Car companies put a lot of effort into interiors these days. They’re packed full of technology, clad in all sorts of exotic materials, and have clever features built in. But all too often there are infuriating details which come close to ruining the whole cabin. Here are seven examples of interior fails which get my blood boiling.
1. Piano black plastic
I’m yet to see a manufacturer use this sort of material without making it look cheap and horribly nasty. Depending on how you spec it, the new Mercedes C-Class has the whole centre console coated in the stuff, and it comes close to ruining the whole interior.
2. Fake carbonfibre trim
Once the preserve of the tackier aisles of your local Halfords, fake bits of carbonfibre trim are now a staple of performance car interiors. The Skoda Octavia vRS, for example, has this stuff dotted about the cabin, and it’s a blight on what’s otherwise a very nice interior.
3. Ugly 'stuck on' screens
I’ve ranted about this before when looking at the foibles of modern in-car media systems, but I’ll mention them again here. Topping the list of offenders for these is BMW - whose ugly poking-out screen can be seen above - and Mercedes, which fits something that looks like a stuck-on tablet to many of its models.
4. Blinding shiny bits
We’ve only noticed this in Jaguars, but some cars from the British marque like the XFR-S are awash with chrome details in the cabin. These look great, but when the sun’s at a certain angle, you often get a series of reflections blinding you, especially from low down on the centre console. This isn’t ideal when you’re trying to tame a 550bhp super saloon…
5. Too. Many. Buttons!
A good way to make an interior look awkward is to throw a load of nasty buttons at the dash. Our old Ford Focus ST longtermer was particularly bad for this, and the button-laden centre console was one of our biggest gripes about the car. Fortunately, the facelifted Focus has a much cleaner design.
6. Gear shift pain
It’s surprising how many cars out there require a particularly careful gear change to avoid clouting your elbow on a piece of ill-placed trim. In an older VW Passat, for example, it’s the seat bolsters which get in the way during furious shifting.
7. The pit of doom
That infuriating problem of dropping stuff down the side of seats - things like keys, loose change, wallets, phones and pretty much anything else you don’t want disappearing into the abyss - is something you’ll find in almost every car ever made. That being the case, it seems mad that no car manufacturer has come up with a decent solution to solve this catastrophic first-world problem. Come on, car makers of the world, sort it out!