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One of the biggest knocks Chrysler has gotten in recent years from automotive journalists is for its interiors, which often felt a grade below the competition.

Chrysler and its financial savior, Fiat, obviously took note. The interiors of existing models were overhauled with softer, high-quality feeling materials and controls shortly after the Fiat takeover. Now, the industry will be recognizing the company for the improvements.

Dodge's new Dart and Chrysler's re-designed 300 Luxury Series have been named to 'Ward's 10 Best Interiors' List for 2012.

"The new 2013 Dodge Dart is the first of our next-generation interiors and we are honored that WardsAuto World has chosen the Dart for their 10 Best Interiors list," said Klaus Busse, who is Head of Interior Design for Chrysler Group LLC.

"We are able to give Dart customers a well-crafted, high-quality interior similar in its execution to that of the award-winning interior of the Charger and infused with exciting colors, eye-catching ambient lighting and state-of-the-art technology."

For the Chrysler 300, the company used a Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel, center console, side panels and upper front- and rear-door panels. Nappa leather was used for the door armrests, center console and seats. Natural Pore Mocha real wood trim was used as well.

Other cars making the 'Ward's 10 Best Interiors' list: Audi A7, Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Azera, Mazda CX-5, Infiniti JX35, Range Rover Evoque, and the Volkswagen Beetle. The WardsAuto editorial staff spent near two months evaluating 40 vehicles with new or significantly improved interiors.

"We saw a tremendously diverse group of interiors this year, and it's obvious to us that auto makers are pushing their design staffs harder than ever for interiors that are beautifully appointed, well-equipped and extremely comfortable," said WardsAuto World Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter.

Ward's editors scored and ranked nominated vehicles based on ergonomics, safety, material selection, overall value and aesthetics.

The judges also rated each interior's controls and displays to determine how effectively vehicle information is communicated to the driver.

Lavish, colorful interiors are nothing new. But in recent years, some of the styling fare that we saw in interiors like the '57 Chevrolet Bel Air, or 1966 Ford Thunderbird, just to name two examples, seemed to stutter as corporate parts-bin sharing became so prevalent.

With technologies such as LED lighting, Thin Film Transistor (TFT) displays and computer-controlled entertainment systems, it just may be that the automotive interior is poised for a major styling renaissance.

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