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Do you want to purchase a new car? If so, you have lots of decisions to make! Do you want four, six, eight, ten or twelve cylinders? Gasoline or diesel? Coupe, sedan, SUV, van, minivan, truck? Perhaps you want a daily driver or a classic look ideal for a Sunday cruise.
One thing most people don’t consider until they’re signing the dotted line is the car’s interior fabric. Learn the fundamentals of choosing an interior fabric for your car.
What comes to mind when you think of car interiors? For the average driver, two options come to mind — cloth and leather. While you’re not wrong, you’re also missing out on nuances like nylon versus suede or the benefits of faux leather.
When it comes to cloth, you usually have two options — nylon or polyester. Nylon is cheap and durable, which is great if you’ve got kids or pets. However, it’s also porous, making it difficult to clean.
You’ll find polyester in the form of microsuede, which is very soft and comfortable, but stains easily. Even water can stain microsuede, so you need to be careful to keep it dry.
Occasionally you’ll discover suede in high-end vehicles called Ultrasuede or Alcantara. The material, made from a blend of polyurethane and polyester, is lighter and more durable than natural suede.
You’ll sometimes find vinyl interior, which is fantastic if you’re worried about spills since you can wipe nearly everything off. It can be uncomfortable during the warm summer months, however, because it absorbs heat.
Finally, you’ve got leather and faux leather. They look relatively similar, though it is easier to maintain faux leather than it is to take care of the real thing. Faux leather is waterproof like vinyl, without the fake appearance. Genuine leather upholstery is the most expensive interior option.
Going into the future, we may have even more options for automotive interiors in the form of adaptive textiles. These options will become more apparent as self-driving cars become the norm. Once you no longer have to worry about controlling the vehicle, you’ll want the cabin to be more comfortable — like sitting in your living room.
New 3D knitting techniques are working toward creating materials that can multitask inside your vehicle. This fabric will heat and cool the passenger while integrating things like fiber optics and other technology to ensure the most comfortable ride.
This knitting technique can even be applied to materials like carbon fiber to create exterior components as well, changing the automotive textile industry forever.
Buying a Car? Make the Right Decision
While adaptive textiles aren’t available for our automotive interiors quite yet, there are still plenty of options — and tons of colors. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the only choices you have are cloth or leather. You’ve got a variety of materials to choose from.
Do your research and pick a material that will best suit your needs, whether its durable nylon, attractive leather, or something in between.