Top 10: Best Car Interiors for 2010 (Under 15k)

Introduction

Welcome to the Top 10: Best Car Interiors for the Under 15k class! The number of vehicles present in this class is dwindling as the inflated price of vehicles rises exponentially. Less vehicles are competing for the title this year, and less-known brands are beginning to find success in this tough class.

No real new changes for this year's Top 10: Best Car Interiors, except some vehicles (Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Dodge Caliber, etc.) have entered the 15-25k bracket to compete. MSRP & invoice prices have been added this year for reference (current 02/10). All prices are USD. 11th place (did not qualify) has been included for 2010. Value relative to interior design & quality was an important factor in the rating system.

Photo courtesy www.cargurus.com
Photo courtesy www.cargurus.com

#11 (Did Not Qualify) - Chevy Aveo

The Chevy Aveo is dying for a facelift, and it looks like Aveo will be getting it in 2011. The interior of the current Aveo is utilitarian, covered in thin plastic and is very drab. All instruments are clearly marked though. No padded areas found. Synethic fabric is thin and holds in odors. Lack of standard interior amenities and high option prices keep the 2010 Aveo from qualifying this year.

2010 MSRP: $11,965 - $14,100

2010 Invoice: $11,427 - $13,466

#10 - Toyota Yaris

Toyota's least expensive car brings little changes for 2010; the interior is thus made of the same materials, and little change is seen over last year. Inexpensive materials used, Toyota can do better. The interior is plain, but functional. The console & dash is not as long anymore and is more centered. There are more clean lines now and Yaris feels more grown up. (all of these face-lift changes happened for the 2009 model year, but it is worth bringing up). Yaris' interior is on par with most vehicles in the Under 15k class.

2010 MSRP: $12,355 - $13,915

2010 Invoice: $11,737 - $13,219

Photo courtesy auto.consumerguide.com
Photo courtesy auto.consumerguide.com

#9 - Nissan Versa

The Versa remains largely unchanged this year, and thus the tough synthetic cloth and delicate plastic paneling remain. Gadgets are clearly marked and make sense. All panels lined up well. Overall inexpensive materials, but were probably the same quality as competitors. Overall a pleasant, yet drab interior.

2010 MSRP: $9,900 - $16,530

2010 Invoice: $9,759 - $15,942

Photo courtesy www.japanesesportscars.com
Photo courtesy www.japanesesportscars.com

#8 - Honda Fit

Although plastics roam this roomy interior, it is quite comfortable--especially for the price range. Although you may be better off spending a few hundred more bucks on a civic, the interior feels large and decent. Plastic paneling lined up well. Jazzy blue dashboard & console; easy to understand navigation system. Fun interior, but the civic is worth the extra yard.

2010 MSRP: $14,900 - $19,110

2010 Invoice: $14,380 - $18,421

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com
Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

#7 - Mitsubishi Lancer

Although the metallic trim is a nice try--it's not charming knowing it's faux. Red hues command presence and easily attract driver. Feels sporty, nice curves in the panels. Panels lined up well enough. Plastic knobs on console and driver's door felt wobbly and clumsy, maybe by design. Overall a decent interior, but still workmanship & material issues that need to be worked out.

2010 MSRP: $14,790 - $40,990

2010 Invoice: $14,090 - $38,633

Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com
Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com

#6 - Chevy Cobalt

Cobalt's interior will not change for it's final year, as Chevy awaits the production of the 2011 Cruze. Cobalt's interior looked more classy when SS Supercharged models came with all-leather interior, rather than the cloth/synthetic leather mix. All panels lined up correctly. Cobalt was a big step up from the Cavalier, and it will be missed--the Cobalt finishes in sixth place for its final year.

2010 MSRP: $14,990 - $24,535

2010 Invoice: $14,315 - $23,431

Photo courtesy www.chevroletcobalt.net
Photo courtesy www.chevroletcobalt.net

#5 - Kia Soul

Although some colors schemes of Kia's new Soul are outright annoying--Soul is still a winner. Materials are price appropriate at this level, although some panels seemed thin. Standard A/C, power windows and power locks is a big plus. Some color schemes give the impression that the colored areas are padded--not true, but clever. Competitive pricing for interior amenities included.

2010 MSRP: $13,300 - $17,900

2010 Invoice: $12,755 - $16,775

Photo courtesy www.trucktrend.com
Photo courtesy www.trucktrend.com

#4 - Scion xD

Although xD's interior is still a little daffy, it's not as risky looking as the Scion xA, xB or Toyota's FJ cruiser. xD's fabric seems strong but very synthetic--OK at this price level. Well-mannered interior with no big offenses. Small vibration felt from glove compartment when car was turned on. Interior amenities and available interior options bumps xD in to fourth place.

2010 MSRP: $14,900 - $15,700

2010 Invoice: $14,155 - $14,915

Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com
Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com

#3 - Nissan Cube

Craft interior, feels larger than it is. No chance to drive vehicle. Handles felt frail when opening door from the inside (Chevy's HHR has a similar problem). Interior (dash & console) more fun, jazzy and seems higher in quality than Nissan's Xterra (when is $6,000 more). Decent materials, but nothing special. 2009 year model tested, no opportunity to test 2010 yet (will update when I do). No big changes have been announced for the 2010 model year.

2010 MSRP: $13,990 - $20,120

2010 Invoice: $13,500 - $19,266

Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com
Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com

#2 - Kia Forte

Kia makes a knock out punch in the American market with the new Forte. It's interior is composed, fairly refined, and a big improvement over the aged Spectra. New red-light interior theme is appealing but may not be for everyone. Optional leather is a new feature at this price range, but is obviously synthetic and a tad thin. No power windows on base model. Awesome value for interior though.

2010 MSRP:  $13,695 - $18,695

2010 Invoice:  $13,430 - $17,810

Photo courtesy www.automobilemag.com
Photo courtesy www.automobilemag.com

#1 - Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai has come a long ways in designed compact vehicles. The redesigned Elantra has been their bread-and-butter and has helped bring life back in to the company. Although the Elantra is not perfect, it certain is a pleasant vehicle to be present in. The cool blue of the dashboard & console lighting is oddly soothing, and the materials seem a step above par. Elantra's interior may be a little safe in terms of styling; but it lands a bullseye for #1 in the Under 15k class. Well done Hyundai!

2010 MSRP: $14,145 - $19,795

2010 Invoice: $13,758 - $18,957

Photo courtesy www.cargurus.com & www.hyundaiusa.com
Photo courtesy www.cargurus.com & www.hyundaiusa.com

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Comments 2 comments

advoco profile image

advoco 7 years ago from cadiz

I've got a Yaris and it's the most reliable car I've ever had and a solid auto. Seem to be a lot cheaper in the States!


Direxmd profile image

Direxmd 7 years ago from Sonoma County, California Author

Advoco,

I agree, and I think the Yaris is a decent replacement to the old Toyota Echo. Sales figures are much higher for the Yaris than they ever were for the Echo, even in slow times. The one complaint I have about the Yaris is that its price is a little to close to Toyota's Corolla... and if you want any options with the Yaris, it may just be a better value to go with Corolla in the states.

Thanks for your comment,

-Mike

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