Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

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Andymoler58
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Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Andymoler58 »

I was considering the new Yukon and figured I could save 13.5k if I go with the base version cloth seats. I really think the base trim level will give me everything I need.

I've had leather and it seems like they wear out pretty easily and they crack. My current car has the leather trim and cloth seat buckets which is really the best I think. I think the appearance of the leather seats looks better but I think I could live without them and the sunroof for the 13.5k.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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willthrill81
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by willthrill81 »

We've had both, and I'm fine with cloth. It doesn't get really hot or cold in the summer or winter like leather does, nor does it require the maintenance that leather does to avoid cracking.

$13.5k for leather and a sunroof seems really steep to me unless you're talking about a high-end luxury vehicle. No way would I pay close to that.

If you decide you want leather later on, I believe that there are some companies out there that offer aftermarket leather products that look very professional and are significantly less costly than getting it OEM.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RubyTuesday
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by RubyTuesday »

Hate leather. Prefer synthetic. Most luxury brands now have synthetic options that are better than leather
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hdcd
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by hdcd »

In the Honda's we have owned, heated and/or cooled seats required you go with leather.
eric321
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by eric321 »

Katskinz does aftermarket leather adds if you change your mind. Side airbags are the toughest part.

You've got the right Boglehead mind. The base model is a loss leader to get you in the dealership. Most customers want leather and will pay up a huge amount.

Gm makes a ton off the Yukon. I've own cars with cloth and leather seats and cloth definitely holds up better.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by cheese_breath »

Never had leather and never had a seat wear out.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by NYC_Guy »

Cloth stains under the strain of children. And leather is much easier to clean. If it’s just you and you keep a tidy car, then I think cloth is fine. But if it’s going to take a beating, I’ve found leather holds up better. But at that price I would likely go aftermarket.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by cheese_breath »

Next time you have the car detailed (paying with money you saved by not getting leather) tell them to remove the stains from the seats too.
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rebellovw
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by rebellovw »

Leather for me (heated too) - no cloth for me - stains, absorbs odor, fray's and wears through (been there - even had re-upholstered and that wore out within a couple years.) Much easier to cleanup leather - but I've never paid 14K to get leather. Leather in my 2002 Landcruiser still looks great - all 3 rows.
Last edited by rebellovw on Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
hi_there
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by hi_there »

You know, I don't really know what a worn cloth seat in a car look like; I'm not sure if I have ever seen one where I could tell. Worn leather on the other hand, seems pretty normal in a few years old car.
csmath
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by csmath »

I've had both and have both right now. I think "back in the day" leather was far superior but I don't think that is the case anymore. The modern cloth seats I've had are much more durable than they used to be and since I usually go for a black interior I have not had any issues with the kids and stains.
squirm
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by squirm »

For vehicles, I buy the top of the line and then keep them a long time. I only get leather, easy cleaning too.

I can do without the years of body sweat that gets absorbed and everything else.
z91
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by z91 »

13.5k is excessive. I could buy an entire spare car (used) with that money.
tibbitts
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by tibbitts »

I'm not familiar with these vehicles but you're saying the only difference is the seat coverings, not the seats or anything else? Personally I like the fuzzy cloth on my older car vs. the hard fabric on many newer cars, or leather, but in general these days I find that the better seats (more adjustments, better cushioning) come only in leather. Unfortunately sometimes that also means including heating/cooling. My limited experience has been that perforated leather can be even less liquid-spill-resistant than non-perforated cloth.
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by JonnyDVM »

rebellovw wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:00 pm Leather for me (heated too) - no cloth for me - stains, absorbs odor, fray's and wears through (been there - even had re-upholstered and that wore out within a couple years.) Much easier to cleanup leather - but I've never paid 14K to get leather. Leather in my 2002 Landcruiser still looks great - all 3 rows.
I agree. Leather is far superior from a cleanliness standpoint. Especially if kids are involved. No opinion on the 14k cost. All I know is I’m not ever going back to cloth.
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30west
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by 30west »

If you're not a slob, get cloth seats. They are more comfortable.
sport
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by sport »

Whatever happened to vinyl seats? They were easy to keep clean and held up very well in my experience.
Adfmacro
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Adfmacro »

The current two cloth colors in the Yukon are dark colors and if you are fine with a darker interior, cloth is not a bad choice. In fact, the leather options are all dark unless you go with the Denali.

I buy used and tend to prefer leather since I buy older higher end models and not the base models. But I have driven a GM vehicle for work and thought their newer cloth seats were designed very well and it was a dark color.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by 6miths »

My first car was a 1986 Honda Prelude Special Edition which had a beautiful velour interior but after that I had leather forever until I got rid of the kids and now for the first time leather doesn't seem so necessary. Agree that cloth doesn't get as hot or cold which is nice in our climate. I can totally do without a sunroof too so for that kind of savings put me down for cloth.
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kevinf
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by kevinf »

sport wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:00 am Whatever happened to vinyl seats? They were easy to keep clean and held up very well in my experience.
Sure thing Satan.

Vinyl has all the downsides of leather with none of the upsides of cloth. Blisteringly hot in the summer, bone-chillingly cold in the winter. Cracks from UV exposure and heat if not maintained. Doesn't allow sweat to wick away and no airflow period. Doesn't have the luxury look of leather or the comfort of cloth. Slicker than leather so it doesn't hold you in place around turns and hard stops like cloth does. It off-gasses in the heat as well.

I really can't come up with anything positive to say about vinyl other than it's easy to wipe clean. How dirty do your seats get if it's not a construction work vehicle or an off-road recreational vehicle?
Last edited by kevinf on Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
SR II
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by SR II »

Happy having cloth seats here in Vegas!
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Dottie57 »

My parents had his and hers buicks. Lving soft, pliable, buttery learther. Very comfy too. Not sure that I want a Buick yet , and don’t know if that type of leather is available.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Mudpuppy »

SR II wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:21 am Happy having cloth seats here in Vegas!
I was waiting for a comment like this.... I know you can get cooled synthetic leather seats these days that do not burn you after they've been sitting in the hot sun. However, having grown up in an area with summers similar to Vegas, the thought of anything other than cloth still evokes a visceral fear of sitting down and getting burned, even to this day.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by MrJones »

RubyTuesday wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:50 pm Hate leather. Prefer synthetic. Most luxury brands now have synthetic options that are better than leather
This. High end synthetic looks better, feels way better, and I'm told, lasts longer than leather.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by anoop »

sport wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:00 am Whatever happened to vinyl seats? They were easy to keep clean and held up very well in my experience.
I think only BMW (leatherette) & MB (mb-tex) used to offer it, but now they are making a big comeback with EVs. Of course, they are quite a bit more upscale compared with the vinyl in economy cars of yore.
Last edited by anoop on Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
59Gibson
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by 59Gibson »

Go with the cloth for 13.5k savings. Darker interiors will not show as many signs of aging.
hunoraut
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by hunoraut »

personally indifferent to the material choice.

i care about seat function (supportiveness) and appearance

those are more strongly driven by shaping and color than by material. i.e., prefer a bucket-style seat in nice patterned cloth than "bench" style seats covered in leather.

makes no difference to care/maintenance, either
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by onourway »

Leather vs. cloth is largely a personal preference, however I suspected there was significantly more to the story than ‘$14k for leather seats’ and a quick look at the Yukon trim comparisons show this. First, for the two most basic models - 2wd SLE and SLT, the difference is about $7k, and leather seating is only one of a large number of other differences between the two, and cloth is not even an option on the more expensive model. So unless you are really particular about which seating surface you get, I’d choose the overall vehicle you want and live with whatever seats you get.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

sport wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:00 am Whatever happened to vinyl seats? They were easy to keep clean and held up very well in my experience.
They are very much alive. Leather seats only have leather on "seating surfaces". The sides and backs are vinyl. There are aftermarket leather kits that are much higher quality than OEM. You can spend the time and buy the tools to do it yourself and heating kits are fairly cheap. Or pay for a shop to do this for right around $1000. Some dealers do this to create higher end interiors in lower trim models. The first time I saw this was at a Subaru dealer while waiting for parts. They had upgraded the seats to leather in a base Outback. I was intrigued as I like leather seats but hate sunroofs which are standard in the limited trim cars.

With the leather kits, you can specify everything. Color, insert color, stitching color. You can get some really nice options for far less than buying the upper level trim in a new car.
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dukeblue219
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by dukeblue219 »

Are you sure the only difference is the leather and moon roof? You're not also giving up something useful like blindspot detection are you ?
Paddygirl
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Paddygirl »

I would never buy a car without leather seats.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Tellurius »

In Cyprus, it gets up tp 40-43C in the summer.

But people get leather seats for status.

Now, whats the absolute highest temperature you can have leather seats in without having fast deterioration?

It’s a nightmare in the Cypriot summer to have leather seats, and they crack after a decade or so
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by midareff »

Andymoler58 wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:47 pm I was considering the new Yukon and figured I could save 13.5k if I go with the base version cloth seats. I really think the base trim level will give me everything I need.

I've had leather and it seems like they wear out pretty easily and they crack. My current car has the leather trim and cloth seat buckets which is really the best I think. I think the appearance of the leather seats looks better but I think I could live without them and the sunroof for the 13.5k.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
9 years ago I ordered a new C class Mercedes for my retirement present to me. Salesman advised to skip the leather as it holds up poorly in South Florida. The cloth looked like day 1 when I traded it almost 3 years ago. Replacement is full cross stitched leather seating with air-conditioned and heated seats. It's inside garaged and not driven much any more and coming up on three years looks like day 1 too.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by retiredjg »

I prefer cloth. Last time I bought a car, it was difficult to find what I wanted with cloth seats. Go figure.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Sandtrap »

Be careful of a lot of car seat covers that are not for "heated leather seats".
Consider cloth or other synthetic seats of there's going to be thick car seat covers.

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Workaholic
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Workaholic »

Andymoler58 wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:47 pm I was considering the new Yukon and figured I could save 13.5k if I go with the base version cloth seats. I really think the base trim level will give me everything I need.

I've had leather and it seems like they wear out pretty easily and they crack. My current car has the leather trim and cloth seat buckets which is really the best I think. I think the appearance of the leather seats looks better but I think I could live without them and the sunroof for the 13.5k.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I imagine you're talking about buying a Yukon SLE vs the SLT? If so, the price difference is more like $7000 and there are quite a few more differences than simply leather vs cloth seats....
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by rebellovw »

midareff wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:02 am
Andymoler58 wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:47 pm I was considering the new Yukon and figured I could save 13.5k if I go with the base version cloth seats. I really think the base trim level will give me everything I need.

I've had leather and it seems like they wear out pretty easily and they crack. My current car has the leather trim and cloth seat buckets which is really the best I think. I think the appearance of the leather seats looks better but I think I could live without them and the sunroof for the 13.5k.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
9 years ago I ordered a new C class Mercedes for my retirement present to me. Salesman advised to skip the leather as it holds up poorly in South Florida. The cloth looked like day 1 when I traded it almost 3 years ago. Replacement is full cross stitched leather seating with air-conditioned and heated seats. It's inside garaged and not driven much any more and coming up on three years looks like day 1 too.
I bought a new C240 class in 2004 my dad bought a 240D in 1979 - and the seats were not cloth - leather - and were beautiful until the day we got rid of them.
Last edited by rebellovw on Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I prefer leather.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by montanagirl »

I just don't get the leather fetish, in cars or home furniture. They're cold when you sit in them, and the car seats too hot in summer.

It's really hard to find a good used car without it.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by 02nz »

MrJones wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:04 am
RubyTuesday wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:50 pm Hate leather. Prefer synthetic. Most luxury brands now have synthetic options that are better than leather
This. High end synthetic looks better, feels way better, and I'm told, lasts longer than leather.
We had a Porsche Macan that had a combination of genuine leather and Alcantara, a synthetic, suede-like material that Audi (and probably other manufacturers) also uses. It held up well and looked and felt good. If I could choose any material on a car seat I'd probably go with that.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Ependytis »

I have had both cloth and leather. I prefer cloth because it doesn’t crack, wear,, or get too hot or cold. With -$100 synthetic leather seat covers that allow for side airbags, I get the best of both worlds. Plus to get leather seats the incremental increase in cost of the car is $2k to 3k. It’s just not worth it to me.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by dbr »

No one has yet mentioned that leather seats may be easier for entry and exit because one can slide across them more easily.

My experience with deterioration with leather is two cars owned for 16 and 17 years parked outside only with no leather care at all and neither had any meaningful deterioration.

I would say that cold in the winter and hot in the summer is a clear downside to leather only partly offset by heated seats. I have never experienced cooled seats.

The clear downside to cloth is cleanability. In the past that has decided the issue for us. In future I think the hot/cold thing will decide in favor of cloth. The fact that some trim levels one might want don't come with cloth seats might be an issue. My wife is not going to have seats that are not heated no matter what. I don't use seat heating because it gets too hot.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by lthenderson »

Andymoler58 wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:47 pm Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I've had both over the years and prefer leather. But if the vehicle you want is perfect in every way except that it has cloth seats, you can readily buy leather seat covers to slip over the top and generally that is much cheaper than upgrading just for the sake of leather seats. I did that with my daily car which had cloth seats. Just be careful and don't cheap out buying covers as ill fitting ones will be constant pain in the rear if they wrinkle up all the time. I bought good quality ones that were specifically for my model of vehicle and fit the seats like a glove.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by rebellovw »

dbr wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:15 am No one has yet mentioned that leather seats may be easier for entry and exit because one can slide across them more easily.

My experience with deterioration with leather is two cars owned for 16 and 17 years parked outside only with no leather care at all and neither had any meaningful deterioration.

I would say that cold in the winter and hot in the summer is a clear downside to leather only partly offset by heated seats. I have never experienced cooled seats.

The clear downside to cloth is cleanability. In the past that has decided the issue for us. In future I think the hot/cold thing will decide in favor of cloth. The fact that some trim levels one might want don't come with cloth seats might be an issue. My wife is not going to have seats that are not heated no matter what. I don't use seat heating because it gets too hot.
Heated seats are great for when you have had a very hard day of work - I'd leave home from say Sunnyvale CA at around 6-7PM - have an hour 1/2 drive in nasty traffic - I'd be tired- I'd crank that heated seat up put on some PBS news - would be like sitting on a heating pad - very soothing. I love those things.

Thanks!
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by illumination »

I have a family member that owns a used car dealership, he can have leather added to a car with cloth seats for like $1,200. He does it all the time. There's companies like Katzkin that make kits for most major makes. Some would even argue it's a higher quality finish than what comes from the factory on certain makes.

It's annoying that getting leather from the factory on "non-luxury" makes can sometimes make you get a car with almost every single option.
You'll usually get a much higher resale with leather seats, so adding aftermarket ones can probably "pay for itself" if it's a quality job. So if you got a "base car" and add leather, you can probably get more when it's time to sell than what the seats originally cost to install.

I personally hate cloth seats, leather holds up much better in my experience and just feels so much more upscale. I actually prefer the "fake leather", my Lexus has a vinyl that's close to leather, best of both worlds in my opinion. Lasts forever.
Last edited by illumination on Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by bogledogle »

Leather is better than cloth IMO. I prefer to clean my car interior myself and leather makes it very easy. Cloth seats might be more comfortable for some people, specially the rear seats, but require more effort and TLC than leather during cleaning. Cloth also holds in more dust, pollen, allergens and other substances than leather.

That said, I would not pay 13.5K for GM quality leather.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by H-Town »

Andymoler58 wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:47 pm I was considering the new Yukon and figured I could save 13.5k if I go with the base version cloth seats. I really think the base trim level will give me everything I need.

I've had leather and it seems like they wear out pretty easily and they crack. My current car has the leather trim and cloth seat buckets which is really the best I think. I think the appearance of the leather seats looks better but I think I could live without them and the sunroof for the 13.5k.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I have no preference. Whatever cheapest works.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by ResearchMed »

sport wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:00 am Whatever happened to vinyl seats? They were easy to keep clean and held up very well in my experience.
I think that is now called "Faux Leather", which may/may not fool some people into thinking it's a special type of leather. (Well, it is... the "type" being... "non". )

I've always strongly preferred cloth. Apparently I've been lucky, because despite many years with children (and some years with a Great Dane romping around, too), there was never even a snagged thread. And with a nice black/charcoal tweedy type weave, no stains ever showed.
Later cars had less active occupants, but a couple lasted 14-20 years, still without a snag or coffee stain, etc.
They just didn't show any wear, not even minor scratches, which can show on leather (real or faux).

I sometimes had to special order a car, to get the cloth seats. Remember "special ordering a base car", and specifying just which extras one wanted, such as without being forced to buy the complete "all weather package for $X thousands" because one wanted one single part of that "package", etc.?

For me, while vinyl or other "faux leather" had been advertised as sort of "cheap [oops, I mean "inexpensive"!] leather", I always felt that leather was actually like "expensive vinyl/faux leather".
Both still got *really* cold in the winter, and sticky or burning hot in the summer. No thanks!

But now? The nicer cars/trim levels usually don't seem to have a cloth option anymore.

In another thread, someone mentioned that leather was easier to pivot and lide into/out of. That may be especially important depending upon the precise configuration/placement/depth/etc., of the seat, and the agility of the driver/passenger.

I loved the cloth seats in my 2004 Volvo XC90. I had to downgrade to a lower trim level to get that, and thus lost the electronic seat control for the passenger seat, something that I did regret later.

Now, the 2014 Volvo XC60 has leather seats. The are so comfortable, that I've forgiven the car its leather. But I still wish they were cloth.
I think the cloth color would need to be "Medium Dinosaur" :wink:

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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by Sagefemme »

I dislike how slide-y leather is. In a leather interior I get myself situated comfortably but after a while my butt has slid forward and I have to keep scooting up and back to stay comfortable. I generally get cloth seats and immediately cover with aftermarket seat covers so the cloth still looks fine (I only see it when I'm replacing the worn covers) years later. 2012 Subaru Outback. I may be weird about cars seats however; I also dislike seat heat.
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Re: Leather vs Cloth Car Seats

Post by tibbitts »

The OP seems to have gone away, but hopefully will decide based on the $13.5k having almost nothing to do with any difference in cost of the seating surface material.
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