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Top 10: Best Car Interiors for 2010 (45-55k)



Look at these beauties! The finest in luxury automotive engineering is available to deep pockets and enthusiasts alike. Thick leather, plush padding, dual-zone climate control, superior navigation units and wood / metal / carbon fiber trims are required to enter this class, among other requirements. Ambiance is extremely importance, along with a dead-silent interior. Only the best in modern interiors are excepted in this Top 10: Best Car Interiors. No exceptions. Only the best. Need I say more? Enjoy!

No real new changes for this year's Top 10: Best Car Interiors, except some vehicles (Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Dodge Caliber, etc.) have entered the 15-25k bracket to compete. MSRP & invoice prices have been added this year for reference (current 02/10). All prices are USD. 11th place (did not qualify) has been included for 2010. Value relative to interior design & quality was an important factor in the rating system.

#11 (Did Not Qualify) - Cadillac STS

Although Cadillac's STS model qualified for 8th place last year, it simply cannot compete against greater behemoths of vehicle interiors.  Great volumes of rubbized padding set the STS back, along with a relatively poor rattle & squeek to price ratio.  The STS seems doomed to merge with the DTS in the near future--to create Cadillac's new flagship.  Wood trim remains unconvincing, although the blue dashboard enhances the STS's already large size interior.  Standard leather feels thicker this year, but could be the same material.  The minuses were simply greater than the pluses relative to other competitors--keeping STS out of this year's Top 10: Best Car Interiors for this class.

2010 MSRP: $46,845 - $56,345

2010 Invoice: $44,034 - $52,964

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

#10 - Audi A6

An overall good quality interior for the base model A6 snags the 10 spot for the 45-55k class. Prices for interior improvements bump the A6 out of the 45-55k range quickly--buyer beware. Rear-side airbags should be standard, but can be forgiven. Fine grain leather is present and welcomed.  Real aluminum trim a plus.  Somewhat boring interior and quickly rising prices stagnate the A6 from ranking hiring in this bracket.

2010 MSRP: $45,200 - $76,100

2010 Invoice: $42,036 - $74,589

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

#9 - Infiniti M

M's interior seems somewhat under-performing when compared to other competitors this year--but it does have its strengths. The first strength is value--it is hard to find other vehicles in this bracket that hold its luxury to price ratio when compared to Infiniti's M. Available wood trim a welcome replacement to bargain-bin plastics that would be present in the trim's place. Leather is plush, but roaming plastics become a nuisance when noticed. Interior large, roomy--but headroom is not M's strength when compared to others. Pretty ambiance, navigation unit a little confusing. My recommendation--wait for the new 2011 Infiniti M, unless you are eager for slashed prices on the 2010 model.

2010 MSRP: $45,800 - $54,650

2010 Invoice: $~42,286 - $50,439

Photo courtesy www.autospectator.com

Photo courtesy www.autospectator.com

#8 - Mercedes SLK-Class

Pretty cute interior for this well-known convertible--SLK fits plenty of nice interior features in a small space.  White and black color scheme gives a tuxedo, James Bond feel to the SLK.  All instruments clearly marked.  Contours in leather seating create a comfortable environment.  Good quality leather.  Some plastic buttons unconvincing, but are given a pass when compared to overall great material quality.  Head room leaves tall individuals feeling left out (but hey, it's a convertible after all right?).  Very good competitor in this class, although prices climb quickly with options.

2010 MSRP: $46,900 - $66,650

2010 Invoice: $43,617 - $61,984

Photo courtesy www.europeancarweb.com

Photo courtesy www.europeancarweb.com

#7 - BMW Z4

"The BMW convertible 5-series" as I like to call it. I used to consider BMW's Z4 model a weak competitor in both convertible and luxury classes when it was young--but Z4 has changed. Doors no longer clank shut, and the vehicle's interior is overall more appealing now. Pop-up navigation unit is fun--although I need to lean forward to read it clearly (I have good eye sight, dont worry). Leather surfaces generous and very plush ("Kansas leather" is available, but wasn't in the model I tried). Wood trim being optional is a ding--but perhaps modesty and simplicity is the Z4 best attribute.

2010 MSRP: $45,750 - $51,650

2010 Invoice: $42,090 - $47,250

Photo courtesy z.about.com

Photo courtesy z.about.com

#6 - Porshe Boxster

2010 MSRP: $47,600 - $58,000

2010 Invoice: $42,660 - $52,020

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

Photo courtesy www.motortrend.com

#5 - Acura RL

A good deal for humble luxury. RL aims for an upper-middle class clientele and it is received the same on Top 10: Best Car Interiors.  Quality is very good, although not mercedes-benz, but the same deal at a relative price.  Dashboard padding somewhat thin, but adequate.  Center console has too much obvious plastic for its class.  Common, but plush feeling leather is a plus.  Wood grain convincing, nice ambiance color scheme.

2010 MSRP: $46,830 - $54,250

2010 Invoice: $42,070 - $48,723

Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com

Photo courtesy www.howstuffworks.com

#4 - Lexus GS

Perfect blend of modern and traditional styles.  Comfortable seats, plush leather.  No squeeks/ rattles heard.  Pretty ambiance when dark.  Convincing wood trim, fits in well (much better than the last generation).  Control layoff straightforward.  Worth checking out!

2010 MSRP: $45,600 - $54,070

2010 Invoice: ~$42,100 - ~$50,450

Photo courtesy www.thetruthaboutcars.com

Photo courtesy www.thetruthaboutcars.com

#3 - BMW 5-Series

This vehicle's interior is outstanding, but not the best.  Fresh soft carpeting when there is not thick leather avail.  Some of the most high quality wood i've seen in a car.  Few plastic knobs/parts floating around.  Confusing navigation system, but audio controls easier.  Nice smell to the car, unique.  Padding a little thin in some places.

2010 MSRP: $45,800 - $85,500

2010 Invoice: $42,135 - $78,660

Photo courtesy www.themotorreport.com.au

Photo courtesy www.themotorreport.com.au

#2 - Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Fantastic vehicle.  Simple magnificent at all prices--but they do escalate quickly.  Nice color schemes, good supply of luxorious surfaces and features, thick leather and well groomed plastic pieces as accent.  What else can I say?  I like the euro-feel to it.

2010 MSRP: $48,050 - $85,500

2010 Invoice: $44,686 - ~$81,500

Photo courtesy www.seriouswheels.com

Photo courtesy www.seriouswheels.com

#1 - Jaguar XF

Second year winner for this bracket!  All around great interior.  Well placed knobs, simple navigation unit, jazzy console/dash, useful center console.  Good quality leather.  Nice use of aluminum and plastic metallic trim.  Fun interior!

2010 MSRP: $51,150 - $79,150

2010 Invoice: $46,547 - $72,027

Photo courtesy z.about.com

Photo courtesy z.about.com


gabby0506 on October 10, 2011:

What a pleasure would it be to drive any of them!! Nice hub!!

vaporizerreviews from Boston on October 01, 2011:

bmw ftw. amazing interior

mviadam on January 12, 2011:

I take a side road home from work every day so I can pass the Jaguar dealer and get a glimpse of the XF. What a rocking interior.

Bizziebee from La La land, California on November 01, 2010:

What a fun post! I really enjoyed checking out all the pics! Too bad I can't afford any!!

Mercedes-Benz30 from Memphis, TN on July 28, 2010:

Very good reviews Direxmd. My favorite interiors, in descending order, are the Lexus GS, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E350, BMW Z4, Jaguar XF and the Audi A6.

The Audi may look stark and typically-German, but make no mistake--it's among the tightest-fit and finest interiors out there.

Really, the first three are about tied--in my mind; they just radiate sheer gorgeousness and are quite tastefully restrained.

Among the dislikes

The Cadillac's interior is not that bad; it's certainly much better than the 1990's versions (which were just dreadful and so un-Caddy like). This interior, though, is getting somewhat dated and its competitors have much more modern, appealing style.

The Infiniti--while still a really nice interior--it just "screams" to me that its trying too hard and it ultimately falls short of competition's offerings.

The Acura RL's interior actually looks so much better in black interior theme than that one in the picture--the color scheme just reminds me of a foul word that I'm going to refrain from using, lol.

I'm really not familiar with the Porsche's interior, so I'll withhold judgment on that one for now.

Direxmd (author) on April 16, 2010:


The answer to your question relies on car manufacturers (especially european ones) utilizing devices (they created), and selling them to dealers at extremely high prices--such as devices to unlock encrypted codes in small computer processors throughout the car--unlocking these codes are required to access brakes, ignition, specific engine information, and so on. These devices cost the dealers 50-100k each, which greatly escalate the cost of maintaining your vehicle's parts. There have been other strategies (like this and others) developed by manufacturers to escalate the amount of money that WILL be provided to them, one way or another. In their defense, these parts are computerized (which although complicates them, gives them (the parts) better flexibility in their uses/designs/actions).

Only go to dealers for these computerized parts--this may require on your part to go to a non-dealer repairer for a diagnosis, which I recommend in most cases. Try not to go to dealers if you can--the costs can often be 140% higher, or up to 300% higher for non-computerized items that need repair. Computerized items (that need repair) in your vehicle have been essentially monopolized by car manufacturers' dealers--which is where the extra costs come in to repair them.

Thanks for your response (hope this helps a little),


Lecie on April 15, 2010:

great hub, very informational. perhaps i can ask you a question, as it appears you know alot about cars. when i was growing up my dad was awsome when it came to repairng any of our cars. i would help him. if you can call it help. mostly i just handed him what he needed and held what he asked me too. he would try to teach me by telling me the names of the parts. i have to admitt i am still clueless when it comes to cars. i helped him just because i enjoyed spending time with him and having him try to show me things. but for about the past decade or so, cars have become more technical and computer oriented and my dad doesn't know the first thing about fixing them. we have been taking all of our vehicles to shops which try over charging. my question is why don't they make cars like they used too? simple, strong, sturdy and reliable. you put an older model in front of my dad and he can take it apart and put it back together like nobies business. i miss those days. now my state government is doing away with all of those old cars and parts. they were the best and i'm sorry to see them go. looking back i wish i had spent alot more time on them with my dad.

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