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2019 Wards 10 Best Interiors winners span the industry, from Nissan to Bentley

It goes to show that lots of money isn't a requirement to have an innovative interior.


Every year, the editors at WardsAuto puts together a list of the 10 best vehicle interiors. It's not just about aesthetics -- it also takes into account innovations in storage, fit and finish and general comfort. Now, at the 2019 New York Auto Show, WardsAuto unveiled its latest list and, as in years past, it covers just about every price point.

This year, just about every segment is represented, from SUVs like the Jeep Gladiator and Lincoln Nautilus to the Volvo V60 station wagon and BMW M850i coupe. Whether an automaker sells their car for $23,000 or more than 10 times that amount, if the interior represents a big step forward, it's on the list. Let's go through each one below.

Bentley Continental GT

Wards' as-tested price on the Bentley Continental GT was $276,730, making it the most expensive car on the list by a factor of two. Wards' editors said the GT's interior "oozes grace and sophistication," specifically mentioning the new GT's displays, interfaces and switchgear.

On our first drive of the Continental GT, we, too, fell in love with its interior. Whether it was the diamond stitching on the door panels or the trick screen that rotates in the dashboard to hide away, there's the right amount of pomp and circumstance in this car. As there should be, given Bentley's history and price point.

BMW M850i

The second-most expensive car on the list with an as-tested price of just under $120,000, the BMW M850i earned Wards' praise for its actual metal trim and Merino leather seats. Wards' editors also gave the M850i props for its fast voice recognition system.

We sampled the M850i late last year, calling the seats "equal parts comfortable and supportive," and we also called out the look and feel of everything, from the crystal shifter to how much space there is for front-row passengers. (The rear is a bit cramped.)

Genesis G70

Moving away from hardcore luxury for a spell, we have the Genesis G70, which carries a price tag roughly one-third of the Bimmer's. Wards' editors celebrated the ergonomics, infotainment and attention to detail in a car that also happens to be the 2019 North American Car of the Year.

We're big fans of the G70 at Roadshow. When we reviewed it recently, we praised the fact that Genesis took more economical materials and still managed to craft an interior that feels positively luxurious. Doing more with less is definitely an art, and Genesis has it down.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Wards gave the previous-generation Santa Fe a nod in 2013, and now it's back on the list again. The Santa Fe is the eighth Hyundai to be on Wards' list. This time around, Wards' editors pointed out its color schemes, "impeccable" fit and finish and attention to details like the speaker grilles.

We, too, noted the upscale feel given off by this sub-$40,000 SUV. Sure, there are some lower-tier plastics in use in various areas, but they're out of reach and are more than made up for with the quality of everything in eyeshot.

Jeep Gladiator

While the Gladiator's dashboard is the same as the JL Wrangler that debuted last year, Wards' editors looked beyond that and found plenty of clever tricks in the second row, enough to earn a spot on the list. Most of their praise focused on the storage options, from the locking floor boxes to locking seatbacks.

We found the lockboxes to be clever additions in our review of the new Gladiator, as well. The updates from the JL Wrangler really add to the car's daily usability, whether it's the more smartly arranged switches or the fact that it now carries a non-embarrassing telematics system.

Lincoln Nautilus

Lincoln has really stepped up its design game lately, from the lovely wagonlike Aviator to all its high-end interiors. Wards' editors were quick to relish in its curves and the details, like how the diamond pattern cut into the seats resembles the Lincoln logo.

When we first drove the new Nautilus, we were given one of Lincoln's Black Label cars, featuring its best materials. We found the seats comfortable as all get-out, and while not everybody is a fan of the push-button transmission, there's a lot to like about Sync 3, the infotainment system Lincoln shares with Ford.

Mercedes-Benz A220

Just because a car is "entry-level" doesn't mean it can't have an interior worthy of commendation. Wards' editors gave the new A-Class sedan a spot on its list for its new MBUX infotainment system and the general design of the interior, which follows in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz's far more expensive models.

I never liked Mercedes-Benz's first crack at a new-age affordable model, the CLA-Class, but the A-Class righted all those wrongs. It looks expensive, it feels expensive and its ambient lighting makes it look like a high-end discotheque. It's got wow factor out the wazoo.

Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks is the most affordable vehicle on the list, but Wards still loved the interior's use of color and materials that give the diminutive SUV a dash of character. Wards' editors also like the ergonomics and tech like its surround-view camera.

We found the cabin tech impressive for the Kicks' low price point. Three USB ports are standard, and higher trims get both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sure, some of the bits feel cheap, but the seats are so comfortable you might forget about the lesser parts.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4's latest generation ramps up the quality in a big way, and Wards' editors clearly noticed. They were happy with the tech, which features loads of USB ports and a solid audio system. Heck, they even called out the weird shape of the cupholders.

We, too, spent plenty of time with the new RAV4 and enjoyed it for many of the same reasons. There are storage cubbies galore, interesting uses of both materials and colors, as well as an infotainment system that's much more capable than before.

Volvo V60

Two words: City Weave. Even the hardened editors at Wards are suckers for the stuff, its plaid interior standing out in a sea of leathers and leatherettes. Yet, without even looking at the fabric, their editors found plenty to love, whether it's the quality of the soft-touch bits or the aesthetics in general.

And what do you know, we aren't immune to City Weave's charms, either. We fell for every touch point we found, and we appreciated its simple design and how well it kept outside noises outside. Aside from being a little cramped, it's a hard interior on which to improve.