Car shopping can be a difficult process from deciding how much to spend to determining what make and model is best for you. Once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll face the fun decisions of car shopping from selecting an exterior paint color to choosing interior seats made of leather or cloth. If you’re not sure what kind of seats are best for you and your family, we’ve got the pros and cons of each to help make your decision easier.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American driver travels about 13,474 miles each year. That translates to a lot of time spent behind the wheel. When you’re in the car for any amount of time you want to be comfortable and worry-free so that you can turn your focus to the road.
Leather – The Pros
Leather interiors, once only reserved for luxury cars have made their way into most modern vehicles. Leather is an excellent choice appearance wise as it is very stylish and attractive. In addition to its looks, leather is easier to clean, making spills and stains a snap to clean up. It smells great, too! While in production, leather is treated with a special perfume that lasts for years making your interior smell better. Additionally, leather is ideal for reducing the number of irritants from those suffering from allergies. Dust, pet dander, and other allergens are more likely to stick around on cloth seats as opposed to leather. Finally, leather is a great choice for resale value. If well maintained, chances are leather seats will maintain their attractiveness even after several years of use.
Leather – The Cons
Not all leathers are created equally, and price can vary greatly. Leathers can range from faux, top grain, or the coveted and luxurious Napa Leather. The downside to this is the age-old adage, you get what you pay for. For better-quality leather you can expect to pay more for your car. Temperature is also something that should be considered when it comes to choosing your interior. Leather interiors can be frigid in the winter and scalding hot in the summer. This is because leather absorbs heat, especially dark colors, making driving uncomfortable. Skin that comes in contact with any surface over 150 degrees (F) can cause severe burns. Leather must be cleaned and conditioned frequently. After time, leather will begin to show signs of wear from dust, dirt, and sweat. Neglecting to maintain your leather can result in hardening and may cause seats to crack or tear, resulting in costly repairs. Leather cannot tolerate continual pressure or wear from heavy objects such as the weight and frequent use of a car seat. Finally, leather is an animal by-product and may create a moral issue for some.
Cloth – The Pros
For an interior seating choice that is more wallet-friendly, cloth is your best bet. Not only does it save money, but it’s also customizable based on your preferences and comes in a variety of colors. While soft feeling, they may be stiff at first, yet, with age cloth seats relax and get softer making for a more comfortable ride. The friction of cloth seats will also keep you in place while driving instead of slipping when going around corners or slamming on the brakes as you would with leather.
Cloth – The Cons
Base model or not, cloth seats are pretty much standard on most vehicles and their appearance may be lackluster for some. Another drawback of cloth seats is their ability to stain easily. While most spills and accidents can be cleaned, certain fluids cause permanent damage and won’t come out. Stains are inevitable, especially when traveling with kids. Cloth seats are porous and absorb odors, making certain smells permanent which could negatively affect your resale value. Cloth is also discouraged by those with severe allergies and asthma. Dust, pet dander, and other allergens can embed themselves into cloth upholstery.
What’s Best For You?
When it comes to leather or cloth selections, the choice should be rather simple. Your lifestyle should help guide you in deciding which upholstery is the right choice for you.
You might choose Leather if you:
- Have young children
- Are prone to messiness
- Like the luxurious feeling associated with leather
However, you may want to avoid leather if you:
- Frequently park your vehicle outdoors and are sensitive to temperature variables
- Don’t feel the cost is necessary
- Aren’t interested in maintaining the leather to keep it in good condition
You might choose Cloth if you:
- Prefer comfortable seats in all weather conditions
- Like plush interiors
- Are budget conscious
Avoid cloth if you:
- Are concerned about lingering odors
- Want the highest resale value possible for your vehicle
- Desire the other perks associated with superior trim packages