Car enthusiasts used to focus on the outward appearance of their cars. It was a common sight to see vehicles with a beautiful exterior, but the same couldn’t be said for their interior.
Now, things have changed, and car enthusiasts pay equal attention to the outside and inside of their cars.
Car manufacturers need to produce great-looking cars which have a comfortable and visually appealing interior.
A car’s upholstery is a very important factor, as it covers more than three-quarters of the car. The upholstery doesn’t just cover the seats; it shrouds the dashboard, steering wheel, and the trim of a car.
This is why car manufacturers need to think carefully about what material is best for their vehicle’s upholstery.
Fabrics like cloth and leather have always been common sights in cars, but recently, a new material called Alcantara has been becoming more popular.
It looks like suede leather but is soft to the touch and a lot more breathable.
While it may look amazing, Alcantara costs a lot of money. The price is slightly less than what you would pay to upholster your car with leather.
You’ll learn more about Alcantara in this article, including what it is and what it costs to upholster your car with it.
You’ll also learn about some of the differences between Alcantara and leather, so you can decide which material is better for your car.
Alcantara is often linked to suede leather, but it’s actually a brand name for a particular textile.
Alcantara was first invented by an Italian of the same name. Car manufacturers became interested in the material due to its attractive finish.
Alcantara was first used to upholster cars back in the 1970s. Almost 50 years on, Alcantara is one of the most desired materials people wish to have lined their cars.
Alcantara is used for car interiors as it’s strong, soft, and has an appealing suede appearance.
It’s a popular alternative to leather, as it has some properties which aren’t present in leather.
Alcantara is made from a microfiber pile and has lots of bristles on its surface. This translates into a beautiful finish that looks amazing on a car’s interior.
You can find it in several colors which give vehicle owners a range of finishes to choose from.
It’s very sturdy and resistant to damage. This makes it a great choice for the steering wheel and seats, as the material will withstand friction well.
Alcantara will also resist liquids and dirt well, making cleaning and maintenance easy.
How Much Does Alcantara Cost?
Despite all of its advantages, Alcantara does have some disadvantages. The main one is its cost.
Alcantara interiors are usually included in the total cost of a premium vehicle. If you want to purchase it as an optional add-on, the interior can cost anywhere between $1000 and $2000.
This cost is a little less than the cost of a leather interior. However, Alcantara isn’t as durable as leather and cannot be repaired.
If an Alcantara interior becomes old and worn out, the buyer will have to pay more to replace it.
We’ll cover the similarities and differences between Alcantara and leather below.
Differences Between Alcantara And Leather
Alcantara and leather are both expensive materials, but they do have some differences.
Leather Lasts Longer Than Alcantara
If you want your car’s upholstery to last a long time, leather would be a better choice.
Alcantara is strong, but with all the friction that comes with using a car, it will wear out sooner compared to leather.
Leather Is Softer Than Alcantara
Alcantara is soft to the touch, but leather has a particular softness that many prefer. This is why many premium car manufacturers use leather in their interiors.
Handling a leather-coated steering wheel and sitting on leather upholstery has a much more luxe feel compared to Alcantara.
Alcantara Has A Better Appearance
This is a point of debate, but many people agree that Alcantara looks a lot nicer compared to leather. An Alcantara upholstery makes a car’s interior look a lot more luxurious.
As it’s available in a range of colors, car manufacturers can experiment with different finishes and designs to go with the exterior.
Alcantara’s Friction Coefficient Is Higher
This may not be a huge advantage for regular drivers, but racing enthusiasts may want to take note. Leather has lower friction that makes it easier to slip, particularly if it’s been treated with oil.
Alcantara, on the other hand, has higher friction.
This gives people that handle an Alcantara shrouded steering wheel much more control, as well as anyone sitting on Alcantara seats.
Similarities With Alcantara And Leather
Both Materials Need A Regular Maintenance
Both Alcantara and leather need to be properly cared for. These materials need a lot of regular maintenance to keep them looking and acting their best.
As they are so high maintenance, premium and higher-end vehicle companies like to use them in their interiors.
Both Materials Are More Durable Than Cloth And Vinyl
Less expensive interior materials, like cloth and vinyl, can look old and worn out after a few months.
Alcantara and leather, on the other hand, can last for years, as long as they are well cared for.
Both Materials Are More Expensive
As Alcantara and leather are so expensive, only premium car manufacturers can afford to use them as upholstery.
This is why the majority of cars use less expensive materials for their interiors, like cloth and vinyl.
Only very expensive cars will have a leather or Alcantara lining.
The Bottom Line
Alcantara interiors are a sign of luxury, but they will cost a lot. Alcantara upholstery can cost anywhere from $1000-$2000, which is a little less than the cost of a leather interior.
Leather and Alcantara are both premium car interior materials, but some may prefer one over the other. If you are after a classic luxury feel, leather’s soft touch is unlike any other.
If you’d prefer a unique upholstery, Alcantara looks great and is available in a range of colors, giving you more choice.
It’s also ideal for those that sweat a lot, as the material is breathable and lightweight, giving you more comfort overall.