Shopping for vegan cars can produce some frustrating moments. Sure, the base models of most cars typically feature cloth upholstery, but leather is commonly included in options packages. So if you order the nicer stereo or the sport suspension, you’re often “upgraded” to leather seats or a leather steering wheel. And some luxury cars make leather a standard part of the interior, and offer no alternatives.
Ethical considerations aside, leather is a terrible automotive upholstery. It’s cold and hard in the winter, slick and hot in the summer, and can be ruined by rain or a spilled drink. And why on earth would anyone wrap a steering wheel in leather? That’s just icky.
Sadly, you may have to cross certain cars off your shopping list in order to avoid leather. If that’s the case, be sure to email the manufacturer that they’ve lost a sale.
Fortunately, more and more car buyers want to avoid leather—and automobile manufacturers are finally taking notice.
Which Cars Are Vegan?
Inexpensive new cars typically come standard with cloth seats and vegan steering wheels. Of course, you should check that that’s the case for the cars that interest you. And you’ll also need to make sure leather’s not included in any upgrade packages you want. Too often, if you order a better stereo or a sport suspension, leather upholstered seats or steering wheels come with the package.
With high-end cars, even the base models may come with leather. Fortunately, both Mercedes and BMW use premium synthetics for the base models of all but their top-end brands.
Here are some details for other high-end car cars that sport vegan interiors:
- BMW & Minis: As of the 2023 model year, most BMW and Mini Cooper cars are available with primarily vegan materials.
- Ford: The Ford Mustang Mach-E comes standard with all-vegan interiors, including a vegan steering wheel.
- Mercedes: The EQXX is an all-electric car with a vegan interior featuring cutting-edge renewable materials made from mushrooms, bamboo, cactus, and vegan silk.
- Tesla: The company’s Model 3 originally included a leather-wrapped steering wheel by default, but no longer. All new Model 3 and Model Y cars now ship with premium synthetic seats and a vegan steering wheel.
- Toyota: While Toyota does offer leather seats and steering wheels in some models, it’s easy to find a vegan Toyota. Look for Softex, Toyota’s vegan leather alternative, in premium or upgraded Toyota models. Base model Toyotas generally come with cloth seats.
- Volvo: The company wants to make all cars leather-free by 2030, although it intends to continue offering wool blends. Edmunds reports that the model year 2022 C40 Recharge and all future electric vehicles will be leather-free.
Vegan cars have become far more commonplace over the years. There’s every reason to expect this favorable trend to continue.