Top 10 Interiors for 2005

When it comes to the car you drive, a good-looking exterior will always turn heads — but what really counts is what's inside. We're talking about the cabin, that part of your vehicle that's your home away from home when the rubber meets the road. Of course, not all interiors are created equal. For every wood-lined, leather-wrapped wonder of modern design, there are dozens of others that are, well, significantly less impressive. If you're one of those who appreciates a handsome cabin, this list — of the Top 10 Interiors for 2005 — is for you.

  1. Audi A8

    1. Audi A8/TT:

Audi wrote the book when it comes to crafting stylish cabins. Slide into the A8's if you're looking for luxury. With loads of rear legroom and enough wood to fuel a forest fire, the A8 offers an environment that's more jaw-droppingly luxe than that of any other vehicle in its class. If sporty's more your thing, you'll love the TT's industrial-themed surroundings, which meld modern and retro elements.

  • BMW X5

    2. BMW X5:

  • BMW cabins are known for being governed by an air of almost spartan restraint. Not so with the X5's. There's no skimping on the poplar, and the leather is so creamy, it could raise your cholesterol. The X5's cabin is easily one of our favorite places to spend our time.

    The SC 430 offers one of the most exquisitely finished cabins we've ever seen. Its styling cues call to mind a plush drawing room in a Riviera hotel. Burnished wood is everywhere — and if you want even more timber, a spring-loaded wooden cover can be used to hide much of the center stack. The best part? It's a convertible, so passers-by will be able to enjoy your cabin with you.

    With its deeply recessed gauges and idiosyncratic layout, the Prius's cockpit looks like something from a sci-fi flick. We especially like being able to watch a digital rendering of the inner workings of the car's hybrid technology on the center display screen. Vegans can enjoy this car in good conscience; this environmentally friendly hatch is resolutely leatherfree.

    If you're the outdoorsy type, the Element's rugged, go-anywhere interior will no doubt whet your whistle. There's no carpeting on the floors, just a rugged material called Thermoplastic Olefin that may be wiped down or swept with a broom. And it's available with waterproof seats. Surfers and mountain bikers, the line starts here.

    These Maseratis boast stunning sheet metal, but scoot into the cabin, and things get even better. Curvy lines, an elegantly clean aesthetic — on the inside, these cars look like something from a very glamorous foreign film, circa 1965. The only thing missing is Sophia Loren in the passenger seat.

    Brushed aluminum. Bird's eye maple. Supple cowhide. With the storied Rolls-Royce name behind it and a price tag of over $300 grand, you'd expect the Phantom's interior to be heaven on earth — and it is. The only bad thing about getting inside this car is getting back out again.

    The Sienna's spacious interior offers a lot more luxury and style than you have a right to expect from a minivan; slide inside, and you'll swear you've stepped into a Lexus. Polished wood touches and baby-soft leather make this van's cabin a leader in its class.

    When you settle into the cockpit of the Cayenne, you get a leather-drenched experience that delights all the senses. The artfully lit cabin seduces the eye with its blend of high gloss and performance edge. And the cabin feels even better than it looks. We couldn't stop running our fingers over the downy suede that lines the roof.

    Thank goodness for the Passat, the car that proves you don't have to pay an arm and a leg to ride in style. Its interior is clean, modern and surprisingly upscale, given that this is an affordable family car. For the money, you won't find a better-looking cabin.