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10 Best Car Interiors Announced

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On: Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 5:50PM | By: Chris Weiss

10 Best Car Interiors Announced

Flashy red exteriors may get more face time on magazine covers and auto show floors, but the interior is the more important part of the car. The car is designed to drive, and the interior is where that gets done. You're certain to spend more time sitting in the cockpit, fiddling with the controls, and commuting to and fro than you will staring at the perfectly buffed and waxed exterior sitting in your driveway. 

WardsAuto recently announced its list of top 10 auto interiors among models that are all new or have a thoroughly redesigned interior. While the Japanese steal the show, and luxury automakers have a predictably large presence, there are some surprises on the list, including the inclusion of one of the cheapest subcompacts on the market. 

"It wasn't uncommon all that long ago for auto makers to view interiors as the best place to take cost out of a vehicle," says WardsAuto World editor-in-chief Drew Winter. "They eventually figured out that's a big mistake, because people spend a lot more time looking at the inside of their car than the outside."

On a list dominated by larger, $30,000+ vehicles, the Chevy Spark subcompact stands out like a pulsating thumb. Eight out of 10 choices on the list price in above $30,000—some close to $70,000—but the Spark barely breaks half that figure. Wards likes the fun, functional interior, citing the vibrant "Jalapeno Green" trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, storage cubbies, heated front seats, six-speaker audio system, and Chevy MyLink among its strong points.

The Spark's inclusion on this list points to a greater trend within the industry. While high-tech, fully equipped interiors were once reserved for high-priced mainstream and premium vehicles, technology has created a democratization of interiors. Companies like Ford and GM launch their latest infotainment hardware not necessarily on flagship-level models, but on entry models aimed at the young buyers who are most comfortable and familiar with technology like smartphones and computers.

The Spark was an exception to the rule on this particular list, and the Kia Forte was the only other car priced in under $30K. Wards says that the Forte is an example of the progress that compact car interiors have made over time. It likes the clean controls and carbon fiber-like trim, going so far as to say that many of the entry level car's materials would be at home in a luxury model.

On the other end of the spectrum, the $68,139 Lexus GS 450h is Wards' pick for "most visually stunning" interior, thanks to its black leather, satin metallic accents, and bamboo trim. The $64,695 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan gets a spot with its CUE infotainment system, Jet Black with Light Wheat color scheme, and ambient lighting.

The crossover-ized Nissan Pathfinder($44,395) and all-new Mazda6 ($31,490, pictured above) also make the list. The Pathfinder gets the nod for its newly found comfort and equipment like berber carpet floor mats and dual panorama sunroof. The colorful contrasts of the Mazda6 help set it apart, and its infotainment, flowing lines, and overall craftmanship put it over the top.

The remaining choices are the Acura RDX crossover ($40,315), the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport ($35,925), the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn ($55,390) and the Toyota Avalon ($42,449). Take a closer look at the reasoning behind Ward's choices by hitting the link below. Wards will release more extensive information about the winners on April 29, both on its website and in the May issue of WardsAuto World.

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