Using Alcantara in your car interiors could be bad for your health

I can鈥檛 pinpoint exactly when it started happening, but it looks like almost every performance car interior today comes with something covered in Alcantara. Someone somewhere must have decided that this was what would please enthusiasts.

What is Alcantara?

Alcantara, if you don鈥檛 know, is a brand of synthetic material similar to suede. It is widely used in the technology, fashion and design industries. Specifically for car interiors, it is a good substitute for vinyl, cloth and leather. Many OEMs praise Alcantara for its superior quality and, at the same time, its lightness, both desirable advantages when building a lightweight performance car that also shouldn鈥檛 make the driver feel like they鈥檙e sitting in a shed. low rent.

Problems with Alcantara interiors

Many drivers have started having problems with the amount of Alcantara in their cars. Car seat inserts, gear selector, door handles, armrests and, most notably, the steering wheel, can become wrapped in such material. Alcantara is a plush, low-friction material that skin slides over quite easily, so covering a high-priority touchpoint like the steering wheel doesn鈥檛 really make much sense. Leather-wrapped (or even faux-leather) steering wheels have a lot more grip and therefore they are better for when you are driving a sports car.

A textile that absorbs microparticles

Also, Alcantara gets dirty too easily. Humans secrete oils and fluids and shed microscopic skin cells at all times. You are doing it right now as you read this. If you鈥檙e sitting in your car, all of that stuff we throw out has to go somewhere. It goes all over the faux suede and really gets in there. It sinks

Mustang Mach E
Mustang Mach-E. / Photo: Courtesy Ford.

Alcantara is very prone to absorbing oils from hands and skin. When this happens, the tiny fibers that make up the smooth, velvety texture become matted and begin to flatten out. Stains appear and the surface quickly begins to lose its original shine. The material can become so saturated with dirt and grime that the suede surface begins to feel greasy or oily.

Some advantages of Alcantara

But don鈥檛 worry, it鈥檚 not that Alcantara isn鈥檛 a great material, because it is. In fact, is a lightweight leather alternative and is even fire resistant. Now, it can be argued that gripping a black Alcantara steering wheel on a 100 degree sunny day is exponentially less painful than a black leather one.

If automakers must put Alcantara inside cars, they should put it somewhere no one touches it. Line the roof and the pillars of the car with it. Slide it over the dash below the windshield to reduce glare. Put it in places where we can look, but we must not touch, that would be a good option.



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