Best car interiors

The best car interiors are cosseting, stylish, and equipped with everything you need to sit out a traffic jam

Simon Ostler
Dec 7, 2021

Many of us spend a lot of time driving, so it makes sense to pick a car interior that's as comfortable and well designed as possible. Even if a particular model is incredibly efficient, or incredible fun to drive, a nasty interior will quickly sour the experience.

Key ingredients include a stylish design, comfortable seats, logical controls and a media system with all the technology you need. Luckily, there are lots of cars which offer all of these features.

Factors like safety and aerodynamics mean cars are often criticised for looking too similar on the outside, but there's a bit more freedom to show a brand's individuality inside the car. The different approaches and styles of various manufacturer's are likely to appeal to each of us differently, so test drives can be useful to narrow down your taste.

We've taken into account the overall quality of the interior, from the types of materials used to the performance of the media system. Then there's the style and feel of the dashboard and the controls, and the list of equipment on offer - who doesn't enjoy a massage from their seat while on the move?

If you're on the lookout for a new car and the quality of the interior is important for you, then read on for our list of cars with the best interiors.

Cars with the best interiors

1. Mini Hatchback

Best car interior for personalisation

Used deals from £8,799
Monthly finance from £167*

There are a handful of cars on the market that offer retro appeal. The Fiat 500 throws back to its 1950s roots, but the interior is too cramped and a touch too basic to earn a place on this list. The Mini Hatchback, on the other hand, has evolved far beyond its origins.

While it still shouts Mini from the outside, it's difficult to miss the high-quality influence from parent company BMW on the inside. It's dripping with style and personality, and the rounded design of the instrument cluster and dashboard media system is unique.

Then there's the customisation Mini offers. There's a variety of options when it comes to colours schemes and dashboard graphics - these are customisable if you order a brand new model, but you will often find used models that have been personalised by the original owner. If you're after a car that feels different, but still maintains excellent quality throughout, the Mini is about as close to unique as it's possible to be.

MINI HATCHBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen C4 Cactus

Best car interior for comfortable seats

Used deals from £7,995
Monthly finance from £155*

Citroen is on a mission to prove affordable cars don't need to be low-rent, by simplifying its interiors to create a calmer driving environment, while adding unique and useful features.

So if you don't spend your time tearing down roads as fast as possible, then you probably won't need tightly-gripping sports seats. That's why the C4 Cactus has wide 'Advanced comfort seats'. They have lots of adjustment, are spongy and comfortable, and are great for reducing back ache while covering long distances.

A stylish glovebox with a luggage-style release, along with leather door pulls are cheap to produce touches, but give the interior a more individual look.

CITROEN C4 CACTUS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes A-Class

Best car interior for a small car

Used deals from £18,395
Monthly finance from £252*

The Mercedes A-Class might be the cheapest Mercedes available, but it borrows features from the most expensive models in the range, making it unashamedly high-tech.

It's most striking when fitted with the optional twin touchscreens that sit next to each other atop the dashboard. By moving most functions onto these screens, the rest of the dashboard is design-led, making the rotor-style vents prominent, and adding different textures and ambient lighting.

The on-screen software is advanced, with the option of augmented reality sat-nav, which overlays directions to an image of the road ahead, as well as effective voice controls. Surfaces are pleasing to touch, and every switch feels weighty.

MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

4. DS 3 Crossback

Best car interior for straight-edged style

Used deals from £16,976
Monthly finance from £246*

Along with the DS 3 Crossback's larger sister car, the DS 7 Crossback, few cars offer such an attractive array of straight edges in their cabins.

DS is the upmarket offshoot of Citroen, so quality is a noticeable step up compared with models like the C4 Cactus that's also on this list. There are plenty of soft-touch materials, along with a large touchscreen media display and a collection of touch-sensitive controls underneath. Higher-end cars have seats designed in the style of a watch strap, adding to one of the most distinctive vehicles available in its price bracket.

DS 3 CROSSBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

5. BMW 5 Series

Best car interior for company car travel

Used deals from £20,095
Monthly finance from £317*

The BMW 5 Series interior doesn't have a particularly daring design, but it has been constantly tweaked over the generations, so it just works. Superbly comfortable and supportive seats, a steering wheel that can be set 'just right' and controls that are simple to find and use while keeping your eyes on the road, help to make journeys safer and more relaxing.

Quality is superb and the highlight is the firm's excellent rotary controller for BMW's iDrive user interface, which allows you to flick through complex screen menus to find the function you want in seconds.

BMW 5 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Range Rover Velar

Best car interior for non-leather seats

Used deals from £34,599
Monthly finance from £505*

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

It's a good job, because you’d hate to get such a sumptuous interior muddy. After all, top spec HSE models get supple leather and massaging seats. Although, it should also be noted that the Velar can be optioned in a part-wool, part polyester blend for those who prefer a more sustainable car interior.

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

RANGE ROVER VELAR BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Touareg

Best car interior for technology

Used deals from £35,495
Monthly finance from £514*

The latest Volkswagen Touareg is available with VW’s Innovision Cockpit as an option. This means you are met with the automotive version of an IMAX screen when you get in. It is, in fact, a combination of two screens running across the dashboard, the largest of which measures 15-inches. Both work together to competently cover most of the driving and infotainment functions you could ever need.

Thanks to the large screens, the rest of the cabin is simplified, for an effortlessly modern feel. The interior is so good in fact, you could happily swap from an Audi Q7 (which, underneath is basically the same car, yet has a higher list price) and not be disappointed at all.

VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Tesla Model S

Best car interior for the environment

Used deals from £38,995
Monthly finance from £694*

Tesla seems to dominate the headlines. One minute the Silicon Valley-based brand is making more money than the whole of Madagascar, the next it is on the brink of shutting down – quite the rollercoaster. Either way, its Model S ripped up the car interior rule book, recycled it and used it to produce a vegan-friendly alternative to the traditional motorcar.

Not only are you treated to a whopping great iPad-style screen, all Teslas can now come with synthetic leather seats. While other manufacturers offer similar vegan-friendly interiors which may feel more upmarket (Mercedes, BMW and Land Rover are to name but three) the fact the Model S is also an electric car adds clout to its eco-credentials.

9. Mercedes S-Class

Best car interior for unwavering comfort

Used deals from £26,980
Monthly finance from £492*

The Mercedes S-Class has ruled the luxury car roost for some time now, and a large part of its success is down to the fact its interior is such a nice place to be. Unlike the vast majority of models, the level of quality doesn't drop if you sit in the back seats, because its owner is just as likely to be reclining in the rear compartment.

If you are cold, hit the heated seat button. If you are hot, hit the cooled seat button. If you are stressed, hit the massaging seat button. If you are still stressed, recline the rear seats and the cabin is so quiet, the smooth ride will likely send you to sleep.

MERCEDES S-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

10. Rolls-Royce Phantom

Best car interior for rear passengers

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 job of driving.
Which is why the rear of a Rolls is almost endlessly customisable. You can choose a 'starlight' roof (pictured) with twinkling lights, a fridge for refreshments and a privacy screen between you and the driver. Most importantly, you can choose the type of seat you’d like. We’d opt for a ‘sleeping seat’ that allows occupants to nestle down for a relaxing nap while on the move. The Phantom is virtually a business jet on wheels.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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