Vegan SUVs

A leather interior has long been a sign of luxury, comfort, and quality in automobiles. But leather also has its downsides. It can be hot, expensive, and most importantly to many, it’s downright cruel to animals.

So what happens when you’re a vegan and you want an SUV but or you’re looking for a smarter, more environmentally-friendly option?

You might think you would be stuck with a cheap-looking cloth interior that doesn’t reflect the price you would pay for a luxury vehicle. But this isn’t the case.

Buying a vegan SUV has never been easier. Tesla and many other auto companies are now offering a solution.

model x interior

Tesla and the Vegan Interior

Tesla is a company known for its forward-thinking environmentally-friendly products. As part of their commitment to green car technology, Tesla gives customers an option to have their “Ultra White” interior for their Model X SUV.

While the concept of an SUV that uses synthetic materials for its interior isn’t anything new, the Ultra White interior is one of the first that uses synthetic leather that looks and feels worthy of the Model X’s six-figure price tag.


It’s definitely a step up from Tesla’s earlier attempts at a vegan interior, which often relied on cloth and looked like an odd feature for a pricey luxury vehicle.

This vegan leather is now a standard feature on all Tesla models. The fully vegan interior also applies to the steering wheel, interior door upholstery, and panels.

Vegan has continued to improve its products and as of 2019 is now, according to the company, officially “100% leather-free” on all of its vehicles.

A Greater Commitment to the Environment

While Tesla is one of the industry leaders in environmentally-friendly automobiles and reducing the carbon footprint, other companies have started to offer vegan interiors for their luxury vehicles.

Brands such as BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari already offer faux leather as an option for their interiors, while Ford and Volvo are making use of organic materials such as soy foam for their car seats.

It’s no secret that the automobile industry has a reputation for being a major source of pollution among more environmentally-conscious folks, particularly the SUV.

But it is also clear that auto manufacturers have been making an effort towards offering “greener” options for their consumers.

German manufacturer BMW takes offering sustainability seriously. On certain models, it offers hides that are naturally dyed using olive leaves, and kenaf fibres for door paneling.

French tire manufacturer Michelin produces a tire sourced from Stearic Acid, which is from plant-derived sources.

We have also seen the emergence of hybrid SUVs to electric models over the past decade. High-quality vegan SUV interiors are a further step in the environmentally-conscious direction.

tesla model x

Why You May Not Want a Leather Interior

Did you know that auto manufactures typically using the hides of 5-15 cows for leather interiors?

Going leather-free can go a long way to being cruelty-free, and also reduce your carbon footprint.

According to PETA, the process of turning animal skins into leather requires 130 different chemicals including highly toxic ones like cyanide. That ‘new car smell’ is really just the aroma of chemicals.

People who work and live near leather tanneries face exposures to these toxic chemicals. This is on top of the many cows that suffer cruelty and are killed in the production of leather.

How Vegan Materials Are Superior

What’s even better about using vegan materials on vehicles is that they offer many benefits compared to leather which include:

  • Lighter in weight
  • Lower production cost (many of the materials are made from lower-cost or recycled fibers)
  • Reuse ability

Tesla interior

The Cons of a Vegan Interior

It’s a step in the right direction for leather NOT being the default option for luxury SUV models. However, leather-free options on certain SUV models such as the Range Rover Velar are actually MORE expensive than cloth and leather versions.

Of course, the kind of genuine leather interior that many customers want won’t go away anytime soon; it will still be available as an option for Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and other luxury vehicles. The big difference now is that you no longer have to feel remorse about sitting in a leather seat while you drive your new Tesla Model X or other SUV model.

Evolving Trends

Tesla has gone a long way towards making electric cars more readily available to the public.

While you can easily find a vehicle that has cloth or faux leather seats, those types of interiors haven’t historically been associated with luxury/premium SUVs.

Of course, the kind of genuine leather interior that many customers want won’t go away anytime soon; it will still be available as an option for Tesla, BMW, and Lexus luxury vehicles.

The big difference now is that you no longer have to feel remorse about sitting in a leather seat while you drive your new Tesla Model X. If you have the resources, you can still drive an SUV without betraying your vegan beliefs.

Whenever you’re shopping for a new SUV, consider a leather-free interior that’s stylish, cost-effective, durable, and kind to the planet as well as cows.

One Response

  1. How to Make Your SUV Vegan | NewSUV.org Says:

    […] course, the easiest way to have a vegan SUV is to purchase a new electric SUV. Electric motors do not use oil or gas, and Tesla has already […]

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