Now, perhaps more than ever, there is a huge emphasis on the quality of cars interiors. Over time, they have been fast-tracked into becoming one of the most detailed and technologically efficient components of a brand new car. But what makes a good interior? And just why, as motorists, do we care so much about it?
The answer to the last question is pretty simple, while the outside design of our car is clearly important so you don't have your neighbours grimacing everytime you roll in from work, its the interior where you spend all your time. And with the average Brit spending over a day stuck in traffic a year, its fair to say most of us are getting pretty familiar with our surroundings.
Recent studies conducted by WhatCar? Magazine have revealed the drivers are beginning to prioritse interior design over pretty much everything else. To give you some indication of just how much sitting in a comfy chair really matters to the paying public, 'Relaxing and quiet driving environment' & 'Interior finish' were given as a priority, well ahead of both vehicle price, fuel economy and exterior styling. Finally, we have an explanation for why anyone bought a Chrysler in the early 2000s.
This is only highlighting what the design heads at the major manufacturers have known for some time. The quality of an interior is vital and with more advanced tech and materials at their disposal, the big boys have upped the game when it comes to comfortable and well-designed interiors.
What makes a good interior has changed markedly in a very short space of time. Much like car exteriors, you can pretty easily identify the era of any vehicle by its cabin design. So obviously influenced are they by the culture, fashion and trends at the time. There is no better example of this than the 1960s. While absolutely fantastic, there's no doubt they were in their own league from most other decades and would be clearly out of place in any generation either side. Just take a look at this fantastic Pontaic GTC below:
In the last few years, interiors and their design has accelerated rapidly. Due to the widespread availability of new technology and its continuing improvements, almost every car is fitted with a host of useful kit that would have been unthinkable,even ten years ago. These days, you don't have to drive one of the "luxury models" to benefit from the shiniest and most comfortable interiors. In fact, far from it.
FIVE OF THE BEST INTERIORS & NEW TECHNOLOGY
It maybe shouldn't come as a surprise that a vehicle from Audi's increasingly popular range, would feature in a list of the best interiors. The brands reputation as a market leader when it comes to high-spec, all singing all dancing interiors has only been enhanced in the last few years. In part thanks to the development of the state-of-the-art Virtual Cockpit system - which you can read more about here - which has only gone further to cement their claims as being ahead of the game in this department .
While we've selected the A4, in truth this credit could apply to most Audi's. But thanks to its balance of affordability and great engines, we feel the A4 is the better all round option. Because the Virtual Cockpit is responsible for so many of the A4's interior functions, that means you get a relatively clean, polished look to the dashboard. Everything has been created with high-blend, soft-touch materials which ooze class and luxury.
This list wouldn't be complete without a Volvo. The swedish brand are on their own planet when it comes to luxury and comofrt. Their plush and safe interior designs have resulted in widespread acclaim. In recent years, these have also been home to some of the best technology money can buy and no car is this more evident than the XC60. Sitting square in the middle of the Volvo range, the XC60 offers all the benefits of its bigger brother, the XC90, but without the bulky frame. Everything in the XC60 looks and feels good, and the Sensus infotainment system will do most of the complicated controls for you. For a small fee, you can plunge into the future with 'Pilot Assist' a fully autonomous safety feature which will, in certain situations, drive the car for you.
For no other manufacturer is opinion more polarised. Tesla's range of futuristic cars, are while clearly a phenomenal advancement in modern cars, still derided but more traditional petrol heads and classic car enthusiasts. But even the latter would struggle to find much against the Model S interior. The 17" iPad styled touchscreen on the dashboard can do pretty much anything you ask it, from dedicated web browsing to controlling your cars climate and suspension. If you want a modern car interior, you'll be hard pressed for anything as appropriate as the Tesla Model S.
The Discovery Sport is at the top of the game when it comes to providing an interior experience that works for everyone. Interior technology doesn't have to start and finish with a pretty infotainment system, the Discovery Sport isn't an overly large vehicle, but it manages to offer plenty of flexible space for all its passengers. You get almost a metre of rear legroom space and the Discovery's strength as an extremely capable family car is only amplified by the wealth of equipment and customisable benefits you can bring in for passengers in the back.