Top 10: Best Car Interiors for 2010 (25-35k)
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.
#11 (Did Not Qualify) - Volvo S40 & V50
A nice interior, based on the same platform as the Volvo C30. The Volvo S40 & V50 are nice vehicles, but other cars outclass them in this class. V70 seems to hold up better in this category. Thin leather. Well put together interior--very similar to the C30. S40 & V50's interior does not hold water when compared to their price, though.
2010 MSRP (S40): $26,200 - $31,350
2010 Invoice (S40): $24,628 - $29,469
2010 MSRP (V50): $28,700 - $33,050
2010 Invoice (V50): $26,978 - $31,067
#10 - Ford Taurus
The ambiance is the Ford Taurus is striking, unlike any other Taurus we have ever seen. "Ready Steady Go" by Paul Oakenfold comes to mind when thinking of the Taurus. Ford has done an excellent job lifting the standards of a large, non-luxury car. Although plastics are common, finer surfaces are available. The current interior design appeals to younger (or at least younger feeling) crowds with looser lines and relatively flamboyant expression of features. The SELL, Limited and SHO provide the most interesting features and ambiance, in respective order.
2010 MSRP: $25,170 - $37,170
2010 Invoice: $23,243 - $34,043
#9 - Buick LaCrosse
The truly beautiful interior that shows great signs of improvement from GM's entry-level luxury brand, Buick. Leather on seats and siding felt plush and generous, all controls worked properly. No signs of squeaks or rattles. Plastic on dashboard felt thin for class. Flashy interior for entry-level luxury. OnStar is always a plus. These comments are for CXL & CXS. CX's cloth interior is inappropriate at this level, but a common appointment for Buick's entry level models.
2010 MSRP: $27,085 - $33,015
2010 Invoice: $25,866 - $31,529
#8 - Lincoln MKZ
Leather felt thin in previous generation, but Bridge of Weir leather from Scotland ads a fancy touch to MKZ seating. Mid-size entry-level luxury vehicle with agreeable interior design. The MKZ gets the Best Improvement From Previous Face-Lift award for this year. Cheap knobs and plastic parts stand out though. Sharp lines give MKZ an interior edge. High build quality typical of Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico plant. Navigation being optional is a negative attribute, but without this option keeps the price a bargain. Takes bumps softly. Good sound quality from speakers. Good noise insulation. Competitive pricing keeps the MKZ a steal for 2010.
2010 MSRP: $34,115 - $36,005
2010 Invoice: $31,418 - $33,119
#7 - Lexus HS
"The Luxury Prius" is on sale and provides the same quirky feeling as the prius plus a topping of select surfaces and features. Still has the same plastic-roaming feeling as the Prius, but to a lesser extent. Fun and interesting knobs & features provide an entertaining cabin. Somewhat bland compared to similarly priced Lexus vehicles. Easy to use navigation, excellent sound insulation. Wood surfaces are promising, although the dashboard padding is somewhat weak for this class.
2010 MSRP: $34,200 - $36,970
2010 Invoice: $31,122 - $33,642
#6 - Audi A3
Similar design to last year, interior left largely unchanged. Interior is conservative yet is not a wallflower among car interiors. High quality interior with luxury appointments. A3's sporty physique does not take away from its luxurious character. The somewhat drab interior coloring and boring lines may keep the customer looking elsewhere.
2010 MSRP: $27,270 - $30,850
2010 Invoice: $25,361 - $28,690
#5 - Audi A4
Another Audi that has seen little change compared to last year. Similar qualities to the A3, different, more striking lighting is used in this vehicle. Relative drabness keeps lackluster value high for a luxury vehicle such as the A4.
2010 MSRP: $31,450 - $47,300
2010 Invoice: $29,249 - $43,989
#4 - Acura TSX
Although Honda has cut corners on the new era of TSX, luxury and mildly-sporty flavor still exists on the vehicle. Navigation is easy to use. All controls were found with east. Plush surfaces (although not as plush as they used to be) roam the cabin, and relatively expressive styling lift the TSX to the middle of the pack.
2010 MSRP: $29,310 - $37,950
2010 Invoice: $26,959 - $34,882
#3 - Lexus IS
The IS returns with an interior face-lift and stands with a less-sporty (but more luxurious!) posture. Straighter lines and controls that are more visible is an improvement. Plush dashboard & door padding along with well-breathing leather seating keep this vehicle fresh in the comfort category. Takes bumps well. Build quality is improving, although door clanking and interior vibrations have been reported. Try before you buy.
2010 MSRP: $31,845 - $57,760
2010 Invoice: $28,659 - $51,982
#2 - Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Thick, generous padding is no problem for this best-in-class vehicle. Cheap, plastic knobs are disappointing but nearly negated by a plentiful, chic interior. Full grain wood is a plus, along with flavorful interior color matching. A little on the pricey side for this class, but well worth it for the amenities and unique electronic features. Only base model graded for this class.
2010 MSRP: $33,600 - $57,350
2010 Invoice: $31,248 - $53,336
#1 - Volvo V70
The Volvo V70 stands out as the most behaved interior in its class. Some may say the V70's interior is a little on the mild side, but that is a difference of opinion. Bright, fluid controls and features keep the V70 stunning, although I would call the V70's interior refining rather than stunning per se. Padding feels adequate and the leather is plush. Shades of techno-blue lighting and convincing wood trim give the V70 an edge (although its wood trim is not as convincing as Mercedes). Altogether the vehicle is well assembled, no interior noises complaints, and the interior is fun and well behaved. Although a tad pricey, it could be worth your dollar.
2010 MSRP: $33,550 - $38,000
2010 Invoice: $31,537 - $35,720