Why is leather so desirable? - andyfr
I'm not talking from a fetish point of view you understand but for car seats. ;)

I have never understood why it's so desirable to have leather seats in a car. In hot weather they are too hot when you sit on them and in winter too cold. After a year they start to look creased and stretched. Whereas with cloth seats you don't have the problems with extreems of temperature and with an occasional vac they still look like new years later.

Why is leather so desirable? - adverse camber
Wipe clean - very good with small kids. Obviously not the really soft plush leather.

Why is leather so desirable? - DP
The smell of a good leather interior adds a certain ambience to even a fairly humdrum car, but I agree it has major problems. That said, air-con and heated seats deal with much of the temperature related problems, and keeping leather clean and fed helps it age gracefully.

I also think it's something the British and Italians are streets ahead of anyone else at carrying off well. I would pay extra for leather in a Jaguar or Alfa, for example, but wouldn't in a VW or a Peugeot.

Why is leather so desirable? - andyfr
Air con and heated seats only work when you are in the car. The problem we had with a hire car in the US was that they were really hot when first sitting on them.

Why is leather so desirable? - moonshine {P}

I've never been a keen on leather seats for the same reasons, always much preferred cloth. I think most people prefer it becuase they 'think' it is better.

We looked at an S-max the other week which had full leather. The leather in the middle part of the seats was that perforated suede type leather - I bet it would be a nightmare to keep clean with kids.
Why is leather so desirable? - bathtub tom
Form over function?
Why is leather so desirable? - movilogo
True leather is natural skin which can be stretched and it can return to its normal shape. Leather is easy to clean (especially after spilled liquid) and long lasting. I've not owned any cars with leather seats, but from the experience of leather sofas, I like the fact that even after heavy use, its original shape can be retained by occasional plumping! On the other hand, leather is easily damaged by sharp objects and it's a pain then to repair it.
Why is leather so desirable? - stunorthants26
I cleaned a C-Class Merc the other day with light grey cloth seats, family owner. It took 4 hours to wet-vac them as the cloth is very difficult to dry evenly and avoid tide marks.
It would have taken half an hour if the seats had been leather in the same colour.

Leather cools quickly and cloth seats can also be cold or hot.
Why is leather so desirable? - yorkiebar
Own leather seats and then tell me cloth is better !
Why is leather so desirable? - andyfr
I have in the past and didn't like them at all.

We usually go for black seats and don't get in with dirty clothes so they don't need much more than an occasional vac. We have had comments when selling our cars that the interiors look like new. That could be because we are childfree and don't have pets loose in the cars.

Why is leather so desirable? - Sulphur Man
Only really desirable in the UK and Northern Europe/Scandi countries. Much less so in Southern/Mediterranean climes, for the obvious reasons of climate and humidity.

It's not something I'd option on a new car, unless it was standard spec.
Why is leather so desirable? - Dog
If you are in the habit of carrying a hairy passeneger (and I'm not talking about swmbo)
then it has to be leather !
Leather out-lasts cloth
Leather has that, well, leather smell.
A Jag *MUST* have leather, and preferably burr walnut : )
Why is leather so desirable? - oldgit
Leather seats are a pointless affectation, that try to simulate old boys' clubs luxury and the material is not really suitable for car interiors as is real wood trim. Both are out of place in the 21st century. I have looked in many quite new cars with leather and there are often signs of 'puddling' after relatively short periods of time. I wouln't have them if they were available as a free option
Additonally, the very pale leathers, cause the most ghastly reflections in the windscreen from pale leather adorned fascia tops.
Why is leather so desirable? - midlifecrisis
I also think it's something the British and Italians are streets ahead of anyone else
at carrying off well. I would pay extra for leather in a Jaguar or Alfa
for example but wouldn't in a VW or a Peugeot.

I've got a Peugeot 407 coupe and the leather seats are top notch. 18 months old now and the seats still look new. That's despite two young kids and all the assorted sweets, drinks and other sticky mess they bring along.

Very comfortable, heated and never had a problem with them getting hot n warm weather. (Which could be down to the reflective glass it's got fitted)
Why is leather so desirable? - TheOilBurner
Leather is great, but only if you have effective seat heaters and coolers!

Heated seats are lovely, but air-con seats are bliss, especially on long journeys.

However, the best compromise seems to be leather edged seats with alcantara centres. Doesn't seem to get too hot or cold and looks nicer than plain leather too.
Why is leather so desirable? - Pebble
My Ford Crown Vic had beautiful, dark red leather seats and matching interior...just gorgeous, and comfortable. Post-car crash, when I switched to the Chrysler I have now which has cloth seats, it seemed like quite a comedown from the leather. Given the chance I'd love to have another car that way--AND, it's politically incorrect to have leather anymore, which suits me just fine...:)
Why is leather so desirable? - Lud
All cars, or very nearly, had leather seats when I were a nipper. Fabric seats in those days were associated in my mind with unusual large cars, but I can't remember why.

I prefer them myself. They wear gracefully, don't get stained when children spill sticky drinks on them and look better. However if you have white leather seats you may have to do a fair amount of cleaning.
Why is leather so desirable? - deepwith
I was regretting the leather seat after giving a lift to a young man wearing studded leather belt, round his backside, as they do. Deep scratch in the leather on the seat - grrr. Then I saw his mother's car - covered in loops from the seat where same youth had plonked himself.
Why is leather so desirable? - OldSock
In addition to other points raised, I've found some leather seats to be unacceptably 'slippery' when driving in an (ahem) 'enthusiastic' manner :-(

Mind you, that was in my yoof - I prefer to 'waft' around nowadays....
Why is leather so desirable? - GroovyMucker
It ages well. And when it creases, it still looks good.
Why is leather so desirable? - bathtub tom
>>It ages well. And when it creases, it still looks good.

You talking about backroomers? ;>)
Why is leather so desirable? - Alby Back
My first car had leather seats. My current car has leather seats. In between there have been 37 other cars. None of those had leather seats. Apart from a Merc which had cloth seats trimmed with leather. Wouldn't be a deal breaker but I just prefer the feel of sitting on leather. Maybe it is a latent fetish after all ! My least favoured seat covering is the sort of thick velvety draylon-ish stuff which used to be and may well still be fitted to some Volvos. Used to get something similar on Cortinas as well. Very unpleasant sensation if wearing shorts, (or indeed other short garments according to my wife.) On the ease of cleaning thing, leather can be easier unless it is perforated as in my car. That, on the contrary, is a royal pain because the little holes fill up with crumbs and so on.
Why is leather so desirable? - Dude - {P}
Another benefit of leather which has not yet been mentioned is the total freedom from static electricity. I can recall some earlier vehicles that I have owned fitted with man made nylon/velour type materials, which never failed to give a hefty electric shock when you touched the metal door to get out. (Especially after a long journey).

I have now had leather for many years and would add that prestige cars are far more difficult to sell without it.
Why is leather so desirable? - grumpyscot
Yep - leather looks nice, and is even more practical for cleaning - but I deliberately downgraded my last car to ensure I had cloth seats. Why?

1. Leather are too hot / too cold (the heat side is the worst - ever tried sitting in a car in shorts when the outside temp is 30 C and the car's been sitting there for 2 hours?)
2. Leather are too slidy -with energectic country driving (which living in Scotland is all about!), your rear end slides all over the place
3. Leather gets too "baggy" after a few years, whereas cloth usually stays as tight as a drum
4. Accidentally burn a leather seat and it costs loadsadosh to replace. Do it in cloth and you can replace it for just a few quid (in relative terms)
5. Leather can smell - sometimes overpowering badly depending on the car manufacturer are what processes they use to cure / colour the leather. Rolls Royce, Audi, Lexus, Volvo not too bad - but Ford smells like sour cat pee as does Vauxhall.
6. When it gets really hot on a long drive, leather seats make you feel like you're wearing a wet nappy (or how I would imagine a wet nappy would feel like!)

Edited by grumpyscot on 22/07/2008 at 08:09

Why is leather so desirable? - Hamsafar
I like leather as long as it's not worn and creased or baggy. I prefer look and feel of it and enjoy cleaning/feeding it every 6 months. I have never had problems with it being too hot or cold. I live in the UK afterall.
Why is leather so desirable? - Chad.R
Leather every time for me. The last 4-5 cars we've had have all had leather bar SWMBO's current Yaris. It's seats are covered in hairs from SWMBO and daughters and a real pain to clean. The cloth seem to attract hair and stick like Velcro!

Also stuff like sweets/chocolate/vomit are much harder to clean off the cloth than the leather.

Why is leather so desirable? - henry k
The last 4-5 cars we've had have all had leather bar SWMBO's current Yaris.

>>There was (is) an older Yaris that parks near me that has leather seats.
It is the only one so equiped that I have seen ( there is a Yaris in the family so I tend to notice them).
Perhaps it is a special edition created by a local dealer?
Why is leather so desirable? - think&drive
When quality cars really were quality cars, and in the days of people of discretion, the chauffeur got leahter seats, and the owner /passengers had cloth - says it all.
Why is leather so desirable? - Alby Back
Why is it so desirable ? "Cos oi loikes to stroke it y'see.................."

Why is leather so desirable? - bear99
my car (mini) has part leather seats, they came with the chilli pack option and if i get another one i would actually pay more NOT to have them. the passenger seat has a small mark in the leather and the drivers seat where i squeeze in and out each day in the garage has all lines in, the seat cushion has quite high sides and gets squished when you are sat on it and thus the leather creases. The cloth part of the seat looks brand new mind you. I think if i had used leather care stuff on it from day one, it perhaps wouldnt be so noticable.

(i am too picky, most people wouldnt notice! ;-)
Why is leather so desirable? - Alby Back
cushion has quite high sides and gets squished

Might be a function of the width of ones........um........seat ?

Why is leather so desirable? - bear99
lol dont be so cheeky!! I do not have a wide ummm SEAT!!!!

It gets squished when i have to get in and out the car in the garage next to husbands car! The doors are big on a mini and its no easy task!! If I was a fatty id have to park outside!

(bear puts down the cakes just in case.............)
Why is leather so desirable? - The Melting Snowman
Hate it. Cold in winter, hot in summer.
Why is leather so desirable? - Paddler Ed
I've had leather in nearly all my cars (now on my 1st own proper car rather than a lease car and one of the stipulations was leather seats)

I swear by Volvo Leather seats; the driver's seat is nicely bedded in after 196,000, the passanger less so as my GF complains of a sore back when sitting there (so it's easier to get her to drive...) I can get in with wet paddling kit and not worry too much; the car gets a professional valet about once a year now to keep it looking sweet, any muddy marks clean off easily, and the leather is only a little bit distressed.

The interior is beige, so it shows some marks, but blonde dog hairs don't show up... 'rents have Golden Retrivers so they sometimes get thrown inot the car as it's the oldest car when it's there!

Ok the leather was a bit hot whilst out in the South of France the other week, but it cooled down pretty quick (there isn't any air con at the mo as it's emptied itself again)

I regularily drive a V reg transit van (same age as my car... but with 86k instead of 196k...) and the cloth seat feels like a sack of spuds when I sit on it.... I think that the quality of the seat has more of a role than the cloth vs leather arguement
Why is leather so desirable? - John F
From all these posts it looks as though this question is as unanswerable as 'why does the sun go round the earth?'

The basic premise of the question no longer exists...as grumpyscot so eloquently demonstrates.
With today's modern materials leather seats in cars are a triumph of persuasive marketing over common sense.
Why is leather so desirable? - Roly93
I've always wondered this myself. Having had quality cars for over 15 years now either as company cars or more lately opt-out cars, I never go for leather for many of the reasons already mentioned. The only compromise I would make was in my old Saab 93SS which I sold a few years ago, this had leather trimmed seats, with Alcantara in the middlle of the seat squabs and backs. This is ideal really as it means you get the benefit of the leather trim without sliding all over the place, or being scalded in hot weather.


Value my car