2015 Toyota Camry XSE brings Ultrasuede Alcantara to mainstream
The 2015 Camry XSE is a first for many reasons. It is the first Camry to marry the best handling and best looking Camry, the SE, with the luxury features found only in previous XLE models. Another first on the new Camry XSE is the use of Ultrasuede. This is a premium synthetic material that looks and feels like suede. Previous to the Camry’s adoption of this material it had not been used on a high-volume vehicle.
2015 Camry XSE Ultrasuede Seats
The new Camry XSE features seats with Ultrasuede. It is a Toray Plastics product and also marketed under the name Alcantara. The material forms the seating and back-rest portions of the seat and leather trims the bolsters and sides. Ultrasuede has many benefits. It is a high-friction material, so it helps to keep passengers in place during turns and stops. The material also breathes. All manufacturers are trying to move towards soft-touch materials, and Ultrasuede is perfect in that respect. Having now been used on low volume cars like the Camaro ZL-1 and many supercars, Ultrasuede and Alcantara have a reputation for durability.
About Ultrasuede and Alcantara
Ultrasuede is also a “zero-carbon” material. It is environmentally friendly, and animal rights advocates will like that it is manufactured without the use of any animals, unlike leather. The material was invented by Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto of Toray Industries in 1970. It slowly developed into a material for automotive applications and was first used in the 1978 Fiat X 1/9. A partnership with an Italian manufacturer helped to move it forward, and both Audi and Lancia used the material. In 2008, Toray began to make OEM seating kits and promoted the product for use in high-end vehicles. Alcantara is based on the same technology and is made in Italy while Ultrasuede is made in Japan.
Torque News has tested a number of vehicles that used this new material and have always found it to be superior in many ways to leather. This week we tested the Camry XSE and found the Ultrasuede to be a great alternative to cloth while providing a premium look and feel.