Last post on Feb 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM
You are in the Smart Shopper
What is this discussion about?
Interior, Car Leasing, Car Buying
Jan 27, 2007 (9:58 pm)
i never want to own another vehicle without heated seats. i always liked them, but since the car i now drive is parked outside overnight, i love them. i like cloth better, but if the seats are heated, i'll take either cloth or leather. a moonroof is required too, unless it is a convertible. my focus has heated cloth seats and a power moonroof.
#85 of 103 Re: my 2 cents... [explorerx4]
Jan 29, 2007 (1:58 pm)
Shopping for used cars a few years back was enough to dissuade me from ever buying a car with leather seats.
As the leather ages, it starts to get little lines that show up all over it, not sure what these are from, but it makes the seat look awful. Another thing I noticed was in "family" type vehicles, there were all kinds of punctures and tears in the leather.
The cloth seats in my 4 YO Maxima look brand new.
#86 of 103 A different point of view.
Jan 29, 2007 (7:27 pm)
I'm not usually one for propaganda, but here goes my soapbox: Leather is not just a material. The huge increase in demand for animal skins over the last 20 years marks new heights in marketing prowess, and new lows in humane treatment to animals. Don't dismiss this notion if you haven't researched it. Just because most people like something doesn't make it a good thing. Parents, cloth can be cleaned or eventually replaced for less than the cost of animal skins, and with a clear conscious. Besides, driving enthusiast know that cloth is grippier in all occasions.
#87 of 103 Re: A different point of view. [goodsteward]
Jan 30, 2007 (6:18 am)
what happens to the skin of a beef cow after it has been slaughtered for meat consumption. I believe they use it to make the leather seats. i would never own an animal skin coat or fur. I am not a vegetarian either. since all our children are grown the car we chose to own only has leather.
#88 of 103 Re: So how much trouble are leather seats??? [mikes2]
Jan 30, 2007 (7:49 am)
"if you have kids, leather is the only way to go."
I think you can "get by" with cloth in a pinch. There's this stuff called ScotchGard which makes cloth wear like iron.
Even if you don't want to Scotchgard, it's pretty easy to clean up spilled water and cut-up apples or baby carrots or tortilla chips -- regular vacuuming with an upholstery brush and daubing with a very diluted mix of Simple Green and water works wonders.
Reading through this thread, I get the impression that some folks are serving their kids fondue and candy apples and fried clams in the back seat! If you run the risk of having a pot of Manhattan clam chowder spilled in your ride, then by all means, opt for the leather.
P.S. Eddie Bauer (and I'm sure there are others) makes an excellent product that completely and unobtrusively protects the rear of the front seats. We just wipe it clean with a wet cloth a couple of times a month. I would use them even if I had sturdy leather seats, if only to avoid scratches.
#89 of 103 Re: A different point of view. [goodsteward]
Jan 30, 2007 (11:28 am)
While different points of view are certainly valid, I'm not sure it's as straightforward to say cloth is the choice of a "clear conscious".
The increase in the use of leather (which I'll assume to be the case), doesn't correlate to "new lows in humane treatment of animals" (presumably cows). I have no data (either way) regarding how cattle which become leather are treated, but will assume you do, and it suggests they're not well treated. If that's the case, it's certainly a valid response to express those concerns to the auto industry (and leather furniture makers in general), to pressure them to purchase leather from sources that treat cattle humanely. People have successfully done it with clothing retailers (i.e. sweatshop concerns) and paper producers/users (e.g. sustainable forestry practices).
In addition, before one assumes cloth is the better choice (ethically and otherwise), one needs to compare it at many levels. For example, I would think one should understand the total, overall environmental impact of creating a cloth interior vs. a leather one. I don't have the foggiest notion of the answer, but do know that cloth in cars is probably entirely or significantly synthetic - that means petrochemicals (and many other chemicals as well). One would want to compare the impact of extraction of the oil, transporting it, processing it, manufacturing the material, what chemicals are used, etc., etc. vs. the impact of raising a cow, slaughtering it, tanning, etc. Only then can one know which (if either) is a more ethical answer. I suspect the answer is far from clear, and that both have some real environmental drawbacks. (Even cotton can have a major impact - I recall seeing a program about the devastation caused by massive cotton production (esp. the need for huge irrigation and water diversion) in the former Soviet Union, particularly around the Aral and Caspian Seas.)
At the same time, given that we're talking about the interior of a car (which has a marked environmental impact in its creation and operation), this point is somewhat ironic (though still a valid question to ponder)!
#90 of 103 Re: So how much trouble are leather seats??? [smittynyc]
Jan 30, 2007 (11:34 am)
Smittynyc, do you have more info. on the products you mentioned, that protects the rear of the front seats? We've never found one that really works well, and would love to get one that works.
I looked on the Eddie Bauer website, but didn't see anything like it.
#91 of 103 Re: So how much trouble are leather seats??? [mikes2]
Jan 30, 2007 (11:46 am)
Go to Target.com and search for "eddie bauer seatback protector".
What separates this one from other seatback protectors I've tried is the fit -- you can get it on the seat really tightly, with no big hanging fold of material and no exposed spots. The color also matches our interior really well.
#92 of 103 Re: So how much trouble are leather seats??? [smittynyc]
Jan 31, 2007 (7:51 am)
Reading through this thread, I get the impression that some folks are serving their kids fondue and candy apples and fried clams in the back seat!
You obviously never had a kid throw up in your car. When my daughter was a toddler she did in my brand new car. Not to get too graphic, but the leather cleaned up easily, what made it thru the crack in the seats to the carpet, not so easily.
My preference is leather, but it has to be heated. I added an after market heater this winter. Best thing I have ever added on to a car.
#93 of 103 Different Point of View, continued...
Jan 31, 2007 (5:11 pm)
Always glad to see thoughtful replies like Mike's and nj2pa2nc. German automakers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, VW) have offered very satisfactory vinyl interiors for years... heated seats and all. True, vinyl and typical cloth are synthetics, and not great from an environmental standpoint. Easy to argue that cattle methane production and other ancillary aspects are detrimental, too. I struggle to make humane AND environmentally sensitive decisions. If I have to choose, I choose humane options. Leather is arguably more profitable than meat now, so neither is exactly a benign by-product of the other. Today's factory farm pace doesn't put animal welfare as a top priority, and consumers... good people... don't demand change when they don't know it's needed. I'm convinced of the harm being done, so I place the burden on the industry to prove otherwise. But I'm just one guy, and in the minority. There's so much more to this, but I won't clutter this thread any more. Just know that leather isn't just a material.