicles took place in winter and early spring 2024, with judges experiencing the nominees during their daily driving. Judges rate new or heavily refreshed vehicle interiors and user-experience technology on a variety of metrics including design aesthetics, comfort, materials, fit-and-finish, connectivity and infotainment, and displays and controls, as well as advanced driver-assistance system content and value.

We will highlight each winner in stories and galleries that begin posting on May 22 on wardsauto.com.

The 2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors and UX trophies will be presented at an award ceremony on June 6 during the AutoTech: Detroit conference, which runs June 4-6 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI.


2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors and UX nominee list (*denotes winner):

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

BMW X6 M Competition

Buick Envista Avenir*

Cadillac XT4

Chevrolet Blazer EV*

Dodge Hornet

Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Genesis Electrified GV70

Hyundai Kona*

Hyundai Santa Fe*

Kia EV9*

Land Rover Evoque

Lexus TX

Lincoln Nautilus*

Mazda CX-90

Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300*

Nissan Rogue

Ram 1500 Tungsten*

Subaru Crosstrek Sport

Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid*

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport*

Volkswagen ID.4



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