Helping car buyers look beyond a vehicle’s outward appearance and focus more on the beauty within
New-car shoppers don’t have to spend top dollar to buy a car with an impressive interior. Today there are vehicles at nearly every price point that stand out among the crowd due to high-quality interior design and technology offerings.
“A lot of car shoppers may think you can’t expect a remarkable interior unless you’re buying an expensive luxury vehicle, but that isn’t necessarily the case,” said Tara Trompeter, managing editor for Autotrader. “Many automakers have upped their game when it comes to car interiors across their lineups, whether you’re talking about their entry-level model or their flagship vehicle. While people often talk about a vehicle’s exterior design, the truth is that car buyers spend most of their time inside the vehicle and not just admiring it from the outside, so interior design and function is high priority for most car shoppers.”
Editors capped the base-model price tag at $50,000 when compiling this list, and several of the vehicles featured come in well below that figure. Shoppers who do a little research will discover you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to buy a vehicle with a notable interior.
All vehicles on this year’s 10 Best Car Interiors Under $50,000 list are poised to deliver an enjoyable inside-the-car experience for drivers and passengers alike. Check out the latest selections for 2021 (unranked and listed below in alphabetical order):
10 Best Car Interiors Under $50,000 for 2021
2021 Buick Envision
A redesign for 2021 has repositioned the Envision to compete with class leaders while undercutting them on price. Step inside the new Envision and you might think you’ve entered a more expensive European luxury crossover. Just a few interior options include perforated leather seating, a dual-pane sunroof and a color head-up display.
2021 Genesis G80
Not only does the Genesis G80 have a striking exterior, but its interior is spacious, well-crafted and well-appointed. Everything the driver touches has a premium feel to it, and passengers will be comfortable in the roomy seats. One of the G80’s many strong suits is value; you won’t find another midsize sedan starting under $50k from a competing luxury brand with an interior this nice.
2021 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic quite simply is one of the most well-rounded cars money can buy. On top of that, it has a great interior for its price tag, and the upper trims boast impressive interior features while keeping the price affordable. It has plenty of room for both passengers and cargo, and it uses a thoughtful interior design with good ergonomics and nice material quality.
2021 Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai has been stepping up its game in just about every category including interior quality, with a prime example being the cabin of the Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. The inside of the Elantra is so nice that it puts this Hyundai on more competitive ground. The redesigned 2021 Elantra has more interior space than its predecessor and features an attractive design.
2021 Kia K5
The Kia K5 is an all-new midsize sedan, replacing the outgoing Optima with a price far below $50,000. The inside of the K5 is fantastic, especially in the sporty GT trim. On top of a performance upgrade, the GT model includes unique interior style accents you won’t find in the rest of the lineup like synthetic leather sport seats. The K5 has an interior design that is premium and driver-centric, reminding us of a German sport sedan.
2021 Lincoln Corsair
The interior of the Lincoln Corsair is a quiet, serene sanctuary that is comfortable for everyone inside. It also has sliding and reclining back seats, an uncommon luxury for this segment. This feature not only improves passenger comfort, but it also allows you to customize your interior to optimize passenger space, cargo space or some combination of both.
The Mazda3 impresses in a lot of ways, including its interior. Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the compact Mazda3 has a premium look and feel without a premium price tag. Cabin materials are upscale, especially in the higher trims, and the infotainment system is one of the most intuitive in its class.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class may have lost some of its quirkiness with its 2021 redesign, but the interior got much nicer than its predecessor. The Mercedes-Benz brand has been on a roll with top-notch interior quality in its most recently redesigned models, and we’re happy that streak is continuing with its most affordable crossover.
2021 Nissan Kicks
The smallest SUV in the Nissan lineup got a refresh for the 2021 model year. The Kicks’ new interior is a nice improvement packed with standard features, even on the most affordable base trim, and the cargo space is above average for a subcompact crossover. New standard features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and available tech features include an 8-inch infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster, a Wi-Fi hotspot and more.
2021 Volkswagen ID.4
The Volkswagen ID.4 is an all-new, all-electric compact crossover that we’ve been patiently waiting for, and now that it has finally arrived, we’re impressed with its smooth and peppy electric drivetrain and its high-tech interior. It’s very tech-focused, centered on a responsive infotainment system that is truly smartphone-like. Most of the controls are touch-sensitive in lieu of traditional buttons and knobs, which is risky, but it works well in this Volkswagen.