Just based on the title of this entry, I know what you’re thinking. “VINYL?!?! That’s cheap. Who buys that?!” Well, I’m here to tell you, LOTS of people. If you are familiar with vinyl, you probably liken it to horrible car interiors of the 60’s. And I have to agree with you that vinyl during that time was horrible. Not durable and cheap in appearance are the first thoughts that come to my mind when asked about vinyl of yore.
Individuals are often surprised to learn that automakers today line the interiors of their beautiful new cars with vinyl surfaces. One might would expect this of a brand like Toyota but they are not alone. Halo brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus all offer vinyl seats as standard in at least three vehicles in their lineup. Surprised right? You might now be thinking that you were recently a passenger in your friends new BMW 320 and it was for sure leather. Note that actual leather in most cases is optional but the standard offering is indeed vinyl. It’s all about perception really. Old vinyl can’t hold a candle to the new stuff. I would bet that the majority of people cannot tell the difference if they were given a car with vinyl seats.
Lexus for instance uses a material called Nuluxe (fancy term for vinyl). It looks fantastic and will go the distance. In a shocking twist of events, I actually prefer vinyl over leather. Why? Here are a few reasons.
Durability- Vinyl isn’t as high maintenance as leather. If you’ve ever had a car with leather seats for a few years, you’ll notice the texture changes overtime. There are creases, smooth spots, sun damage, and maybe even cracks if not taken care of. Vinyl makes that a thing of the past.
Cost- As I stated earlier, on my vehicles without cloth interior, vinyl is standard issue. Leather depending on the brand can set you back a few thousand dollars especially if wrapped up with other option packages. It helps to keep the overall cost down while still looking great.
Environmentally friendly- We all know how leather is made. No need to worry about that process when going the vinyl route which is much safer for the environment.
Comfort- I find vinyl to be more cozy than actual leather because it breathes better especially if perforated. If you go for ventilated leather seats, this becomes less of a concern.
So let me ask you. Can you tell the difference and would you buy a car with vinyl seating surfaces?