Driver Verdicts Dash layout & controls rated
It's a tricky task for designers to combine all the controls expected of a modern car in a logical, clear and ergonomic way.
Here we reveal the five cars that do it best, according to the people who use them every day.
Cabin star: Range Rover
Top 5 cars for dashboard layout and controls
Land Rover Range Rover (2002-)
Driver rating 94.4%
You say: You can go from field to Park Lane with this car. Excellent for hauling large loads and trailers - you never need to hire a van.
We say: Double glazing keeps wind noise low and both petrol and diesel engines are whisper-quiet - we measured noise in the cabin at a hushed 66dB at motorway speeds.
Lexus GS (2005-)
Driver rating 94.4%
You say: The engine is so smooth and quiet, which along with all the luxury of the cockpit makes driving it a real pleasure. If you need it, there is real power under the bonnet.
We say: The standard-fit climate control is clever enough to detect the outside air quality and switch to recirculation mode automatically if the outside air is bad, for instance in traffic.
Skoda Superb (2008-)
Driver rating 93.8%
You say: It has all the attributes of a luxury car and impresses passengers who ride in it for the first time. It's also great to drive over long distances and at night.
We say: Rear seat passengers will feel like they’re in a limo, such is the space on offer. Front passengers don’t lose out either, with comfortable and supportive seating.
Mercedes-Benz CLS (2005-2010)
Driver rating 93.3%
You say: I feel spoilt and cosseted when I drive it. I have always felt that it was completely in its comfort zone!
We say: The CLS 320 CDI we tested with optional Airmatic self-levelling suspension earned five stars for ride comfort. Selecting automatic mode lets the system decide which setting is best for the prevailing conditions.
Audi TT (2006-)
Driver rating 92.7%
You say: It may be a sports car, but I can get my bike in the back of it.
We say: Audi is famed for high-quality, tactile interiors and the TT continues this tradition. However, the best gadgets (such as sat nav) are optional - at a swingeing price.
Unloved: Citroen Xsara
Bottom 5 cars for dashboard layout and controls
Land Rover Freelander (1997-2005)
Driver rating 69.3%
You say: The black interior fabric marks very easily and is a pain to keep clean.
We say: This is effectively a proper off-roader, rather than a crossover, with all the expense and compromise that brings.
Vauxhall Astra Estate (2004-2010)
Driver rating 68.4%
You say: The dash layout is very poor, as you have to look down to find the appropriate controls. I think it's dangerous.
We say: You might expect excellent visibility from an estate car, but the Astra shows this isn't necessarily the case. The rear three-quarter view isn't great.
Ford Ka (1996-2008)
Driver rating 67.9%
You say: The shape of dashboard is a nuisance. You can't balance a sat-nav on it.
We say: What lies underneath the Ka's charismatic body is basically a very old-tech Ford, even by the standards of the 1990s.
Citroën Saxo (1996-2003)
Driver rating 67.4%
You say: It might sound silly, but the heater frustrates me. In cold weather, it takes ages to warm up, and in hot weather, it doesn't blow out much cool air at all.
We say: The Saxo feels very basic and flimsily assembled by modern standards.
Citroën Xsara (1997-2004)
Driver rating 67.1%
You say: Intermittent minor electrical faults are common, and you need to be Mr Tickle to change the headlight bulbs.
We say: The Xsara is a Which? Don't Buy with good reason. One of the many things we don’t like about it is the brake pedal, which is positioned so badly that you can easily step on the linkage rather than the pedal itself.
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