Off Topic: Automakers, Please Stop Packaging Features With Leather

You know your dream car is completely covered in leather and furs.

You know your dream car is completely covered in leather and furs.

Based on the amount of gratuitous creature-shooting featured in Axiom Verge, you might be surprised to learn that I'm a vegetarian.  I have been for over 20 years.  It's not something I discuss a lot or even encourage, because it's mostly a pain in the ass I have to put up with since my conscience won't let me do otherwise.

Case in point:  Automobiles.  From what I understand the glues and such in cars are made from animal bones/hooves/blood/muscle so there's no such thing as a 100% "vegetarian" car, but since I know it takes 2 or 3 dead cattle to fill an SUV with their skin, I try to avoid doing that. But for some reason it's considered luxurious and better to trim cars with cow hides, so the faster, better, and more-tech filled a car is, the more leather.  Personally this kind of feels like when home electronics used to have fake wood paneling - I guess to make people feel like they were classy furniture - but whatever, if I understood people, I probably wouldn't be a game developer.

So anyway, now that we have our first child - one who is disabled and will need a wheelchair to go with him wherever he goes - we've been investigating various 3 row family haulers.  But as soon as we think we've found the perfect car, we discover that you can't have this or that feature without getting leather seats.  Usually stuff like navigation, collision sensors, parking sensors, power hatches, sun roofs, better engines, hybrid trims, etc, are packaged with leather, leaving you only with crappy bare-bones options.

If I'm to believe Quora, about 5.2 percent of the world was vegetarian (in 2015), though the 500 million vegetarians in India is more than 5.2 percent of the world, so...who knows where the numbers come from.  And there's no telling how many of these people buy cars, but doesn't it seem like a substantial number that could matter for profit?

Because I was already making a list of 3 row family cars, what features we miss out on by not having leather, and how much they cost, I thought I would share it here.  Maybe someone buying a car in early 2017 will find it useful.  Maybe an automaker will read it and be all, "huh, we could make more money than we do" (but they won't, because because).  We still may end up having to get leather just for safety features (maybe I can buy some cows to offset those that died?), or we may just have to make due with our 2014 Wrangler and its manually controlled everything.


3 Row Cars Standard With Leather Seats

Most luxury SUVs only come with leather,  so this is sort of a no-brainer.  But it really hurts that the safest, highest rated, most family friendly vehicle - the Volvo - is among them.

Acura MDX $44,050
Audi Q7 - $54,800
BMW X5 - $55,500 (Note that the 2 row version of this can be had without leather)
Cadillac Escalade - $74,590
Infiniti QX60 - $42,600
Infinit QX80 - $63,850
Land Rover Discover $42,440
Land Rover Range Rover Sport $64,950
Lexus GX $51,680
Lexus LX $88,880
Lincoln MKT $43,370
Lincoln Navigator $63,195
Toyota Land Cruiser $88,825
Mercedes Benz GLS 550, AMG GLS3
Volvo XC90 - $53805


3 Row Cars That At Least Let You Get the Lowest, Crappiest Versions Without Leather Seats

Here I'm listing the features you CAN'T get without leather seats, since that was the most useful for us to rule out different cars.  Also I put the amount of money automakers lose for each vegetarian/vegan who could have bought them.

Chevy Suburban - power liftgate, power sunroof, heated seats,  navigation, power telescoping steering wheel, power release 2nd row, front and rear parking assist, keyless start, heated power mirrors, 2nd row bucket seats, driver information center, heads up display, adaptive cruise control, power retract steps ($17,990)

Chevy Traverse (2017) - power mirrors, blind spot alert, seat memory, forward collision alert, lane departure warning ($7,790)

Chrysler Pacifica - plug-in hybrid ability, panoramic sunroof, heated seats, 3 zone temperature, 7-inch driver information digital cluster, built in vacuum, better looking front end, touring suspenssion, 360 degree surround camera, adaptive cruise control, break assist, collision warning, lane departure, rain sensitive wipers, power doors & liftgate ($6,715)

Dodge Durango - V8, adaptive cruise control, advanced break assist, blind spot and cross path detection, collision warning, Rear seat entertainment, 2nd row storage, lane departure warning, power liftgate  ($5360)

Dodge Grand Caravan - heated seats, rear dual-screen blu-ray, blind spot/cross path detection, rear park assist, rain sensitive wipers ($5,600)

Ford Explorer - Turbo v6, enhanced park assist, adaptive cruise control, front 180 degree sensor, lane keeping system, power folding mirrors, memory driver’s seat, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power adjustable pedals,  2nd row bucket seats($6,196)

Ford Expedition - 10 way power driver’s seat, power heated mirrors, power liftgate, 3rd row powerfold seats, driver memory, remote start, dual zone hvac, dual headrest DVD, voice activated navigation, 2nd row bucket seats, power running boards ($12,980)

Ford Flex - Turbo v6,  multipanel sunroof, Navigation, 10 way power heated and cooled  front seats, cross traffic alert, driver memory, power adjustable foot pedals, 110 volt outlet, power liftgate, power mirrors, active park assist, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, powerfold and tumble 3rd row, power tilt/telescope steering wheel  ($13,345)

GMC Acadia - Navigation, hands free liftgate, Lane keep assist, forward collision alert, safety alert driver seat, low speed automatic breaking, front pedestrian detection, 8”navigation, driver memory, drive rode selector, front park assist, follow distance indicator, continuously variable damping, surround vision, adaptive cruise control ($11,905)

Honda Odyssey - Forward collision warning, lane departure warning, auto dimming mirror, heated seats, power monroof, power liftgate, driver memory, blind spot information  ($11,375)

Honda Pilot - Power panoramic moonroof, navigation, 2nd row USB chargers, Heated seats, rear entertainment system ($10,740)

Hyundai Santa Fe - panoramic sunroof, multi-view camera, 8” navigation, auto dimming mirror, LCD multi-info display, blind spot detection, rear traffic, power mirrors, push button start, 2nd row captain’s chairs, power passenger seat, rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning ($10,000)

Kia Sedona - 8” navigation, surround view, usb ports, blind spot detection, heated seats, push button start, 3.5” meter cluster, dual power sunroof, lounge seating, power height adjustable liftgate, smart cruise control, forward collision warning system, lane departure warning system, automonomous emergency breaking  ($13,225)

Mazda CX-9 - Power moonroof,  8” touchscreen Navigation, multi information display, driver memory, Power liftgate with programmable height, auto sensing door locks, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert,  lane departure warning, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, heated mirrors, rain sensing wipers, keyless entry ($9420)

Mitsubishi Outlander - V6, Power driver’s seat, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, power liftgate, multi view camera, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, heated steering wheel ($4,600)

Nissan Pathfinder - Panoramic sunroof, around view monitor, driver memory, ac outlets, moving object detection, motion activated liftgate, intelligent cruise control, forward emergency breaking , rear entertainment $46,400 

Nissan Armada - Around view monitor, moving object detection, remote start, power moonroof, tri-zone entertainment, intelligent cruise control, emergency breaking, blind spot warning, collision warning, distance control assist, 2nd row captain’s chairs  ($12,020)

Toyota Highlander - panoramic moonroof, 8” navigation,  multi-information display, heated front seats, blind spot monitor, cross traffic alert, parking assist,360 camera,  ($12,820)

Toyota Sienna - Power dual moonroof, power liftgate, parking assist sonar, blind spot monitor, rear traffic alert, touch lock/unlock, power passenger seat, power folding 3rd row, driver voice amplification, rear entertainment system, 4.2 inch multi info display, rain sensing wipers ($11,372)


3 Row Cars That Don't Sacrifice Anything Without Leather

Very short list  here - Teslas are made by tree hugging (yet lead-footed, torque-loving) hippies, while Mercedes has something called MB-Tex that perfectly mimics the sweaty, thigh-burning discomfort you know you crave.

Mercedes GLS 450 - $67,050
Tesla Model S - $68,500
Tesla Model X - $80,100