Special Coverage

Auto Interiors Conference

A well-done interior can accommodate every customer demand – from soothing stressed-out motorists to enabling extreme multitasking – while looking stylish, protecting occupants, cleaning up well and aging gracefully.

These are among the traits Ward’s editors consider as they select the Interior of the Year award winners. Throughout February and March, editors have been evaluating 35 vehicles that are either all-new or have significantly upgraded interiors for the ’09 or ’10 model years.

Ward’s Automotive Group will announce the winners in April and pass out the trophies at the annual Ward’s Auto Interiors Conference, to be held Thursday, May 21, at the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, MI.

More than 35 speakers will present at the conference, including Dave Lyon, executive director-interior design for General Motors Corp., and keynote luncheon speaker Stefan Sielaff, head of design for Audi AG.

For the third consecutive year, Ward’s is applying the well-established model for selecting its 10 Best Engines winners to the Interior of the Year competition.

The key difference is that all engines compete with the entire field in the 10 Best Engines program, but interior evaluations are segmented. This year’s interior categories:

  • Economy-priced cars (under $16,999)
  • Popular-priced cars (between $17,000 and $29,999)
  • Premium-priced cars (no price cap)
  • Sports cars (no price cap)
  • Popular-priced trucks (under $39,999)
  • Premium-priced trucks (no price cap)

Vehicles are categorized based on their sticker prices as tested, not on base price.

As in the past, Ward’s will give several special-achievement awards for brand expression and for clever, utilitarian or stylistic features that really stand out.