Top 10: Best Car Interiors for 2009 (15-25k)
The stakes are higher for this bracket of the best car interiors of 2009! There are more vehicles present, and the standards are higher for this sector. Once again, the graded areas include:
- Quality of Interior Materials
- Amount of Soft Touch Surfaces
- Basic Interior Features
- Available Interior Features
- General Flow of Interior
Value relative to interior design & quality was an important factor in the rating system.
#10 - Honda Civic
Starting off this top 10 series is the infamous Honda Civic with its revolutionary interior; the digital dash and bright ambiance invites the driver to experience life behind a civic. Plastics awash the interior, but don't seem cheap. The fabrics are thin, but suffice well under use. Upmarket feel for the price. Civic EX and Si have an even plusher, spicier feel, respectively.
#9 - Toyota Camry
A top 10 isn't complete without the camry, but it didn't place terribly high this year. The Camry's interior is decent enough for 9th place. High grade plastics are common, but don't look cheap. Although, the clear plastic knobs do look cheap and out of place. Fabric on the center armrest is thin and prone to wear. Upgrading to leather is a high recommendation, although finer leather can be found among upholstery specialists. The previous generation's interior was superior to the current.
#8 - Mini Cooper
The interior of this little guy simply packs a punch. It's either for you, or isn't. The quality and workmanship is excellent, and the instrument panels are hard to miss. Mini took a lot of risks with the interior of the Cooper, and seem to have succeeded with high sales. The Cooper is beginning to show it's age though, so look for a redesign coming soon!
#7 - Saturn Astra
The Astra is unique among the GM line, at least in the American and Canadian markets. It is imported from Opel (which belongs to GM) and is built in Belgium.
This certainly shows--the quality is remarkable. The vehicle has plenty of plastic, but doesn't look cheap and isn't thin. Soft touch surfaces can be found in often-felt places. The center console screen resists glare by design. The interior is a bit bland and monotonous, but perks are available to spice it up. It is certainly the finest GM vehicle in the compact family.
#6 - Volkswagen Rabbit / GTI
Soft touch surfaces and plush material are precisely placed in this vehicle. The inside sports a "night life" feel and has plenty of glow. Workmanship lapses were present last year (squeeks and rattles), but Volkswagen seems to have fixed that issue with tighter assembly.
#5 - Mazda 6
Mazda's 6 series feels like a young Honda Accord. Although it isn't as refined, it certainly feels a tad less bland and certainly more personalized. The shiny black plastics look cheap to some eyes, sporty to some. The interior of this vehicle was risky for Mazda, but they seem to have succeeded (at least partially). Not a market leader, but worth taking a look at.
#4 - Hyundai Azera
The only vehicle under $25,000 that is genuinely taking a stab at Lexus and Acura. The interior is plush and inviting, certainly a market leader in this category. Although it isn't a lexus, it looks $10,000 more expensive than it is--which was Hyundai's objective. It isn't quite as refined as a Lexus, but is debatably a better value than some of Lexus' entry level vehicles. Value is the key term with this vehicle, and has succeeded so much that (rumor has it!) Hyundai is considering developing a luxury line in the US and Canadian markets.
#3 - Chevrolet Malibu
The Malibu's interior ranges from spartan to exciting and vibrant. Although awash in hard plastics, GM really wants to show the world that they will invest more dollars into their small and medium-size vehicles. Workmanship is better than most, although it's no Volvo C30. The two-tone color schemes available make the Malibu jazzy and fun. This is the only vehicle in GM's inventory that saw an increase in units sold from last year.
#2 - Honda Accord
The accord is known for its awesome array of quality materials and excellent assembly--and this year is no exception. Plush materials, fine workmanship and convincing faux-woods complete this vehicle. Plastics are existant, but don't look cheap. Sedans and coupes have slightly different decor--a plus. No squeeks or workmanship lapses reported.
#1 - Volvo C30
The only true entry-level luxury vehicle on this top 10 (although Hyundai's Azera is taking a good shot at luxury, it still needs a little more work). Plump leather, well placed padded surfaces, and real metal trim roam the C30. The center console pop-up navigation system is wooing and fancy. Workmanship seems fine, with no squeeks or uneven surfaces found. Beware though: The price can escalate quickly with enough options.