From Honda to Ferrari, we love a great interior.
The interior of a car is incredibly important. It's nice to have an exceptional looking car from the outside, but you spend way more time inside a vehicle. Interiors have been an area of the automotive industry that's improved dramatically over the past decade, and not just at the high end of the market. Some automakers have figured out that just because you're not spending half a house on a car doesn't mean you should be riding in a sea of black plastic. For that reason, we're not breaking this list down by pricing. Instead, we're aiming here for a representation of the cars we think are special on the inside, no matter what you pay.
We described the interior of the Volvo V90 as "distinct and ethereal" in our review of the car this year. The word 'minimalist' gets thrown around too much, but it's not something that can be applied to the V90's interior anyway. It's not a minimal amount of everything; it's the correct amount of everything. From the blend of finished wood, metal, and soft materials to the amount of space offered to the driver and passengers, the V90 is full of character and style. Volvo has also created a fantastic sense of airiness in the wagon, which is helped even more by the optional panoramic sunroof.
Lincoln has suffered from an identity problem for some time, but the premium brand is finally finding its feet again now. The fact that Lincoln commissioned the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to record the reminder chimes would be enough to land the Aviator on this list alone. However, the Aviator's seats are also something special. They're designed by a company called Herman Miller, the creators of American Modernism and, more importantly, for those of us that work in offices, the Aeron Chair. The result of the Lincoln Aviator's interior design and materials is a sanctuary with incredibly comfortable seats.
Mazda has been doing a fantastic job recently with its interiors to the point of embarrassing more premium brands in design and feel. The MX-5 continues to show that you don't need a ton of bells and whistles to do the inside of a car right. Simplicity, comfort, and ergonomics are the keywords here. The MX-5 is the one car a writer should be able to use the "controls fall readily to hand" cliche in a review without being shot by their editor or lynched by a reader.
The S-Class still sets the executive car bar, and you get precisely what you pay for. Year in and year out, Mercedes provides a contemporary and overtly luxurious interior that somehow always manages to refrain from becoming ostentatious. An S-Class is lovely to drive, but it's a car you should be driven around the city in. That way, you can enjoy everything from the luxurious materials and comfortable and infinitely adjustable rear seats, to the comprehensive infotainment system and piped in fragrances.
The S-Class is wonderful, but when you to be ostentatious, our 2019 pick is the Bentley Continental GT. Rolls Royce is keeping things up to its usual standards, but we want to drive our own damn car. Well, when we're not swanning around the city in an S-Class anyway. There are around 2 miles of thread holding the interior's copious slathering of leather together, and where there's not leather, there's high-quality wood or metal trim breaking things up. In an exacting fashion, of course, sir and madam.
If you don't want to pay top dollar for something full of luxury and style, the Genesis G90 is an under-appreciated wonder of the automotive world. Pick someone up that hasn't seen the badge, and they'll think it's true European refinement. We know this because we tried it. Fantastic materials, including the beautiful quilted leather seats and door panels bring a sense of style to the standard and fully fleshed out luxury feature set.
We can't in all good conscience ignore Rolls-Royce here, and who doesn't want to make their way to the airport in first-class luxury accommodations? Every piece of trim is fashioned precisely and out of the highest of ended materials. Every detail is meticulously thought through, and even if you don't have two quarters to rub together, just sitting inside a Phantom makes you feel like everyone you see through the window is a peasant.
The perfect sports car needs the perfect interior, and with the 720S McLaren has taken a thoughtful approach to creating something close to impeccable here. Precision is the name of McLaren's game, and everything is in its right place and beautifully engineered and styled. Whether buyers choose a classic or sporty style, the cabin is beautiful and comfortable. In any event, the 720S would be on this list for the folding dual display gauge cluster alone.
Jeep does a decent job on the Wrangler for the most part, but smacked the ball out of the park and cracked an F-150's windscreen with just how well thought out and useable the Gladiator's interior is. Rugged utility is the Gladiator's game, and inside the cabin, there's a wealth of smart storage solutions, including lockable storage in the floor underneath the back seats.
The Lexus LC makes this list despite the infotainment system. It's almost ridiculous how comfortable the LC is for some real cross country grand touring, and the sense of style is up there with something Bentley is capable of producing. The styling on the outside is up for debate, but hop inside and you won't feel like arguing anymore.
There was an argument here between Mazda's mid-size sedan offering and the Accord, but we're so happy the volume knob is back and that Honda paid so much attention to getting things right. In fact, you may even be able to blame the Mazda 6 for Honda raising its interior game here. The feeling is way more premium than pricing suggests, and we'll go back to fighting in the office over whether it is actually better than Mazda's equivalent cabin.
The Ram 1500 brings a genuine premium grade interior to the truck market. For some reason, GMC is doing everything else right in the premium truck segment but isn't paying enough attention to the interior. Ram, however is still doing an amazing job when you start going up the trim levels and there's very little to fault in terms of practicality or the infotainment system.
Audi is the master of understated premium and superior technology when it comes to its high-end cars. There's no better way to enjoy an A8 than from the back. Unless you like driving, of course, and in that case, you can enjoy the ride along with Audi's virtual cockpit keeping you both well informed and entertained via the epic-sounding Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The focus on exterior looks and overall performance often leave the interiors as an afterthought in reviews. However, no automaker does a steering wheel like Ferrari. The shape, the feel, the weight, the intricacy... pick a current Ferrari, and it can be on this list through the steering wheel alone.
We're picking out the 812 Superfast though because it goes against the grain of modern cars and eschews the center-mounted screen on the dashboard. That means the driver has little distraction from the V12 soundtrack, the road ahead, and a Ferrari steering wheel in their hands.