2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: A Few Words About Leather
February 16, 2011
It's February, so as soon as millions of us switched on the car this morning, we went right for the seat heater.
This is not because we are all wimps. (Well, some of us are, actually.) Instead it's because we're sitting in leather-upholstered seats.
And leather is the worst in winter.
Actually leather is the worst in the summer, too. It's freezing in the winter and scorching hot in the summer, and squeaks all the time. As far as the general quality of leather upholstery, it is a throwback to vinyl seat upholstery of the 1950s, when everyone thought that plastic would save the world.
Thanks to the fast food industry, leather upholstery is pretty cheap these days. And also thanks to the fast food industry, the prime attribute many Americans look for in leather automotive upholstery is the ability to execute a quick cleanup when our hamburgers spontaneously disassemble and we spill some ketchup.
As the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport reminds me, cloth upholstery (well, it's actually still plastic) is so much better. It's neither freezes nor scorches, and it grips you securely enough to keep you from sloshing over against the door on the freeway ramp. And it cleans up great. Well, it cleans up great unless you get some kind of camelhair color and then let guys who have been crawling around on hot asphalt take a seat (remember that long-term 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX?).
As much as I enjoy fine leather upholstery, my choice for daily use would always be cloth. Of course, the number of American drivers who pick cloth upholstery because of anything other than an attempt to lower their monthly car payment must be incredibly small.
The Outlander Sport does have seat heaters, by the way.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,733 miles.