The editors of American magazine WardsAuto have been determining the top ten best engines in automotive production for the past twenty years. A little less known about them is that they have also been choosing the ten best interiors too. Based on factors such as quality of materials, ergonomics, comfort, safety, value, fit & finish and overall design, Wards has been compiling this list for three years now. Points were also awarded for the user-friendliness of a car's machine-human interface, as well as the ability to integrate mobile phones and access information. This year the magazine evaluated 46 vehicles with all new or significantly upgraded interiors.
In the past, a car's interior was often considered to be an easy mark for auto manufacturers looking to trim manufacturing costs. More recently though, automakers are beginning to understand that drivers spend much more time looking at their car's interior, than the outside.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of luxury cars in the list, but three non-prestige models are in the mix too. The Chevrolet Spark, a small city car with a starting price of $15,795 in the states, is a fun and functional car. Developed in South Korea, the Spark will likely be a first car for many young car buyers, and one that they will remember fondly for a long time. It's fun Jalapeno Green colour scheme is inside and out. The Spark is remarkably well equipped with a leather wrapped steering wheel, ample storage, heated front seats, multiple airbags, a good sound system with six speakers, a USB port and the Chevrolet MyLink hands-free smartphone system.
The new Kia Forte ($15,900 in the states) is the least expensive car in it's class. However, it offers more luxury features than most of it's competitors, from a great communication system to door trim that resembles the layered gills of a shark and carbon fibre-like trim. Many of the materials used in the Forte are of such excellent quality that they could be used in more luxurious vehicles.
As for the Mazda6, it is the colour scheme that makes it so striking. Black dominates, but the seats and door trim are almond coloured with horizontal strips of dark burgundy plastic setting off the instrument panel. All of these colours, while very different, fit together perfectly in the Mazda6, especially with the contrasting stitching. The Mazda6 isn't just about looks though- a great infotainment system and attention to detail really set this car apart.
In addition to these three Asian manufactured cars (Remember, the Spark is only in Korea), five others made the list: the Acura RDX, Hyundai's Santa Fe Sport, the Lexus GS450H, the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota Avalon. Domestics weren't completely shut out- the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn and the Cadillac XTS rounded out the top ten.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca
Original text by Christian Gagnon - (Le 10 meilleurs intérieurs selon le magazine Ward's)