Best car interiors

The best car interiors cosset you from the outside of the big bad world, and also provide somewhere to sit when you're stuck in traffic...

Murray Scullion
Jul 12, 2018

If you’ve ever seen a car TV programme, or indulged in a car magazine, you may have come across people going on about how similar cars are these days.

You might even agree with them - in some instances, cars share the same mechanical parts and it’s only the body and the interior which are different from one another.

And we bet that if we took the badges off some of these cars, you wouldn’t be able to tell which were from premium manufacturers, and which were from more workaday outfits.

For some, this begs the question why you would pick a more expensive Volkswagen over a cheaper Seat, especially if you don’t care much about the way it drives.

The simple answer is the interior. The main differences between interiors of cheap cars, and those of more expensive offerings, are the quality of materials, design, and technology.

Cheap, scratchy plastics are replaced by much softer ones in more luxurious cars and entertainment systems, an ever-growing part of why people choose their cars, are lacking in functionality, and clarity in cheaper cars when compared to more expensive ones. For instance, Britain’s cheapest car, the Dacia Sandero doesn’t have Apple Carplay. Whereas, a similarly sized, but more upmarket car, like the Mercedes A-Class, does have.

In short, a car's interior can make driving around pleasurable, or something you dread.

                                   

Volkswagen Polo

Best car interior for a supermini

Manufacturer price from £14,235

The Volkswagen Polo is a stalwart of the supermini class, and, despite the fact it’s ‘only’ a small car, it manages to be sophisticated throughout. It’s comfortable, and in many ways, feels much larger and well-appointed than others in this class.

That’s in no small way down to its interior. Inside it feels best in class, and the fit, finish, and quality of materials (very few cheap plastics) is a cut above the rest. It also has a large 10.5-inch touchscreen display, which houses a satnav, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Mini Hatchback

Best car interior for personalisation

Manufacturer price from £15,905

Sorry Fiat 500, but if you want a new car that throws back to the Fifties/Sixties the Mini is by far and away much better. It’s great fun to own, with sharp steering that makes it feel very agile.

Inside, it’s endlessly customisable with personalisation options. These include colour dashboard inserts, which can be had in bright colours. Even the switchgear looks chromed and wonderfully retro. But in the heart of the interior lies a massive circular entertainment screen that dominates the inside, which can include sat nav and virtually anything else you’d like. There’s also an optional head-up display that will show your speed and directions directly in front of you.

Citroen C4 Cactus

Best car interior for comfortable seats

Manufacturer price from £17,270

Some might find it strange that we’d include an offering from a semi-budget brand like Citroen in our list, but there’s a very good reason why we do this.

When specifying your dream ride, you might see the inclusion of ‘sports’ seats.These are generally firmer and hold you in place tighter when tearing down a road. But what happens if you don’t spend most of your time driving like Lewis Hamilton?

Luckily Citroen has thought of you, with its ‘Advanced comfort seats’. They have lots of adjustment, are spongy and comfortable, and are great for covering long distances.

Mercedes A-Class

Best car interior for grown-up tech in a small car

Manufacturer price from £22,850

Mercedes’ new A-Class is a rival of the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, and despite being Mercedes’ cheapest new car, it’s one of the most tech-laden.

As soon as you step into a (top-spec) A-Class you’ll be under the spell of the twin 10.25-inch touchscreens that sit next to each other. The software inside of the touchscreens contains an augmented reality sat nav and voice recognition. Elsewhere, everything is very business-like, everything is pleasing to touch, and every switch feels weighty and un-flimsy.

Audi A6

Best car interior for exec-lifestyles

Manufacturer price from £33,165

Business users will tell their accountants that they love the Audi A6 because of its economical diesel engines.

What they keep to themselves is that the interior makes it a lovely place to sit for long periods of time. The fit and finish is up there with the best, as is the sound insulation. Dark colours suit the A6 best, with chrome accents just to brighten it up smartly. All the important bits that you touch every day are pleasingly soft, and made from top quality leather, plastic, or metal.

Volvo S90

Best car interior for minimalism

Manufacturer price from £35,620

Volvo has had a bit of a renaissance of late, turning from the sort of choice your grandfather would make, to the choice of someone young and fashionable who thinks that German cars are untrendy.

The S90’s interior is brimming with space and can be specced in very non-German hues like brown and cream. Wooden dashboards are obviously back in fashion according to Volvo, and they look delectable, especially in walnut. Although dark birch can be specified too - and you don’t need to pick wood if you don’t want to.

Range Rover Velar

Best car interior for non-leather seats

Manufacturer price from £44,735

Range Rovers have come along way from their more rudimentary roots, and parent company Land Rover knows that most of these cars will spend virtually none of their lives off-road.

Which is good because you’d hate to get this sumptuous interior muddy. After all, top spec HSE models get lots of leather and massage seats. Although, It should also be noted that the Velar can be optioned in a part-wool, part polyester blend for those who think that leather is a bit nouveau.

It’s full of tech too - in the middle there are two 10-inch screens with ‘floating dials’ in the middle that are used for a range of functions, from off-road modes to the temperature.

Tesla Model S

Best car interior for technology

Manufacturer price from £68,850

Tesla is probably in the news much more than any other car manufacturer, mostly for bad things associated with not making enough cars. But there’s no denying that the cars it has actually made have a wow factor similar to that of a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

If you stepped into a Model S from a regular hatchback, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally warped forward in time. The first thing you’ll notice is the massive iPad-like entertainment screen that measures in at 17-inches. The rest of the interior is very understated, and while the quality of the materials isn’t as high as some cars on this list, it’s still a very good place to sit.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Best car interior for rear passengers

Manufacturer price from £360,000

Rolls-Royces have never been for the faint-hearted, and although some previous offerings were slightly more, um, elegant, they’re all still as ostentatious as the Queen eating Beluga caviar.

Rolls-Royces are handmade in Goodwood and can be pretty much specified however the owner would like. But it won’t be the owner in the front seat. Most Phantom owners prefer to sit in the back and let a chauffeur do the unglamorous driving job. Which is why the rear of a Rolls is nearly endlessly customisable - so much so that you can even choose what type of seat you’d like in the rear. We’d opt for a ‘sleeping seat’ that allows occupants to nestle down for a relaxing kip while on the move.

Pagani Huayra

Best car interior for speed-freaks

Manufacturer price from £1,029,430

It might seem odd to talk about a car’s interior when the car in question has 720bhp and a top speed of around 210mph.

But if you think the outside is quite the crowd-pleaser, wait until you see the inside. It has the usual top-quality leather and expensive metals that adorn posh cars, but they’re put together in a way that exposes the metalwork. It looks like a steampunk convention looted an aluminum foundry. And that’s no bad thing.

                          

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