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.
The vehicles--both car and truck--were divided into segments, with one winner named in each category. After driving the vehicles over a two month period, judges evaluated them during their daily driving cycles and awarded points for design, material selection, fit-and-finish, ergonomics, driver information, safety, value and comfort.
Several luxury models were included in this year’s field but one model stood out from the crowd. Judges picked the 2011 Infiniti M56 sedan as having the best interior for a premium priced car. In addition to all the usual luxury items, the new M also comes with air flow, odor and humidity controls. Filtering cabin air isn't anything new--a lot of standard passenger cars do it. But Infiniti's Forest Air sytstem also includes a built-in "Plasmacluster" electronic air purifier to not just filter odors, but to actively seek them out and destroy them.
This year’s winners in each segment is as follows:
- Subaru Outback (Popular-priced car under $29,999)
- Infiniti M56 (Premium-priced car)
- Lexus HS 250h (Hybrid car)
- Chevrolet Camaro (Sports car)
- Chevrolet Equinox (Popular-priced truck under $39,999)
- Volvo XC60 (Premium-priced truck)
- Acura ZDX (Design Breakthrough)
- Mazdaspeed3 (Brand Expression)
- BMW 5-Series GranTurismo (Design Versatility)
- Porsche Panamera (Inspired Design)