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Ward's announces its 10 Best Interiors winners… or at least some of them

The winners of the coveted Ward’s 10 Best Interiors awards have been announced — or at least seven of them have been so far. In a “teaser” release that might have been orchestrated by the folks at Ford who’ve been holding back the Bronco, the final three Ward’s winners will be revealed over the next couple of days.

So far, execs from premium brands Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln will be picking up their trophies, and so will those from Chevrolet, Kia and Toyota.

The first seven winners in this toe-tingly game of “who will be next” are – in no particular order, as Ward’s doesn’t crown an overall champion – the Lincoln Aviator, Kia Telluride, BMW X6 M, Chevrolet Corvette C8, Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes-Benz GLB, and the Toyota Highlander.

The judges said the Aviator had “so much attention to detail,” including chimes performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in place of warning beeps. The X6 M “whips up the perfect recipe, blending sport and luxury with a generous dash of artistry,” while still noting that “a vehicle that stickers north of $130,000 (US) also needs a high dose of luxury…”

For the Kia Telluride, the judges said their US$47,255 test vehicle was “not inexpensive,” but had “features and materials on par with luxury brands costing twice as much.”

The Toyota Highlander was described as “very well equipped and nicely designed overall,” and with an instrument panel “resembling a tuning fork turned on its side and housing an infotainment screen measuring 12.3 inches.”

As for the Corvette, Ward’s said it borrowed a phrase from Top Gun, saying “the sexy C8 Corvette’s alluring exterior is writing cheques this dramatic interior is fully capable of cashing.” Whew!

So what vehicles will take those three remaining spots, once Ward’s decides we’ve waited long enough to know? There are quite a few in the “final nominee” category: Honda Passport, Mazda CX-30, Range Rover Evoque, Cadillac CTS-V and XT6, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Kia Seltos, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Hyundai Sonata, Audi e-tron, and Subaru Outback and Legacy. (Vegas has reopened its casinos, so it’s not too late to place a wager, y’know…)

Testing is usually done with all the judges receiving the vehicles in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into that. Instead, Ward’s made the process virtual this year. One editor looked at a vehicle in person, and used a phone to shoot live video while discussing the relevant features, and while the other judges tuned in on their laptops.

If all goes as planned, the winners will receive their trophies at a conference planned in Novi, Michigan in late August. Check back with this post and we’ll update it with the final three winners as they are announced in the coming days…