Leather seats are more durable, easier to care for and less likely to show stains or dirt than fabric upholstery. Leather seats also increase a vehicle's resale or trade-in value. The only real downside of leather interiors is their higher cost.
One of the main advantages of leather seats is their ease of cleaning. While liquids quickly soak into fabric upholstery, most liquids do not even penetrate the surface of leather seats. Therefore, while cleaning fabric seats sometimes requires scrubbing and using chemicals to remove odors or stains, most leather seats come clean with just a damp cloth. Leather seats are not totally impervious to damage caused by liquids, however. Some liquids, even seemingly harmless ones like beverages and lotions, contain chemicals that react with other chemicals present in the leather. These reactions sometimes cause discoloration or hardening of the seats. While products exist that can correct minor leather discoloration, seriously stained or hardened leather seats are usually impossible to repair.
Genuine leather interiors are quite expensive, but synthetic leathers offer many of the advantages of leather seats without the high cost. Many synthetic leathers possess the durability and colorfastness of genuine leather, though seats made from these materials are not available from every automobile manufacturer.