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What is the Best Midsize Luxury SUV Interior?

September 21st, 2011

Luxury midsize SUVs and crossovers typically range in price from $40,000 to $75,000, decently equipped.  For that kind of money, most buyers expect a thoughtfully designed interior with a flowing, well-integrated design and rich-looking, high quality materials.  But which model has the best midsize luxury SUV interior?

We won’t trouble you with our opinion, or with the opinion of the many self-proclaimed experts issuing various consumer reports.  Instead, we invited over 100 midsize luxury SUV / crossover owners to conduct a detailed, hands-on comparison of 16 top-selling midsize luxury SUVs and crossovers.  They rated over 100 attributes for each vehicle, including 11 detailed ratings for interior appearance and interior quality.  Then, we statistically summarized their ratings into a handy summary that gives you a quick, clear look at how each models fairs over a variety of attributes, including which has the best midsize luxury SUV interior.  So, here is what over 100 owners of these vehicles found to be the best interior when they compared across models.

1st runner up:  There is a rare 3-way tie for second place for overall best midsize luxury SUV interior appearance.  Here are the 3 1st runners up:

Lexus GX460:  The GX460 interior is liked for the overall quality of its interior materials, including the soft feel and rich smell of its top-rated aerated seat leather.  Segment owners like the quality look, clear lighting, and easy readability of GX’s gauges.  They like the center console, with its soft split sliding arm rests and solid, comfortable, well-placed gear shift.

Lexus RX350:  Segment owners like the overall quality of interior materials and the look and feel of the instrument panel and seat material.  They rate the gauges, with their sharp white back-lighting on black background and soothing blue ambient lighting, as the best-in-class.  They also rate the steering wheel best-in-class, citing the look and feel of its wood and leather trim.

BMW X6:  Segment owners judge the quality of interior materials second only to the #1 rated vehicle for interior appearance.  They give top scores to seat appearance and the quality of the buttery soft seat material.  They like the leather feel, smell, and quality stitching and the sporty, 3-spoke steering wheel, with its thick rim, sculpted grips, well-integrated buttons, and quality metal trim appearance.  The unique gateless gear shift design, with its precision, high quality look, rich materials, and angled orientation to the driver draws the top rating.

The winner:  The best luxury midsize SUV interior is not Lexus, not BMW, not Mercedes, not Audi.  It is the Infiniti FX35.

Infinity FX35:  Segment owners like the clean, symmetrical design with its graceful, curving lines, the unique horizontal sound control shelf, orderly control layout, and thoughtful details like the rich looking analogue clock.  Despite a comparably equipped price $15,000 less than the highest priced competitors, FX’s interior material quality rates the best of all 16 vehicles tested.  Segment owners like its rich looking chrome on black controls, pillowed door panel inserts, and the look, feel, and smell of its diamond cross-stitched leather seats.  The gauges rate best-in-class, with their red needles and crisp purple-blue and white back-lit graphics.

Want to compare the SUVs on your shopping list for interior appearance or some other attribute?  Just click the SUV icon on the upper right of the home page, pick the category of SUVs you are interested in, and select the models you want to compare.  You won’t get our opinions, but you will get something you can’t find anywhere else:  the compiled ratings of over a hundred owners of that class of vehicles who compared all the models, hands-on.