Automotive Interior Of The Year Awards

The Votes are in; Eight Automakers take Home 24 Awards for Best Interiors and Interior Features

DETROIT, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Which automakers are building vehicles with the best interiors? And which OEMs and suppliers are providing the best design and convenience features such as navigation or sound systems, seats, and instrument clusters? And which vehicle has the best cup holder?

The votes are in and the big winners of the 7th annual automotive "Interior of the Year" awards for all categories are DaimlerChrysler with a total of six, Ford with five and General Motors with four awards. Honda and Audi claimed three each, followed by Mazda, Subaru and Toyota with one apiece.

In the 12 "overall vehicle interior" categories, however, General Motors took four awards, Ford was second with three top place finishes (including the Rover brand) and Audi ranked third with two top awards. All others claimed one each.

Conducted annually by Wards Auto World magazine, the awards were presented today to executives of the automakers and their suppliers at a special program held on the floor of the Auto Interiors Show in Detroit. Winners were determined on two separate ballots, one exclusively for news media and the other for members of the industry at-large.

Industry at-large winners: Overall Interior

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 honors for the best interior in a Premium-Priced Truck.

News media winners: Overall Interior

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.

The Subaru B9 Tribeca was voted to have the Best Interior in the Premium-Priced CUV category.

All Agree on Best Premium-Priced Car Interior

That leaves on one interior category: Premium-Priced Car. This was the only overall interior category where both the industry at-large voters and the news media agreed on the winner, and the Lincoln Zephyr interior took the honors.

New for 2006: Best Interior Features Categories

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 awards are summarized in this table:

    Award Category          Industry At-Large Vote     News Media Vote

    Overall Vehicle

    Popular-Priced Car      Pontiac Solstice           Audi A3
    Premium-Priced Car                    Lincoln Zephyr
    Popular-Priced CUV      Chevy HHR                  Mazda CX-7
    Premium-Priced CUV      Subaru B9 Tribeca          Audi Q7
    Popular-Priced Truck    Chevy Tahoe                Toyota FJ Cruiser
    Premium-Priced Truck    Cadillac Escalade          Land Rover Range
                                                        Rover Sport

    Interior Features

    Best Instrument Cluster               Ford Mustang  (Delphi)
    Best Navigation System                Acura  (Alpine)
    Best Cup Holder                       Mercedes M-Class
                                          (Fischer Automotive)
    Best Sound System       Dodge Magnum               Audi S8
                            (Boston Acoustics)         (Bang & Olufsen)
    Best Seat System        Dodge Charger              Mercedes S-Class -
    (Driver)                (Johnson Controls)          Mercedes
    Best Interior           Dodge Grand Caravan -      Honda Ridgeline -
    Innovation              Stow N' Go Seat System     trunk in pickup bed
                             (Chrysler Group &          (Meridian Automotive
                              Magna/Intier)              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.

To be eligible for this year's competition, a vehicle had to be new or redesigned for the 2006 model year car (or a 2007 model available for sale in calendar year 2006). Selection was based on overall styling, functionality, quality, fit and finish, convenience, and special features. Employees of OEMs representing nominated vehicles were not allowed to vote.

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