Seven brands earn spots on the Wards 10 Best Interiors list for the first time, while three returning winners introduce groundbreaking designs and features that promise to win over new customers.

Now in its seventh year, the Wards 10 Best Interiors list recognizes outstanding achievement in aesthetics, comfort, ergonomics, materials usage, fit-and-finish and user-friendly electronics. There is no price cap, and each year’s field of nominees consists of interiors that are all-new or have been significantly improved from the prior year.

This year, 31 interiors were eligible, and WardsAuto editors evaluated and scored them during February and March.

Based on automaker product cycles, the nominee pool tilted heavily toward the luxury side of the market. In past years, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz have populated the list, but this year only Lexus finds its way back to the winners’ circle. Honda and Mazda are the only other winners this year to have made the list previously.

This year’s winners, in alphabetical order:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia ($50,490 as tested)
  • Bentley Bentayga ($278,730)
  • Buick LaCrosse ($50,270)
  • Honda CR-V ($34,635)
  • Lexus LC 500 ($102,995)
  • Lincoln Continental ($72,870)
  • Maserati Levante ($90,000)
  • Mazda CX-9 ($45,855)
  • Mini Countryman ($38,450)
  • Subaru Impreza ($29,260)

“We strive every year to compile a list that is diverse, representing as many segments and price points as possible,” says Drew Winter, senior content director at WardsAuto.

“The fact that seven brands are receiving their first Wards 10 Best Interiors trophies is a testament to the advances made across the entire auto industry. Prospective buyers in all vehicle segments want and deserve functional and beautiful interiors. Here are our 10 favorites.”

Alfa Romeo returned to the U.S. market a few years ago with its limited-purpose 4C coupe and convertible 2-seater, but its new Giulia sport sedan delivers an interior sure to alter the dynamic of the highly competitive Lower Luxury car sector.

From the F1-inspired steering wheel and creamy leather seats to the matte-finish genuine walnut trim on the doors, instrument panel and stylishly arrayed center console, the Giulia does its Italian design heritage proud.

WardsAuto editors rave about the expertly applied metallic accents, outstanding build quality, artistic lines, the intuitive control screen that blends neatly into the instrument panel and the tidy white stitching that sweeps across the soft-touch black IP and upper door trim.

Like Alfa, Bentley lands its first Wards 10 Best Interiors win with the Bentayga, a cabin that sets the standard for ultra-luxury SUVs. This is Bentley’s first ute, but its lavish and functional interior suggests the British automaker unleashed its best designers to integrate ideas and themes they had been pondering for years.

“The leather is so soft and smooth I can barely keep my hands off it,” writes one WardsAuto editor on his scoresheet. Massaging seats, a state-of-the-art infotainment system in both rows, a $4,700 Naim premium audio system, top-notch driver-assistance features and a lovely fold-out leather bench seat ideal for polo-match tailgating make the Bentayga undeniably appealing.

Yes, it’s very expensive, but Bentleys are largely hand-built and the craftsmanship inside reflects that. The interior’s most striking feature is its luscious burnt orange leather, marketed under the name “Newmarket Tan,” with diamond stitching to resemble the quilted shoulder of a British shooting jacket.