Leather vs cloth interior

Leather vs cloth interior


Anyone have any experience with the cloth interior of the Model S? I'm on the fence about it and find myself leaning towards leather pretty much because I think a car at this price point should just have a leather interior with heated seats (I do really like heated seats though...).



olanmills | December 12, 2012

Get the leather!

TimJ | December 12, 2012

I was on the fence too. With everything there are trade-offs. I don't like taking care of leather. It cracks and needs more care than cloth IMHO. Cloth, you can wash and it doesn't seem to wear out as quickly as leather. I never use my heated seats, but I am in Texas.


twin chargers

lph | December 12, 2012

I too can't stand the way leather cracks. Plus it smells bad and does not breathe like cloth. Good quality cloth seats can last and last. I had 150k miles and 15 years on one car and the cloth seats looked as good as new. Not sure how Tesla cloth will pan out. Anyone know if this is a high quality cloth?
Also I wish Tesla would get some other colors for the cloth seats. Maybe something like grey and light tan. If Tesla had those they could go without black IMHO.

jat | December 12, 2012

In the south, leather seats are painful to sit on in the summer. In addition to the cost and care requirements, that is why I went with cloth.

The heated seats would be useful for a handful of days in the winter, but not enough to go with leather or wait for the new cloth seats.

jmatson | December 12, 2012

I saw the cloth seats at the Newport store--they looked nice. They have a pattern that will help hide the usual wear and tear.

benempt | December 12, 2012

Yes I am 100% cloth too. I've sat in several leather Model Ss and enjoyed it, but found it kinda weird after using cloth upholstery for 10 years in my other cars.

Another thought: the little cloth sample in the Tesla stores feels pretty good and seemed in good shape after being touched by hundreds or thousands of people.

My little brother is a tech for BMW and says that after an auto show, they have to replace the seats because so many people sit in their cars the seats effectively receive a lifetime of wear.

dborn | December 12, 2012

Heated seats are really good even if you are NOT in a cold climate. I live in Sydney Australia - winter temps around 45degrees. BUT, if you have a bad back, then multi adjustable seats with heat are fabulous in term of pain and discomfort relief.

ddruz | December 12, 2012

Neither leather or textile is a better one size fits all. It is very much a personal preference as everyone will have different preferences and needs. The majority of people posting their configurations of the forums seem to choose leather. However, having had both leather and cloth seats in the past I myself much prefer cloth. I also prefer the piano black decor to all other choices except carbon fiber. Since I don't need heated seats or seat memory function the textile is the clear winner for me and as a bonus it saves $1,500.

RedShift | December 12, 2012

I am torn between cloth and leather. I have leather in both my cars and it cracks easily. However, I got the cracked part replaced by a professional for not much. On one hand, leather looks nicer. But I am a sporty driver, and leather is slippery for aggressive cornering.

Now, ifmTesla could offer cloth in lighter shades.... Also, why not offer microfiber? On my sofa, the microfiber never seems to wear out, most any stains can be cleaned up with damp cloth, and it feels luxurious.

Anyone from Tesla listening?

lph | December 12, 2012

I have had good experience with microfiber too.

Volker.Berlin | December 13, 2012

It has been mentioned, but to make it explicit once again:

After the price change, all vehicles will include 12-way adjustable, heated front seats as standard equipment at no charge.

jkirkebo | December 13, 2012

The problem with Teslas cloth seats are that they are not cloth. They are cloth+vinyl. And vinyl/faux leather is the last thing I want in my car. We have had it on furniture, and it always cracks after a while.

So I would personally like 100% cloth seats in light grey, and available on the Performance-model too.

jackhub | December 13, 2012

I've changed from leather to non-leather, back and forth for years. For all the negatives on leather listed above, i've gone with the black micro-fiber with silver.

Desai | December 13, 2012

We test drove in the Cloth and it was surprising good. However, we are going with Leather because it has heated seats (for PA winters) and lumbar support (which is not included in the Cloth).

TimJ | December 13, 2012


You bring up an interesting point. Since many of the early adopters most likely chose leather, would any produced after January automatically have the 12-way adjustable seats anyway?

ddruz | December 13, 2012

@TimJ--I double checked with my Tesla rep by email after the price increase was announced. The heated, 12-way adjustable textile seats will be based on reservation dates after Jan 1, not on production dates after Jan 1. My rep indicated that those reserving before Jan 1 who order textile will get the 8 way, non-heated seats regardless of when their car is built; further that there will be no option to upgrade to heated, 12-way seats without paying the $2,500 price increase.

archibaldcrane | December 13, 2012

I'm heavily inclined to get the cloth seats (mainly just to save $1500), but I haven't been able to sit in a cloth-seated car. Neither the San Diego, Newport Beach, Santa Monica or Topanga stores have a cloth interior vehicle (either showroom or test drive) anymore to view. I'm likely going to try to push my reservation back shortly, but still I'd really like to at least see the cloth before I have to confirm my order.

mrcool1122 | December 13, 2012

What's with the leather-hate? I've had leather seats on every car I've owned and never had problems with cracking or ugly excessive wear. Seats wear out and crack because the bolsters inside them are poor quality and end up sagging after you drag your butt across them over the years.!

JohnQ | December 13, 2012

@archibald ... if you feel like a trip to the East Coast, the DC demo car (not the floor model) has textile seats. Of course that would blow the $1,500 you'd save by not getting leather :-)

The textile seats are alright. They're a little "funky" with the vinyl style inserts and they don't have any "nap" to them. I'm not really sure if they would wear any better than the leather. Frankly, unless the $1,500 is an issue, or you object to the leather on moral or aesthetic grounds, I would get the leather. But, that's likely because I did chose to get the leather in my S.

archibaldcrane | December 13, 2012

Yeah it's just the $1500, my car will likely be a black 60kwh with air suspension (for my steep driveway) and that's it. If I had Scrooge McDuck's money pit in my backyard I'd get the leather.

RedShift | December 13, 2012

As mentioned by many: the cloth has vinyl side bolsters. This is where the
Maximum wear occurs, and where cracks appear. So really, leather is probably better for
me, since I can get it in grey.

Lou in SoCal | December 13, 2012

I briefly contemplated cloth seats but decided to go with leather. For me, spending this much on car, I couldn't justify cloth seats.

olanmills | December 13, 2012

This is all rehashed from before, but I have a Chevy with leather, so not some super high luxury thing. I have not done anything special to take care of it other than to keep it clean. The car is five years old.

I have parked the car in the sun for hours and hours on many occassions. The leather is still perfectly supple, no cracking or anything like that. It's more comfortable than cloth seats and looks way nicer.

It's so easy to clean too, perfect for a guy like me, eating fast food in the car. If I drop something, it's so easy to wipe off. It's easy to clean the surface and vacuum the crevices too.

CarlE_P439 | December 13, 2012

Cloth. Use no gas, use no animals!

cmadsen | December 13, 2012

I have leather in our other cars. I will never own a car without leather. It doesn't crack, easy to take care of (wipe it with a clean damp cloth), and to keep it fresh - just treat it once a year. Todays leather does breath - when compared to leathers in the past 10-15 years.
However our other cars are all german and they use a better grade of leather than the US car markets do.

My vote is leather (obviously)

riceuguy | December 13, 2012

I am going cloth primarily to have the $1500 to use on other options since I don't mind the cloth or any of the related items (heated seats, 12 way, etc.), however I do wish lumbar was standard, and that seat memory was at least part of the tech package...

Fins | April 15, 2014

So I'm not sure if I'm going with cloth or leather I'd like to here someone's opinion after having the car for 6-12 months... Do the cloth have wear marks?

crmohler | April 15, 2014

I've had the cloth for almost 4 months, but the car gets tons of use (8,500 miles so far) and I have 3 kids. The cloth is holding up fantastic. It's not really cloth. It's got inserts of imitation leather and the "cloth" is treated so it's resistant to stains. I just drove a loaner with the grey leather, and I'm very happy that I went with the textile seats.

Rheumboy | April 15, 2014

Well now they will be building more MS's for Germany with cloth seats instead of leather!

Mathew98 | April 15, 2014

Why is that the naturalists who like to flaunt their natural bodies in public are always the grannies with jiggly parts hanging by their knees?

The over sized grandpa's in this same group are also shameless in sun bathing in the buff to terrorize toddlers and infants...

@Rheumboy - I'll buy you a plane ticket to feast on the horror show any day. Let me know where to send the ticket. Them boys from Brook-a-lyn will happily hand deliver it to you...

Rheumboy | April 15, 2014

Thanks M98 for the ticket but include a man bra also :-(8-<

P85D | April 15, 2014

I have textile seats, they have held up well. However I did ride in a P85 last week with performance seats and they were so comfortable.

Mathew98 | April 15, 2014

@Rheumboy - What size 'bro would fit you? I'll custom fit a cowhide version for you with a pair of bulls' testicles dangling between those man puppies ASAP!

drax7 | April 15, 2014

Love leather.
My blue jeans will eat up the clothe, synthetic clothe might
Be more durable.

Leather cracks if allowed to dry out, so need to moisturize it
And keep out of direct sunlight.

LEvans | April 15, 2014

Get the leather. With minimal maintenance it will look good and retain the resale value of your car. I hold onto my cars for 6-8 years and always appreciate how well the leather holds up. Every few months use a leather cleaner and conditioner and you are set.

If you plan to sell the car within about 4-5 years, good luck trying to sell an almost $50K used luxury car without leather seats.

Doogerman | April 15, 2014

In the past I've always had cloth seats as I've always preferred the feel of cloth seats. This time around I decided to go with the tan leather interior. Lighter color interior makes the car seem brighter and more airy inside. Also thought that resale value might be higher with leather seats. Getting 3M crystalline tint all around, which should block out most of the heat from the sun, helping to prevent cracking. Really like the leather seats after getting used to them.

Dripps | April 15, 2014

I've had the cloth seats for almost 8 months now (9000 miles) and must say they look as good as new. I've always had leather seats but when I saw the cloth on a model at the store I was very impressed and it made me switch my selection to cloth. No regrets. My husband also has a Signature Model S with leather and it's nice.

sweetmanpe | April 15, 2014

Another vote for cloth. Feels better and should wear better unless you're obsessive about leather care (which I'm not).

bevguy | April 16, 2014

I like cloth fine, it's more comfortable in the summer. But cloth will kill you when you try to sell the car. Luxury buyers expect leather, not only will the car bring less but lot's of potential buyers won't even look at a car with cloth seats.

Actually the best is seats like on my 2005 Malibu, leather trim but some sort of ventilated synthetic where your butt rests. Unfortunately GM can't get the colors to match exactly so they don't look all that nice.

Re leather Tesla says not to use any leather treatments or conditioners. Leather will last longer if the car is garaged and if you keep the summer sun off with a towel when parked outside, plus crack a window to keep the heat down.

MassX1317 | April 16, 2014

I picked my car up yesterday and it was actually the first time I saw the textile interior in person. I love it. It's not your typical cloth interior. It's elegant meets sporty, just like the rest of the car. I liked the leather as well. I don't think you can go wrong with either option.

I am just glad they didn't go with perforated leather. This to me is the cheapest looking option, even compared to cloth seats in newer economy cars.

Qwiksilver | April 16, 2014

I too was on the fence. I like the way leather looks. So I got the black leather. I don't like the way leather wears nor how hot it feels in the summer. My wife purchased (beautiful) fitted black and grey seat covers.
Got the best of both.

Tesla-David | April 16, 2014

I have textile seats since 1/2/13 and no problems with wear. If I had it to do over again, however, I would recommend just going with leather, as I had to retrofit new front seats & install missing hardware for seat heaters, etc. missing in the early textile seats delivered in 2012 cars. The 2013/2014 textile seats have all the features missing in my seats. Had I just configured with leather seats I would have saved money. My next Tesla will have leather seats.

carlk | April 16, 2014

I like leather everything (car seats, sofas, shoes, jacket, breif case, wallet...). It always give you the quality luxury feeling than most other materials. I was peessed that the 98' Honda Prelude I bought at $25K (pretty expensive for a Honda at that time) did not include leather seat. The textile seat was sporty looking and not that bad though.

As for leather cracking I have never experienced one. The one we have kept the longest, leather in our 93' Explorer Limited was still very nice (nicer than even when it was new, that's why I like leather) when we traded it in 2010'. It was not even garaged during most of its life.

@bevguy Could you let me know where did you hear that Tesla advise not to use leather treatment? I can't think of a reason why but I certainly will follow it if that's what they say.