Car Interiors That Care About Driver Comfort
Stop complaining about your commute and sit in a decent interior.
Recent college grads and other tightwads will fill living rooms with cheap, uncomfortable furniture. But the older a person gets -- and hopefully, the more money he makes -- the more his living room becomes a sanctuary from work. It's a personal corner of the earth dedicated to R&R and thumping HD entertainment.
Yet when we’re not relaxing, many of us are driving cheap, uncomfortable cars. We’re sitting in ugly, molded-plastic pods for hours on end each week, droning back and forth to even uglier offices. I can’t stand this logic. For well under $30,000, you can buy a car with a decent interior and eliminate this commuting agony.
And by “decent” I don’t mean sinking into 18-way leather-lined bucket seats with electric massage. I mean supportive, well-padded seats, attractive and easy controls, quality materials and tailored construction. So when I step into the new Honda Civic, or try out the latest Subaru WRX or Toyota RAV4, I’m amazed people put up with these best-sellers. The dashboards are cut up in several pieces that no doubt will start creaking and rattling; the fabrics are thin and marginal; and the plastics feel like black-painted cement.
Granted, cars aren’t sectional couches, but when you move your arm, should it bang against brittle door panels and unpadded steering wheels? Should your legs be numb after an hour? If less than 10 percent of your home is sourced from Ikea, this is the type of thing you probably care about.
Here are a few new and used cars with fab interiors:
The metal-look trim is actually real, cold aluminum. The leather-stitched steering wheel is soft and reassuring. Everything, from the one-piece dashboard to the door panels, is padded in soft rubber. The 8.4-inch center LCD is clear and functional, though Chargers with heated seats and steering wheels should have these controls as physical buttons instead of touch-screen icons. Overall, the Charger’s interior is a master class in comfort for just $25,000, and is incomparable to the previous model.
Mazda’s new compact crossover makes the cabins in the larger CX-7 and CX-9 models look very dated. Soft-touch materials are all over the dash, as is Mazda’s pleasant red and indigo gauge lighting. In true Mazda form, the CX-5’s interior is sporty and simple. I was quite comfortable in the new Honda CR-V with its Land Rover-like front armrests, but the crude infotainment system glares at my eyes like a Windows blue screen of death.
Besides its tight handling and impressive sport exhaust, this compact Hyundai coupe offers big-car comfort for two. The manual shifter shakes a little too much, but the angled center stack, soft rubber, padded armrest and ample shoulder room make this car less of a wannabe racer and more of a satisfying commuter.
The latest Volkswagen Jetta scraps its premium surfaces for Rubbermaid-grade surfaces. While the new Jetta now starts at about $4,000 less than the outgoing model, it’s not that inviting unless you’ve dished out $27,000 for the top-grade GLI. The previous-generation Jetta, despite its austere style, felt like a bargain Audi at any price -- from the solid chassis to the firm, never-fatiguing seats and idiot-proof controls.
Volvo has been making one-piece padded dashboards since the 1990s. We should remind ourselves that padded dashes serve a real purpose: preventing your limbs from crashing against unyielding plastic. While these cars now look quite old, they cost less than a new Jetta and are far more plush. I would rather take an S70 for a boring four-hour drive than lay on my old roommate’s $100 futon for 15 minutes. I don’t know about you, but my health and comfort are worth more than that.
Yep; mazda has the best interiors. One actually feels like one is driving in a luxury sports car.
I have no specific complaints with Mazda interiors and I don't think there is anything wrong with their interior designs (obviously the exterior is a whole different story). But I have NEVER mistaken the interior of any Mazda for a luxury sports car. In fact, I would rank them among some of the most basic of auto interiors.
The picture of the Charger interior does not do the car justice. The Charger easily has the best interior in its class, but you would never know it from the picture. I am surprised that they used a picture of black interior in an article that was devoted to the best interiors on the market. It doesn't make sense.
Same goes for the VW picture. When that model was for sale, it was miles ahead of the competition in terms of fit and finish, and comfort. But the picture would make you think otherwise.
The interior of the car is the first important thing when it comes to buying a car...when it come to liking a car. Then comes power and/or gas milage, and exterior looks. Those of you who say interior does not matter i bet you guys have a new camaro. Best looking outside hands down...i always turn a look when i see a camaro (modern ones) but talking for expericen, rented one, it is the most ugliest interior a new car and think of having and im 5'5" and could hardly see out of it.
best looking and most comfortable interior Caddy CTS 2008 and up....
Side note: Is it just me or does the Charger interior look a little "truckish"?
Have you driven the top of the line versions for the European market?
We aren't talking about versions for the European market. We are talking about models for our market.
The versions designed specifically for the European market aren't available here and, therefore, it's pointless to even discuss them.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org.