Jeep Compass ($35,555)
Materials show huge improvement over previous generation but about par for segment and price. UConnect once again is excellent; screen is clear, bright and easy to navigate.

Kia Niro ($32,445)
Headliner feels like cardboard. High-quality, low-gloss coatings can hide multitude of sins, but there is a substantial amount of dull gray trim in here. Nice gauges and hybrid infographic.

Kia Sportage ($33,395)
Four rows of buttons in center stack are two too many, but UX features and ergonomics are excellent. Priced competitively with Honda CR-V, but CR-V is superior.

Lexus LC 500 ($102,995)
Now we know what a baseball feels like, cradled in a catcher’s mitt. Materials on par with more-expensive Bentley. Alcantara headliner from stem to stern! Central touchpad nicely set up.

Lincoln Continental ($72,870)
Delivers on the details: ivory leather with brown piping, silver wood, Alcantara headliner and exemplary cupholders. Perfect balance between touchscreen and real knobs, buttons.

Maserati Levante ($90,000)
Luscious saddle-brown leather accented by white stitching; beautiful “Zegna edition Silk” feels like coarse industrial-strength fabric. UConnect infotainment system works great.

Mazda CX-9 ($45,855)
Blends a lot of disparate materials, such as real rosewood and aluminum, in artistic way. Third row is comfy, especially with ability to slide second row fore and aft. Nice head-up display.

Mercedes E-Class ($83,055)
Beautiful pinstriped wood on doors and IP – very yacht-like. Cheap plastic cupholders detract from metal switches and quilted leather. Stunning first impression, but a bit overdone.

Mini Countryman ($38,450)
Great material quality, design and technology at a fair price. Largest Mini ever finally gives Americans the space they need. Thanks, BMW, for iDrive learnings.

Nissan Armada ($62,730)
Unconvincing wood trim and a whole lot of it, but gathered fabric for drapery effect on doors is distinctive. Suffers from button/control overload; backseat entertainment options plentiful.

Nissan Rogue ($35,475)
Upholstery and trim impressive for this segment and price range, but there’s a lot of cheap black plastic that detracts from the positive vibe. Two in-floor storage bins in cargo hold.

Subaru Impreza Limited ($29,260)
Both Limited and Sport versions are worthy of recognition, with updated Starlink HMI and infotainment system and premium matte-finish materials. Faux carbon fiber is fetching.

Toyota Corolla ($24,831)
Blue piping brings freshness of exterior color inside, but interior overall is awfully dark. Too much hard, black plastic. Ergonomics are OK but skinny, shallow audio knobs are hard to grab.

Volvo S90 ($66,365)
Some of the best materials (wood, speaker grates, etc.) ever used in a luxury sedan. Probably would have gotten the nod if XC90 had not shown us much of this finery a year ago.

tmurphy@wardsauto.com