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For the first time, six luxury brands earn Wards 10 Best Interiors trophies. In years past, the list has never had more than three luxury brands.
Luxury automakers win a majority of the spots on the 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors list for the first time ever, signifying the brisk pace of product development in the premium segment and illustrating the popularity of aspirational vehicles in the strong U.S. market.
This year’s winners:
- Audi TTS ($58,500 as tested)
- BMW 7-Series ($129,245)
- Cadillac XT5 ($63,845)
- Chevrolet Camaro ($46,095)
- Pacifica ($48,455)
- Civic ($27,335)
- Lexus RX ($52,968)
- Mercedes-Benz GLC ($54,360)
- Maxima ($38,750)
- Volvo XC90 ($84,005)
In years past, as many as three luxury brands have been recognized on the list. This year, one could argue all 10 honored vehicles lean toward the luxury side of the aisle, as the Camaro, Civic, Maxima and Pacifica integrate lots of soft surfaces, upscale materials, warm ambient lighting and the latest connectivity and safety features typically found in premium cars.
“It’s important that the Wards 10 Best Interiors list include mainstream, affordable vehicles,” says Drew Winter, director-content at WardsAuto. “But the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. has risen past $33,000, which is forcing us to reconsider how we define mainstream, affordable vehicles.”
Besides, the established luxury brands are flush with new product. Of the 47 vehicles evaluated in this year’s competition, 19 hail from premium brands. For instance, Audi had five eligible vehicles this year (A4, A6, Q7, S7 and TTS), whileand Lexus each had three entries.
Eight WardsAuto editors selected the winners after spending February and March evaluating all 47 interiors. To be eligible, an interior must be all-new or significantly redesigned.
Each vehicle is scored based on aesthetics and design harmony, as well as materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value and fit-and-finish. Editors also test the user-friendliness of the human-machine interface to see how effectively vehicle information is communicated.
WardsAuto is developing another competition and conference around this last category. The WardsAuto User Experience Conference will be held Oct. 4 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI, where vehicles will be honored as part of the first Wards 10 Best User Experiences competition.