Cloth seats

Cloth seats

I am planning to get a Model S performance with all the bells and whistles, but I don't like leather or black trim. I spent the first 20+ years of my life going around in a Bentley and I don't have many good things to say about leather. I remember being in a Rolls Royce (35 years ago) that had velvet cloth seats and they were THE most luxurious imaginable. How about Tesla following this and Fiskers (!) example by making the cloth the highest end interior. It is also great extra green statement and many wealthy vegans and other that don't like leather will go for it. Lets not link cloth seats to the low end of the range. In my opinion high end cloth are in many ways better than leather.

olanmills | 24 augusti 2012

I'm not sure what's "green" about cloth seats in place of leather from cows that we are going to kill and eat anyway (yum).

I think today's leather is better than what they used to use in cars. I too, remember not liking leather seats in cars when I was a kid, but my current car has leather seats, and it's softer than the kind I remember in old cars. Of course it does get hot and cold in extreme weather, but not nearly to the degree that the older, tougher leather seemed to get.

jerry3 | 24 augusti 2012


The green part is not the cows, it's the tanning process which uses very toxic chemicals.

Teoatawki | 24 augusti 2012

Cows - it's not our fault they are so delicious! Plus, we can reuse the original packaging for wallets, purses, shoes, and car seats. Win - Win!

CarlE_P439 | 24 augusti 2012

Too bad there are no cloth options other than black, but no leather seats for me! Not everyone eats meat people!

Michael23 | 24 augusti 2012

That's why I got alcantara ;)

So soft!

olanmills | 24 augusti 2012

[I'm kind of responding to comments that were also made in the 'Initial review from Jason Calacanis - Sig #1' thread]

If you don't want leather seats for moral reasons, I can totally understand your dilemma and it's unfortunate that you don't really have the proper options available for your preferences. Also, @jerry3, good point about the chemicals used in tanning.

However, if the concern is simply over the quality of leather, I am wondering how it is that people are having such different experiences.

In the other thread, jerry 3 said, "The leather seats I've had in cars start cracking within a couple of years."

My aunt has a BMW from the late 90's that is normally kept outside under a car port (the paint is in terrible condition), but the leather inside is fine.

I myself hhave a Chevy with leather that is about 4.5 years old, and my parents both have other GM cars with leather that are 6 to 7 years old, and the seats are perfectly fine in their cars too.

In all of these cases, we have not done any maintenance to try to preserve the leather.

And I wouldn't say it's just because I have a different standard or attention to detail. I mean, even on close inspection, I would say that the leather in all of these cars is just as good as new other than the fact that it's a little loose in areas that have been subjected to the most wear. The quality of the leather itself is still soft and supple. It's smooth with no cracks. The same goes for the leather on the steering wheels and shifters as well.

I have definitely been in plenty of older cars with real leather that seems to be of worse quality taht what we have today. I dunno, maybe we have better chemical treatments that improve the quality of the leather somehow. In these older cars, I remember that the leather cracks, scraping your skin, and it also becomes stiffer making it less comfortable. I also remember that the transfer of heat between your skin and this older leather seems to be way more pronounced than the leather I have now, which is what makes it so undesirable when it's hot or cold.

JackA | 24 augusti 2012

Jerry3: My CTS-V has leather seats with leather provided by Eagle Ottawa Leather. They have included a statement in the materials that came with the vehicle which assert: "...and best of all it is produced using new technologies not harmful to the environment." I am not claiming this is true, only that it is in writing.

dubaty | 24 augusti 2012

I had also been under the impression that heated seats only came with leather. I thought it had something to do with durability until someone told me they have heated cloth seats in their Hyundai. I now believe that heated seats are bundled with leather as a luxury combo. It's time to separate these two options, particularly in something like a Model S where nobody is getting away cheap, no matter which version they buy.

Volker.Berlin | 24 augusti 2012
Volker.Berlin | 24 augusti 2012

I now believe that heated seats are bundled with leather as a luxury combo. It's time to separate these two options, particularly in something like a Model S where nobody is getting away cheap, no matter which version they buy. (dubaty)

+1, in particular heated seats (+steering wheel) are a great way to save on cabin heating and optimize range without sacrificing comfort!

jerry3 | 25 augusti 2012


You are correct that there are tanning methods that don't involve toxic chemicals. However, that's not how most leather is produced. Unless stated, as yours was, the assumption is that toxic chemicals are used.

jerry3 | 25 augusti 2012


+1 on the unbundling the heated seats. I'm guessing heated seats are almost mandatory with leather because in winter the leather feels ice cold compared to cloth so the heaters are required to get around one of the drawbacks of leather.

stephen.kamichik | 25 augusti 2012

In Canada you can get heated seats with cloth interior.

Robert22 | 26 augusti 2012


+2 on utilizing the seat heaters instead of the climate control. This should work for pre-heating also and may save some serious juice!

To Tesla Forum Monitor: Please include remote seat heater activation as part of your soon to be released smartphone app.

archibaldcrane | 1 januari 2013

Bumping this to ask - has anyone gotten cloth seats delivered? There's 3 damn Tesla stores in the LA area with a show car and a test drive car, and none of the 6 have cloth seats to check out. I'm going for a 2nd test drive tomorrow, but I fear that I won't be able to see the cloth before I have to reserve. It makes my wife especially nervous - buying something sight unseen.

It's pretty obnoxious. Any cloth out there yet?

Ltyore | 1 januari 2013

I've sat in the cloth seats. I can say I was genuinely surprised by their quality. They had a slightly grippy texture that I quite liked. I was going to get the leather but am strongly considering switching to the cloth. It seemed durable and good quality.

jat | 1 januari 2013

@archibaldcrane - The car I test-drove had cloth, and it seemed to be much like all the other cloth seats I have sat on. My car should be here next week and I can answer any questions you have then.

Personally, I wouldn't take leather if it was the same price -- in the south, cars get hot and hot leather is just uncomfortable to sit on. Besides, leather takes more care and in my (admittedly not recent) experience hasn't lasted as long as cloth does.

The new cloth seats (coming after the price increase) will also get 12-way adjustment and heating.

archibaldcrane | 2 januari 2013

Yeah let me know what you think Jat, my username at gmail.

shs | 2 januari 2013

My wife and I will only consider cloth seats and fortunately during our test-drive the Tesla rep said without prompting, “And this is our no animal products interior, our so called vegan option”. This will sound silly to most, but that was really an important step in our deciding to put in a reservation on the Model S, as we found the cloth interior very nice indeed, plus the fact that Tesla actually realized that some people cared about such things.

Now the question is how to get the newer 12-way heated cloth seats without paying the full $2500 price increase and delaying the availability of our car, which will be an 85/active air and hopefully ready fairly soon. But so far, no finalize button. We are #14574.

Xiaolong_Zhang | 11 maj 2013

I have learnt the hard fact of cloth seat in recent days, feeling cheated by Tesla to some extend if I have to say....

I made my reservation last year and finalized my configuration Jan this year. I had the same "green" consideration like the most of us here: do not want have animal skins in such a green car. In addition, cloth seats are actually more comfortable in hot weather.

When I finalized my configuration, I was only aware that I would not get the customized trim. However, now I realize I missed a lot:
1) Missed lumbar support! This is one of most desired feature in my taste. It adjusts the lower back support which is much needed for long road trips.
2) Memory seats: I did not realize actually my seat did not come with memory positions! Later on, I went to Tesla website and found out it is listed in the tech package. I ordered the tech package so I should have the memory seats. I called Tesla service. They said this was disabled for cloth seat. They are working on a software update to enable it in the next month or so.
3) No heated seat.

For lumber support, I actually have the 4-way button installed (in addition to the back-forth adjustment buttons). However, it does nothing. Today the service engineer in Frement called me. He told me it was a mistake to install that button. He offered to remove that button for free! This is ridiculous.

Even my cheap old Honda has a lumber support dial that can manually adjusted. How can Tesla offer a cloth seat which can only adjusted back and forth?

As an earlier "test driver", I wish Tesla can do better in clearly spec out the difference between cloth and leather seats. Do not hurt our "green" thinkers.

Do not get me wrong, I like the car they are making and this company. I have provided many feedback on my experiences in the last few months of driving. However, I would recommend that their management think for the customers and deliver more than customers expect in every aspects instead of cut it short sometimes.

ddruz | 12 maj 2013

@Xiaolong_Zhang, I empathize with you. It has been a bit confusing.

For reservations made before Jan 1, textile seats did not come with lumbar support, heat or memory. All these functions were tied to leather seats for original reservations.

As of Jan 1, new reservations with textile seats included lumbar support and heat along with a $2,500 increase in base price. Memory was still tied to the leather seats.

As of Apr 1, for new reservations driver profile memory was moved from the leather seats to the tech package.

Since your reservation was made last year your textile seats did not come with lumbar support, heat or memory, and your tech package did not come with seat memory. If Tesla gives you seat memory because you bought the tech package, count your blessings. You will be getting a freebie. People who reserved last year needed to buy leather seats to get driver profile memory.

It makes much more sense IMO to tie driver profile memory to the tech package. Now new reservations with textile seats can enjoy all the benefits of leather seats.

I'm sorry you got caught in the middle of these changes. Many people did. But on the positive side you saved $2,500 and it sounds like you might be lucky enough to get driver profile memory for free.

Fred O | 12 maj 2013

@ddruz thanks for your explanation. I reserved last october and was confused too by the strange combination of options. I was going for textile because my wife does not like leather seats (too slippery). And then there was this relation between saving $2500 or getting full option seats. Have discuss this with the sales person when I have a final test drive.

Xiaolong_Zhang | 13 maj 2013, Thanks for the explanation. I was not aware of these changes when they did the price increase, and until now. In fact, when I ordered the car before the increase, what I got from Tesla was that I should order as soon as possible to dodge the price increase. Otherwise I would be buying the same thing with +$2500 more. I still think Tesla should have clearly stated the difference between cloth and leather seats. After all, they are going through an online ordering system that people have to rely on to get everything right.

It seems Tesla has not completely got away from a car dealer's bad habit:)

riceuguy | 13 maj 2013

I LOVE the textile seats in my 60, but I really miss the lumbar. I miss two other things: auto slide back of the driver seat when exiting the car (would be tough to do since the car doesn't know when you are shutting it off till you start to leave!), and the memory seat for when I pick up the car from the valet (I am short!). I do wish these had been available with the textile seats...