Throwing massive amounts of power under the hood of a car or slapping some sensational styling on its exterior will almost always warrant some interesting looks from pedestrians and drivers alike around town. But it is the cabin of a car where the commuter and enthusiast alike must make themselves at home, and this key component has the ability to make a daily commute a serene experience, or a spirited weekend drive a full-throttle, fun-filled adventure.
So in order to highlight a few of the market’s top competitors, we rounded up nine cars that we think are a cut above the rest in terms of interiors, and arranged them in three price tiers to keep everything in perspective. Some are simple and suave, while others are futuristic and fun. But rest assured in knowing that all of them have a place on this list and set the bar for all those who follow.
Sporting a quiet interior that is both stylish and simplistic, an updated infotainment system, and a price tag that is a mere fraction of its nearest competitor, Acura’s entry level offering is an obvious winner when it comes to styling. With its suede stitching, 8-way driver seat adjust-ability, double-den touchscreen navigation, and clean styling cues, the ILX is an obvious winner for anyone wanting a luxury vehicle without breaking the bank.
The Technology Plus Package brings even more to the mix with a 10 speaker ELS premium surround audio system and a clever cooling system featuring a solar sensor that Acura claims “measures the sun’s intensity to determine its impact on interior temperature.” A nice “his and hers” feature we found in this car was that when walking up to the ILX it automatically detects which key is approaching and pre-sets the cabin to one’s preferred climate-control settings.
This is another excellent option for anyone looking for an amazing interior for little money up front. This version of the 3 has seen a lot of upgrades over previous models, and it subsequently has received a lot of positive press in turn, including a 5-star review by Car and Driver. Opt for the Grand Touring trim level, and expect amenities like heated leather seats, keyless entry and starting, a heads-up display, rear-view camera, a nine-speaker Bose surround sound system, and a very clever infotainment screen that can be controlled via a very “European looking” knob or a 7-inch touch screen. Throw that together with a large sunroof and a surprisingly spacious cabin, and we have a solid contender in the interior department.
The redesigned Mustang interior has garnered a lot of attention, and it is pretty obvious as to why. Boasting some nice retro styling cues, a smaller dash, and higher quality materials used on key components, the 2016 Mustang has galloped in the right direction. While its backseat designed for two most certainly cannot be considered “roomy,” the Mustang more than makes up for this by giving the driver more knee room thanks to a smaller steering wheel and lowered seat rails, and a number of snazzy interior amenities.
Standard features include a rear-view camera, proximity keys, Bluetooth compatibility, two USB ports, and Ford’s voice-controlled SYNC system. Opt for features like rear parking sensors, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, Ford’s infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, a 12-speaker Shaker audio system guaranteed to make the car jam out, a forward collision warning system, and some two-tone leather bucket seats and we suddenly have one sharp looking pony to prance around town in.
The Ford Flex has a lot to offer when it comes to interior styling. While its interior can be a little on the simplistic side at times, the Flex does have some very nice options and has excellent seating room for being a smaller SUV. The Flex’s multi-panel Vista Roof is a hard option to ignore with its skylights covering all three rows of seats and a power moonroof shielding the first row. Outside of the usual navigation system, back-up camera etc., night driving and cabin visibility is enhanced courtesy of seven colors of available ambient lighting, which come standard in Ford’s Limited package. Other standard features include a power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, and miles of leather upholstery, while options like heated and ventilated front seats and a heated captain’s chairs are available for an additional fee.
Favorable reviews claim that the Flex’s forward rows are quite spacious and that the third row will fit most adults quite comfortably due to having an extremely rare third row feature called “ample head room.” An “Appearance Package” is also available on SEL and Limited versions of the SUV, and according to Ford, opting for this upgrade gives drivers some “leather-trimmed seats with gray perforated-leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with Meteorite Black inserts, unique instrument panel and door-trim appliqués, plus floor mats with [a] unique logo.”
We now move from one roomy grocery-getter to another, and while the Flex is family-friendly and very practical, the XC90 is just… stunning. Volvo wasn’t lying when it said this car was “[b]uilt from the inside out.” With a minimalistic European approach that is coupled with soft interior angles, plush leather seating, birch wood inlays, a four-zone climate system, and vertically mounted navigation screen, the XC90’s interior is piece of art in every way imaginable.
For instance, the gear lever is made of crystal glass and commonly used elements like the automatic start button and the volume control are diamond cut for precision and styling. Volvo also uses its streamlined “Sensus” navigation system, which eliminates a lot of erroneous buttons. Information is delivered via a driver display, a heads-up display or the center display, and upgrading to a “Vision Package” will guarantee gadgets like the intuitive blind spot information system, a 360° surround view camera, automatic dimming inner and exterior mirrors, and a set of fully retractable rear-view mirrors. This car is even available with official Volvo booster seats and a dog cage!
Our final mid-range interior marvel comes courtesy of BMW’s unapologetically futuristic electric offering, the i3. With its tiered dashboard that seems to stretch to infinity, standard equipped navigation, cloth, wool, or leather upholstery options, split folding rear seats, heated front seats, Harman/Kardon sound system, and a sprinkling of carbon interior and environmentally friendly trim pieces, this car looks like a concept car from the ground up. Not having an engine keeps cabin noise to a minimum, and Edmunds praised the i3 for its “excellent visibility” due primarily to the car’s large windows and raised driver’s seat, and it went on to say that the car had a very “well-made and stylish interior” that sported a surprisingly “versatile cargo area for an EV.”
Quick and clean, the new Stingray is a beauty to behold when it comes to both exterior and interior styling. With its fighter jet cockpit, large luggage space, and easy to use infotainment system, the Stingray has been a pleasant surprise for critics and drivers alike. Up-gradable options like dual 8-inch touch-screen navigation displays, a colorful heads-up display, a “Performance Data Recorder,” and an amazing 10 speaker Bose audio system keep the driver both in tune and amped up at the same time. As with most vehicles, a dizzying array of upgrades are available on the new ‘Vette, with many of the car’s key interior components sporting materials like genuine Napa leather, micro-suede, aluminum, and real carbon fiber. Further options include climate-controlled power front seats or sporty bucket seats with added bolstering for spirited weekend drives, navigation,
But perhaps the biggest surprise of all to us was the amount of standard features found on the base model. Basics on this car include a booming nine-speaker Bose audio system, push-button start/stop,streaming satellite radio, a rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar with 4G LTE , integrated Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity, and Chevrolet’s “MyLink” infotainment system.
Any sedan the size of Audi’s A7 that costs over $50,000 is bound to have things like great legroom, a spacious trunk, and leather trimmed everything. So to set themselves apart from everyone else, Audi opted to do things a little bit differently by going the extra mile, and making most options standard on this particular sedan. Useful standard options include a quad-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, HD Radio, satellite radio, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, blind spot monitoring, and a 10-speaker audio system. According to a report by U.S. News, one major standard perk to this car is its “MMI navigation system with Audi Connect, which uses a cellular data connection to provide a wireless hot spot and update navigation routes with data provided by Google Maps.”
Audi says it offers a lot of extra add-ons for the A7, including audio system upgrades, surround-view parking cameras, night vision with pedestrian detection, a heads-up display, forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane keep assist. But we tend to forget all that when greeted by the A7’s copious amounts of wood grain and plush leather stitching.
Tesla Model S
Our final high-grade interior masterpiece is straight out of a sci-fi flick, and rightfully so, because there is no denying that the Tesla S has one hell of a futuristic feel to its interior. This car has quite a unique interior. With interior pieces made from hand-polished zinc, locally sourced raw materials, and premium Napa leather to keep the luxurious side of the car intact and ahead of the competition, it is the technological aspect that draws one in. It all starts with the impossible to ignore 17-inch touch-screen command center. With its slight driver-side angle and crystal clear picture quality, this element of the interior controls everything from the radio and panoramic sunroof, to the car’s climate control system and energy consumption levels.
Available in two-tone leather packages with extra soft rear seats, the Tesla S is also available with heated rear seats, WiFi, HD back-up camera, and increased storage capacity thanks to having a trunk in the front of the car where the electric vehicle has eliminated the petrol-powered engine.
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