Americans spend a great deal of time in their cars, so it stands to reason that we’d be inclined to want to pay more attention to vehicles with really comfortable, functional and good-looking interiors, right? To help get us acclimated, we turn to the new study from Wards Auto on the cars with the best interiors for 2012.

First, it’s important to mention that there’s no ranking of this year’s winners, which appear here in alphabetical order.

Second, the editors at Wards Auto began with a list of 40 nominated interiors (from all-new or substantially new vehicles) and winnowed down the list by evaluating ergonomics, overall value, aesthetics, safety and materials selection. But editors also looked at how well the interiors communicated vehicle information to drivers, in other words, human-machine interface.

  • 2012 Audi A7Wards Auto editors, it’s fair to say, were literally blown away by the “dramatic and inviting” interior of the all-new 2012 Audi A7 luxury sedan. Furthermore, they said “the four-passenger luxury liftback tilts toward the exotic and looks much more expensive than its $67,430 sticker price.” Makes you want

    to go out and at least sit in one, right?

  • 2012 Chevrolet Sonic – No, it’s not a California burger, but the all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car is not only affordable, but pleasing to drive and ride. Editors said it “proves an inexpensive car doesn’t have to look cheap.” Not only that but editors also hailed the Sonic’s ability to maximize limited space with three cupholders between front seats, two glove boxes, and front door bottle holders.
  • 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury – The Chrysler 300 midsize sedan was all-new last year, but for 2012, there’s the addition of the very-upscale Chrysler 300 Luxury

    model. What’s the appeal? Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of Ward’s Auto World magazine puts it this way: “If Bentley made an affordable family car, its interior would look like the Chrysler 300 Luxury.” Winter also called it “smart and modern, with a generous helping of over-the-top lavishness.” Now, that’s some high praise for a car interior.

  • 2013 Dodge DartOld-timers might remember the Dodge Darts of years past, but the 2013 Dodge Dart is no oldy. It’s an all-new compact car replacing the outgoing Dodge Caliber. Wards Auto editors said the new Dart “gives Chrysler a legitimate shot at gaining market share in the compact-car segment, and a stylish, well-conceived and heavily contented interior boosts prospects for success.”
  • 2012 Hyundai Accent Impressed with the “incredible attention to detail” of the 2012 Hyundai Accent subcompact car, editors found the leather-wrapped steering wheel and other appealing interior features were almost too hard to believe, considering the tester’s sticker price of $15,925.
  • 2012 Hyundai Azera The test model stickered at $36,875 and came with heated and cooled front seats, panoramic roof, and motorized rear privacy shade. The

    2012 Hyundai Azera, concluded Wards Auto editors, is “flash, sizzle, substance, and proof there is no substitute for premium materials.”

  • 2012 Infiniti JX35 – Noting that the all-new 2012 Infiniti JX35 luxury crossover has only been on sale a month (at time of publication), Wards Auto editors hailed the JX’s value proposition as “tremendous.”  With a $54,800 price (as tested), the JX is “a stylish, well-appointed, seven-passenger cross/utility vehicle that still feels remarkably car-like and has a panoramic roof that fills the cabin with natural light.”
  • 2013 Mazda CX-5The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover offers a “restrained, straightforward interior approach” in a segment that the publication says is taking the place of a minivan as the “utilitarian vehicle of choice for young families.” Also highlighted as standout interior features: easy fold-flat rear seats and perforated seats that keep passengers cool on hot days.
  • 2012 Range Rover Evoque – Calling it “both luxurious and rugged,” which is somewhat of an interesting contradiction (but pulled off nicely), editors note that the 2012 Range Rover Evoque five-passenger luxury SUV also won the 2012 North American Truck of the Year award. Spending quality time on and off-road never looked so good, apparently.
  • 2012 Volkswagen BeetleEditors remarked that the latest Beetle should prove attractive to consumers, thanks to its “right mix of contemporary technology and familiar aspects that pay tribute to decades of the iconic Bug.”

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