There are a lot of benefits to owning a luxury car. They’re flashy, powerful, and carry brand recognition capable of making other drivers envious. But one thing that sets luxury cars apart from their plebian counterparts is their interiors. The interior of a luxury car is vital to its appeal. No one wants to spend over $50k on a luxury car filled with hard plastic and a stiff ride. People want their luxury cars to have all the creature comforts of their living rooms, with plush seats, soft-touch surfaces, and a ride quality that’s just this side of a flying carpet.
Unfortunately, some car manufacturers feel that they can get away with using sub-par materials and dated designs in their premium-priced cars. Below are ten luxury cars whose interiors leave much to be desired.
10 Ford Thunderbird (2002 version)
When Ford brought the Thunderbird out of the mothballs at the turn of the century, drivers were ecstatic. For decades, the T-bird was Ford’s premier entry-level luxury cruiser, and after decades of ugly models, it was finally back and better than ever. To give credit where it’s due, the new Thunderbird was once of the nicest looking cars that came out that year.
Sadly, things didn’t translate well to the inside. Filled with hard plastics, the T-bird was a long shot from the ritzy interiors of its predecessors. This wouldn’t have mattered if the T-bird was reasonably priced, but with an asking price that started over $30k, such indifference to quality was unacceptable.
9 Nissan GT-R
With an asking price of just under $100k, the GT-R is one of the most expensive cars on this list. Loved for its powerful engine and performance, the GT-R is coveted by sports car enthusiasts everywhere. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, though, because many critics have called the GTR ‘dated’ and not up with the times.
One of the aspects of the GT-R that many find archaic is the interior. It has changed little since its introduction almost a decade ago, and while it looks nice, a closer look would reveal plastics and bygone infotainment system.
8 Lincoln MKT
With the MKT, there’s nothing wrong with the materials that are used. Everything is of decent quality and most people would find it comfortable enough. Critics, however, are split on its design characteristics. While many luxury lines have started to implement two-tone color schemes to help spice things up, the MKT is available with only a solid black dashboard.
This lack of customization options is disappointing, especially for a car that starts at $50k. It’s especially infuriating when you consider that Lincoln has its own upper trim level on some of their cars, that come in a wide variety of interior color palates. Perhaps they felt the MKT wasn’t deserving of such treatment.
7 Mercedes-Benz CLA
As one of the cheapest cars in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup, the CLA has a disadvantage right out of the gate. Mercedes struggles to make good entry-level cars, often trying to make a profit through optional extras. The CLA is no exception, with the base model coming with an abundance of hard plastics and an infotainment system that feels like an afterthought.
While some of these interior issues can be mitigated by optional upgrades, it feels kind of ingenuine to claim that the CLA is an affordable Mercedes, then make the driver spend an arm and a leg getting it to meet basic luxury car standards.
6 Lexus LX
Lexus’ biggest SUV has excellent off-road capabilities, powerful suspension, and a cozy ride. The same can’t be said for the LX’s interior, which is nice, but extremely dated. Design features, like a lack of touch screens and the inability to fold the third-row seats completely down, hurt its overall practicality and appeal.
The LX features one of the worst infotainment systems imaginable. Instead of a touchscreen, like nearly every car these days, the LX uses a clunky joystick that constantly misses inputs and is borderline unusable while driving.
5 Infiniti Q70
Overall, the Q70’s interior can be summed up as ‘meh.’ It’s got some nice materials, but the design hasn’t been updated since the model came out in 2012. The touchscreen is dated beyond belief, while the infotainment system lacks refinement. But the worst part about the Q70 are the seats, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety listed as ‘poor’ due to difficulty attaching child car seats.
The anchors are too deep, meaning that parents are going to struggle to get the seats installed. Hopefully, Nissan will get its act together and fix the Q70’s problems, because, for all its faults, it’s still a nice looking car.
4 Acura ILX
We’ve mentioned before that the ILX is underwhelming. At $25k, it’s one of the cheapest luxury cars on the market today, and the interior seems to be one of the areas where Acura cut costs. Hard plastics abound, with the car often struggling to come across as a luxury vehicle.
But for $25k, you can get an Accord or Civic with premium features and quality interior accents that go beyond anything the ILX can muster. Drivers are probably better buying a top-of-the-line Accord and all the benefits that come with owning one, like reliability, a smooth ride, and sensible tech features.
3 Cadillac ELR
Introduced shortly after the Chevy Volt, the ELR was GM’s attempt at making a luxury version of their breakout hybrid plug-in. On paper, it sounded nice. Unfortunately, the ELR has its share of shortcomings.
Unlike the Volt, the ELR was a coupe. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it weren’t for the sloping roof that caused the interior space to shrink to maddening levels. The back seats were barely big enough to for a Pomeranian, and the rear window was useless. And then there were the thick pillars in the front that hurt overall visibility.
2 Buick Cascada
The Cascada is Buick’s latest attempt at trying to shake the stereotype that their cars are made for old people. On the outside, the Cascada looks like a fun little roadster with a soft top. However, the Cascada has an ugly side, in that, despite their best efforts, Buick is still somewhat stuck in the past.
This is apparent in the Cascada’s center stack, a mess of buttons that party like it’s 2009. The tiny touchscreen is far too small to be used as a GPS, and the infotainment system as a whole lacks many features that are now standard in most cars at its price point. What’s worse is that the car suffers from rattling and road noise, while the seats are uncomfortable when sat in for long periods.
1 Alfa Romeo 4C
This little Italian sports car is made for purists who don’t need things like comfortable seats or modern tech features. Despite costing $66k, the 4C is about as barebones as a luxury car can get. Like many road-legal versions of famous race cars, the 4C is more about the driving experience than comfort or practicality.
While that may satisfy hardcore gearheads looking for a Spartan ride, it won’t sit well with the kind of people who want basic features with their expensive toys. The Porsche 911 and Chevy Corvette both offer a slew of interior features that enhance the thrill of the sports car experience. This makes Alfa’s decision to hold the 4C back all the more questionable, and disappointing.