Buying A New Car With Leather Or Adding It Yourself: Which Is Cheaper?

A lot of people want leather seats in their new car. The trouble is, most car manufacturers use this preference to upsell their vehicles. If you try to buy a new car with leather seats, you’re often asked to buy a moonroof, a fancy stereo, and a few other features you may not want.


For those who want leather without having to pay for the premium or upgraded trim level, there’s a solution. You can add aftermarket leather seats to any car. Very often these seats are cheaper because a new car with a trim that has leather seats (and other add-ons) is more expensive than the same model with a lesser trim.

Interior car leather

Image credit: martins_sitcs

 

For example, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 starts at $26,350. To get leather seats, you’ll have to upgrade to the Adventure trim, which starts at $33,355. Basically, you’d be paying a whopping $7,005 for leather seats and other add-ons like:

  • Sport-tuned suspension system
  • Sport shift lever, floor mats, and door sill protectors
  • Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters

That’s a hefty price tag for features you don’t care for, especially when you can get your local dealership to install leather seats to the base model for under $2000. That’s why installing aftermarket leather seats is the perfect solution. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Aftermarket Leather Seats?

When you ask the dealer to install aftermarket leather seats, you’re asking them to remove the stock seats and replace them with complete leather seats. Katzkin is the choice brand for many dealers who install leather seats, and they offer a wide variety of color and material options.

Katzkin, along with many other reputable aftermarket leather seat brands, offers seats designed to work with certain makes and models. If you do a search on the brand’s website, you’ll find a list of aftermarket leather seats that are compatible with your new car.

Pros And Cons Of Installing Aftermarket Leather Seats

Explore the pros and cons of installing aftermarket leather seats in your car.

Pros

  • Quality: Aftermarket leather seats are often identical to or better than factory-installed leather seats in terms of look, fit, and durability. Many factory leather seats use vinyl backers or low-grade leather, while most aftermarket kits are 100% leather and tend to be good quality.
  • Comfort: Technically, the seat itself doesn’t change when you add leather to a vehicle. So the comfort shouldn’t change much. However, on some cars, the factory leather is lower grade than the leather you get from an aftermarket kit.
  • Customization options: If you’re looking for a more unique look than standard leather seats, you can opt for custom leather seats with particular color schemes and custom stitched logos. It’s inexpensive to add customization to aftermarket leather seats.
  • Additional upgrades: If you’re replacing the seat covers with leather, it’s a simple matter to add in heated seats. There are also kits that will add cooling to the seats as part of the upgrade.

Cons

  • Costs, especially if you’re doing a larger vehicle: Adding leather to a coupe or sedan is fairly inexpensive – $1500-$2000 including installation, with some special deals available for popular models. But if you’re adding leather to a 3 row SUV, it can get pricey.
  • Customization confusion. When you decide to add an aftermarket leather kit to your car, you’ll quickly realize that there are dozens of options available in terms of colors, patterns, piping, stitching, etc. It can quickly get confusing.

In A Nutshell…

Instead of paying thousands of dollars on a package upgrade just to get one or two features you want, you might consider only buying the functionality you want aftermarket.

If, for example, you want to have leather seats in your vehicle, you don’t have to buy the premium trim package to get them. If you want heated seats, you can get those via an aftermarket seat heater kit. If you want to add SiriusXM radio in your car, you can just get one of our satellite radio adapter kits.

Or if you want a completely new and innovative system, you can take a look at our Smart Keyless Access system to get keyless entry, walk-away lock, illuminated entry, and more.

NOTE: If you’re in the market for a new car, be sure to check out this list of features a dealer can add to your new car!

Categories: Car Accessories