Over time, leather has become a sign of luxury and class. In the automotive industry, a leather interior is typically only included in select models, which cost thousands of more than the standard model. Just to throw out an example, a 2018 Honda Civic starts at around $20,000. To get leather seats, you need to upgrade to the EX-L Navi model, which adds over $5,000 more to the bill. Of course, there are a ton of other features that make the hefty price tag justifiable – but that leaves three out of five models of the 2018 Honda Civic that don’t include leather seats!
Some of us would love the opulence of a leather interior without all the extra bells and whistles that come with the model. Heated seats, touchscreens, and push to start functions are all nice, but not always necessarily needed. This can make finding a vehicle with a leather interior frustrating, since all of the additional features are also thrown in and inflate the cost.
An easy solution to this problem is leather seat covers. Even the most exorbitantly priced seat covers are going to be much easier on your wallet than spending another five grand on a higher model. You can find top of the line custom leather seat covers for a 2018 Honda Civic for around $400; there are also more affordable options starting from $250. Of course, “affordable” is a relative term, but getting a leather interior for less than a tenth of the price of upgrading to an entirely different model of a car is much more economical.
This is where PU leather shines. PU stands for polyurethane. In simple terms, it’s artificial leather. But make no mistake – for the average consumer, PU leather seat covers are a satisfactory substitute for real leather seat covers. Visually, the two are nearly identical. In fact, PU leather seat covers provide all the luxury of real leather seat covers. And as an added bonus, they don’t require the same upkeep as real leather.
PU leather seat covers serve their purpose flawlessly: They protect your seats and look amazing doing it. Not only do PU leather seat covers offer a better defense than your standard fabric or cotton seat covers, they’re also much easier to clean. You can simply wipe away any debris or spills rather than throwing them in the washing machine. Plus, PU leather is naturally more water resistant than most fabrics and cloth materials. A few seconds between spilling your coffee and grabbing some napkins to soak it up can be all the difference between a crisis averted and a total disaster.
So, the contrast between PU leather seat covers and their fabric counterparts is obvious. But what about real leather seat covers? There are five significant differences between the two materials.
Real leather requires maintenance to keep it looking good and healthy. It needs regular cleaning and treating with special agents made specifically for leather, which can be pretty costly. PU leather retains its shiny finish without any need for special treatment, saving you both the time of cleaning and the expenses of products.
PU leather is naturally more a more breathable material than real leather. In seat covers, this is an especially valuable trait. Real leather seat covers can get clammy on long car rides or hot weather, and there’s nothing worse than a t-shirt clinging to a sweaty back. PU leather seat covers allow moisture to evaporate, which keeps you cooler.
Since leather is a natural material, imperfections are unavoidable. In general, this is considered one of leather’s charms, but some perfectionists may prefer the flawless finish that PU leather seat covers provide. Since it’s manmade, the finish is perfectly smooth.
Obviously, leather comes from animal hide. This is, in part, what makes the material such a sign of luxury; but for some people, it may actually be a drawback instead of a benefit. PU leather seat covers are a great alternative for vegans, vegetarians, or just plain old animal lovers since no animals are harmed in the manufacturing process.
And of course, perhaps the biggest difference of all is the price. Leather is by far the most expensive material seat covers are available in. PU leather seat covers are much more affordable. This can make a huge difference in vehicles with three rows of seats or in the case of custom seat covers, which are much more expensive than universal seat covers as a rule.
Shop our selection of PU leather seat covers at FH Group!