Once a symbol of luxury, new research from money.co.uk suggests that an increasing number of automakers are choosing to replace leather interiors with vegan-friendly, synthetic alternatives.
The number of people choosing to live vegan and sustainable lifestyles is on the rise, and carmakers are adapting to meet the demand for vehicles that are kinder to the planet.
While not many manufacturers actively market their cars as vegan-friendly, a new study from money.co.uk that looked at the materials used to upholster seats, steering wheels, gearstick's, and handbrake's – as well as CO2 emissions – found that there are plenty of choices available.
The Kinder Car's Index ranks the 50 of the best options for mindful motorists by scoring them on their leather content, or lack thereof, and their carbon emissions to help people choose a motor that helps them to get from A-to-B while reducing their impact on the planet and its animals.
Top 10 kindest cars
Polestar Polestar 2
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
Top 10 cars with animal leather-free interior
Polestar Polestar 2
Top 10 cheapest zero-emissions cars
Renault Twizy - £10,995
Skoda CitiGoe - £17,455
Seat Mii electric - £19,800
Renault Zoe - £26,495
Honda Honda-e - £26,660
Nissan Leaf - £26,845
Vauxhall Corsa-E - £27,665
Volkswagen e-Golf - £28,075
Kia e-Nero - £29,595
Hyundai Kona Electric - £30,150
What about Prius and Tesla?
According to manufacturer websites, the entry-level Prius and Tesla's in the UK market currently come with leather steering wheels meaning that they sit slightly lower in our ranking than expected, however, Tesla has said that they will happily change their steering wheel to one made with a vegan-friendly leather alternative for no charge.
Anyone looking to buy a Prius could also ask whether it's possible to switch their steering wheel to one made of foam or Toyota's leather alternative, Softex.
Salman Haqqi, consumer spending expert at money.co.uk, commented: "More people than ever before are making an active effort to live cruelty-free and low impact lives. You only need to look at the variety of meat and dairy-free alternatives on the shelves of your local supermarket to see how industries and retailers are responding.
"A recent report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders found that UK electric car sales increased by 78% between 2019 and 2020. This demand for more ethical options is helping to shape the car industry with brands including Tesla, Ford, Toyota, and BMW, all offering vegan-friendly leather alternatives in some of their flagship models.
"However, buying a car is still a bit of a minefield for vegan motorists as animal products are used in the manufacture of the steel and rubber that makes up the car itself.
"For some people, their car is the one necessary evil that it's just not possible to go without. But to help mindful motorists minimize their impact as much as possible, we looked at the leather content and CO2 emissions of some of the most well-known manufacturers to find the kindest cars that are available to buy today."
*Article Source: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/kinder-cars-index