Kia Optima ($36,615)

Lots of backseat head and leg room, except for adults in middle seat; diamond-quilt leather makes up for it.

Lexus ES ($39,853)

Lacks blindspot detection, which should be standard in luxury cars. Aesthetically dull, even with black and cream color combo.

Lexus LX ($96,905)

Fetching burgundy leather with white stitching; Second-row footwell and third-row seats are oddly cramped for such a big vehicle.

Lexus RX ($52,968) WINNER

This black-and-white cabin works well and other wood-and-color offerings are even better; it raises bar for Lexus interiors.

Lincoln MKX ($67,020)

Revel Ultima audio system rocks, as do dual storage bins under center stack, but adaptive cruise control quits at low speed.

Mazda CX-3 ($29,890)

Bold colors can’t compensate for several fit-and-finish problems; flimsy armrest blocks center cupholders and access to controller.

Mazda MX-5 Miata ($33,120)

Red stitching and door trim are sharp accents; people buy Miata for driving, don’t need a dazzling interior.

Mercedes GLC ($54,360) WINNER

Competitively price but heated steering wheel would be nice; slick animation when cycling through digital owner’s manual.

Mercedes AMG GLE63 S ($123,835)

Tremendous balance between comfort and sportiness, but it feels dated without Mercedes’ new multimedia interface.

Mini Cooper S Clubman ($39,550)

Chesterfield Indigo leather is stunning, especially with diamond quilting and burgundy piping; seats heat up quickly.

Mitsubishi Outlander ($33,095)

Clever fold-flat second row, but this CUV isn’t big enough for seven; third-row head restraints dangerously close to rear glass.