June 9, 2006

News media and industry differ in choices of best automotive interiors

Detroit, Michigan – The 7th annual automotive “Interior of the Year” awards sponsored by Wards Auto World revealed differing opinions among industry judges and news media judges. Winners were determined on two separate ballots, one exclusively for news media and the other for members of the industry at-large.

In the voting by industry at-large, GM’s Pontiac Solstice won in Best Popular-Priced Car interior; the Chevy HHR won for Best Popular-Priced CUV interior; the Chevy Tahoe won Best Popular-Priced Truck interior; and the Cadillac Escalade took top honours for the best interior in a Premium-Priced Truck.

In the same categories, members of the news media voted the Audi A3 Best Popular-Priced Car interior; the Mazda CX-7 the best interior in Popular-Priced CUV category; the Toyota FJ Cruiser Best Interior — Popular-Priced Truck; and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport as having the best interior in the Premium-Priced Truck category.

New this year were six product feature categories that journalists and the industry at-large also voted on: Best Navigation System, Best Seat System, Best Instrument Cluster, Best Sound System, Best Overall Interior Innovation, and even Best Cup Holder.

The two voting groups showed much more agreement in the interior features categories where they picked the same winner in three of them: Best Navigation System — Acura, manufactured by Alpine; Best Instrument Cluster – – Ford Mustang, by Delphi; and Best Cup Holder — Mercedes M-Class, designed by Fischer Automotive.

Dodge swept the awards by the industry at-large voters in the three other categories: Best Sound System — Dodge Magnum for its Boston Acoustics system; Best (Driver) Seat System — Dodge Charger by Johnson Controls; and Best Interior Innovation — Dodge Grand Caravan, for its Stow N’ Go seats, developed by Chrysler Group and Magna/Intier.

However, members of the media picked three different models for these categories. Their choices were: Best Sound System — Audi S8 for its Bang & Olufsen stereo; Best (Driver) Seat System went to Mercedes S-Class, which makes it own seats; and the Best Interior Innovation was the Honda Ridgeline for its trunk in the pickup bed, developed by Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc.

The winners of the annual “Interior of the Year” awards competition were selected from a field of 53 finalists picked by the editors of Wards Auto World’s various auto industry magazines and newsletters. In all, 69 automotive journalists and 991 industry members participated in the voting which took place via the Internet between April 15 and May 15, 2006.

Connect with Autos.ca