While we all like to go on about horsepower or differentials or suspension arms when discussing new cars, we often overlook the place where you and your car will spend the most time together - inside the cabin. In order to recognize this aspect of vehicle development, Ward’s Auto releases a list every year for the best car interiors in a number of different vehicle segments.

After driving the vehicles over a two month period, judges evaluated the them during their daily driving cycles and awarded points for design, material selection, fit-and-finish, ergonomics, driver information, safety, value and comfort.

For 2009, the awards were not dominated by luxury car brands that like to swathe their interiors in leather and wood as you might think - rather than that it was the cheaper end of the spectrum that impressed the judges most. For example, taking out the top prize for an economy-priced car was the Honda Fit Sport, which managed to capture the judges' attention thanks to its high-quality feel and clever design.

Kia's new Soul was given the award for the “grooviest interior”, and with its red dashboard and lights that flash to the beat of music we would probably have to agree with that one. Interestingly, the award for the best interior in a premium priced car was given to the Acura TL, while the award for the best interior in a popularly-priced car went to the Volkswagen CC.

For sports cars, the new Nissan 370Z in Touring trim managed to claim the best interior award, while the Dodge Ram won in the popularly-priced truck category. The Ford Flex took out the award for premium-priced trucks, while the Ford Fusion hybrid won for best graphic display - giving Ford two winners in the competition, more than any other manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the new Audi A4 won the award for the best interior redesign, and the premium Lexus RX 450h won an award for having “design harmony”. Finally, the award for best brand expression went to the Cadillac CTS-V, with the judges noting the car's handsome instrument stack and long list of electronic gadgets as some of the highlights.

This year’s winners are as follows:
- Honda Fit Sport (Economy-priced car)
- Volkswagen CC (Popular-priced car)
- Kia Soul (Grooviest Interior)
- Acura TL (Premium-priced car)
- Nissan 370Z Touring (Sports car)
- Dodge Ram (Popular-priced truck)
- Ford Flex (Premium-priced truck)
- Audi A4 (Best Redesign)
- Ford Fusion Hybrid (Best Graphic Display)
- Lexus RX 450h (Design Harmony)
- Cadillac CTS-V (Best Brand Expression)