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The Best Compact Sedan Interior

August 20th, 2011

The compact sedan segment owners have spoken.  For exterior styling, the Hyundai Elantra is the best compact sedan when it comes to looks, followed by the Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruz.  But what about the inside, where the owner spends most of his or her time?

We assembled over 100 compact sedan owners to carefully evaluate 11 of the best-selling compact sedans in America.  Included were the all-new 2012 Civic and Focus, and the new-for-2011 Elantra, Cruze, and Jetta.  We had them rate each model on 87 attributes, including 10 detailed interior appearance attributes.  Here are what they found to be the best compact sedan interiors.

The 3th runner up:  The 2012 Ford Focus Sedan.  The Focus interior is seen as new, distinctive, and attractive, with its curved, 2-tone door panels, sporty 4-spoke steering wheel, attractive blue lit gauges, and high quality materials.

The 2rd runner up:  The 2012 Honda Civic.  Compact sedan owners liked Civic’s high quality seat material, nicely finished steering wheel, sporty gauges, and driver-oriented center instrument panel controls.

The 1st runner up:  The new-for-2011 Chevrolet Cruze.  Cruze’s top-rated seats and seat material, steering wheel, center instrument panel, and quality of interior materials surprised some compact sedan owners, who were surprised to see this level of finish and execution in a Chevrolet compact sedan.  The Cruze rated above average or best-in-class across all 10 detailed interior appearance ratings.

The winner:  The new-for-2011 Hyundai Elantra.  Taking the top rating for 9 of 10 detailed interior ratings, Elantra edged out the Chevrolet Cruze by a nose for overall interior appearance.  Elantra’s overall design is seen as fresh, classy, and luxurious, with flowing, well-integrated shapes, attractive seat fabrics, and high quality trim.

So, Elantra wins the interior beauty contest.  But, let’s get practical.  What about comfort?  All that beauty is of little benefit if you feel cramped inside, or if you arrive at your destination with a sore back.  Which compact sedans are most comfortable for the driver?  Later this week, we report on which compact sedans segment owners found have the most comfortable front seating areas.  But, you don’t have to wait.  See for yourself by selecting the compact sedan segment and then scrolling down to select the front seat attribute.  You’ll get the top 3 compact sedans in order of front seat comfort and roominess.