Some small interior thoughts from the L.A Auto show

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One of the big news there is the all new Honda CR-V.
I am not as critical as many about the design.
I think it does exactly what it is supposed to do. Which is keep the CR-V faithfuls in the Honda family.

But… Once you step inside, you are greeted with the hardest and cheapest looking plastics in the industry.
Quite a disappointment.
Especially on a car that isn’t that cheap, really.
I would say that, quality wise, this is not up to what most of the competition is offering .

On the other end, the much cheaper 2012 Kia Rio was a good surprise.

Sure, the plastics are also of the hard kind. But we are talking about a much cheaper car. Grain and texture are much better. And things aren’t as shinny as in the CR-V.
Plus there are a couple of really interesting looking touches here and there.
It is really one of the nicest looking interior in the segment.

Another great interior is the new Range Rover Evoque.

Of course, it is an expensive car.
But it manages to surprise with interesting shapes and a choice of great materials and colors.
It is original and modern as well as classy and refined.

I have to say that my favorite was the all new 2013 Ford Escape.

And I wasn’t expecting it.
Sure, just like in the pictures, it does look a bit busy and over designed. But the plastics used are some of the best I have seen in that price range and higher.
And the glass panel roof is fantastic.

Everything you tough feels and looks solid.
This is quite a high quality interior for a car that will no doubt be very popular.
Not only it is centuries ahead of the old Escape. It is a giant leap above the new CR-V.

Other small, more general notes about the show:

-Both the new Mazda CX-5 and Subaru BTS are some of the most boring cars I have ever seen.
-The Buick Verano has a surprisingly nice interior.
-The back seat of the Volt is shockingly small.
-The Fiat 500 Abarth is one aggressive looking small car.

Conversation 10 comments

  1. Interesting comments Vince. I find it ironic that the Asian car companies are getting beaten in the same way the NA cars were beaten by them back in the day.

    Can you post some detailed pics of the CX5 interior? Specifically the gauges and other angles? Thanks!

  2. I'm glad to hear that the Escape is as impressive as the hype is making it out to be. I am looking forward to taking one for a spin.

  3. Wow, Vince proving his ignorance again.

    The new CR-V actually HAS soft touch materials on the doors and dash. Hard plastics everywhere? Not so much.

    Vince, you are a disgrace to fair and unbiased journalists everywhere.

    Another journalist who HAS been in the G4 CR-V

    PS- you are the ONLY person who I've ever heard call the CX-5 boring. Proves you have no taste.

    I fully expect to not to post this either, since you can't let anyone see any other objections to you. Ridiculous.

  4. Why is Honda using that awful radio unit from the Civic? It looks cheap, and it feels cheap. I think that the radio unit is a huge contributing factor in terms of Honda's new interiors feeling cheap. I hope the door panels in the new CR-V are not as cheap as the ones in the Civic. It would be such a shame, especially since the interior in the outgoing CR-V was nearly perfect in my opinion. Great fit and finish, great materials, ergonomically sound.

    I like the look of Ford's new interiors, but having spent a week in a new Focus Titanium, I found that there was a very poor use of space. The interior feels very claustrophobic. Now the Escape appears to have adopted that same look and feel. I believe that one of the reasons the current Escape sold so well was because of its useful interior space, and the feeling of openness in the cockpit, owing to a flat IP, and large windows. We will see how this does for Ford. I hope they didn't fit the AWFUL dual clutch auto in the Escape. Also, I'm pretty skeptical of the MFT updates. My experience with it was of constant freezing and delayed reactions, followed by complete crash.

  5. That CRV radio could have been much improved in appearance by simply putting a frame around it much like the Navi system. Honda still has editing problems in their designs…. even though I like this CRV very much in general. But then its not surprised since their interior designs have been terrible in Honda and Acuras for the last decade. I'm not a fan of the CRV's gauges.

  6. Anon 4:32

    Showing that the Honda fanboys don't know what to do now that both the media and consumers aren't fawning over the brand anymore. Denial isn't going to make these cars acceptable.

    The HVAC controls in the new CRV look like the kind of optional A/C systems that used to be available in vehicles from the 60s and 70s. If you wanted A/C, they attached the switches and components onto the bottom of the dashboard. Otherwise, it was left empty. It doesn't really look properly integrated.

  7. It's amazing how much superior the Escape is compared to the CRV. Night and day actually. The one thing that I do not like about the Escape interior is the CD slot. It looks like the top of a mailbox.

  8. I always look at a car's interior as the ultimate deciding factor on whether to purchase a new vehicle, because you spend most of your time inside instead of under the hood.

    That said, Honda CR-Vs have always had super hard plastic on the inside, so this comes as no surprise. I've owned two CR-Vs in the last few years and the interiors were laid out well enough but just hard, hard, hard to the touch.

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