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    Thread: Are modern Toyota interiors really this bad?

    1. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:13 AM #1
      I wasn't going to post about this (as I think it's rather trivial), but seeing this blog post on Edmunds made me think about it again:

      "[The Sienna] interior is the Camaro steering wheel of the minivan world."

      My father-in-law and I went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway this past Saturday for the classic car show. We took my Sonata and he remarked about how nice it was and was especially impressed with the interior.

      Fast forward to Sunday, and we're coming home from church in his wife's 2011 Camry LE and he starts "scanning the interior", looking at all the flaws. Granted, I've been in the car before, but never really paid that much attention, but he sure was.

      He noticed the horribly misaligned dash (where the upper dashboard meets the lower console), the glovebox was misaligned, the cup holder door was misaligned, and the sunglasses holder in the roof was badly misaligned.



      Moving to the rear seat area, the part of the door where the mouse fur covered portion of the door meets the arm rest was not properly attached, leaving an uneven gap between the two pieces. And finally, the upper portion of the door (soft material) has visible circular "push outs" as I call them -- it's as if the upper part of the door trim is either popped or screwed into place, and you can see this connection point in the form of a circular push through the soft material. There were about 4 to 5 of these marks visible on either door.



      Now, I used to own a '95 Camry and don't remember ever seeing stuff like this in the interior -- it was a tank with excellent quality all around. However, these newer Toyotas just don't seem to have that kind of attention to detail anymore.
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
      No, I got good grades in school

    2. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:23 AM #2
      I'm pretty sure that even Toyota's management knows that they've taken their cost-cutting about as far as it can go. They have become the company of "good enough" but taken some heat as a result. Unfortunately it takes years to change the direction of a company and could be 2015 before we see cars that exhibit a meaningfully improved level of attention to detail.

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      04-12-2011 07:26 AM #3
      You'll find a lot of people hitting a Toyota for the numb steering or what they'd consider a super bland ride, but for me the interior is where I find myself wondering how they sell so many cars. Sit in an Accord, Sonata or my Optima and it's even more shocking how bad it is. I briefly considered a Camry when I was looking for my next car. I like the exterior, the V6 is very quick ... but once I saw the inside I thought "That cant be right"

      Maybe they go cheap on the interior to add more soundproofing or spend the money elsewhere.

    4. Member TooFitToQuit's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:27 AM #4
      Yes, they are pretty bad. Think 1997 Ford interiors.

    5. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:30 AM #5
      A few years ago when a thief tried to hot wire my wife's Cavalier and ended up starting the engine on fire she got a Matrix exactly like the one pictured below. This was at the time her favorite car, when she'd see on in traffic she'd point it out, loved the car. I thought they were pretty awesome as well. After driving it for a week around the entire city, out to the cabin, and to look at cars outside of the city we could not get over how much we hated the car. The interior felt horrible and cheap with the lowest grade (feeling) materials we could imagine, it did not feel or look quality at all, driving it was not fun (and I tried to have fun, only wheel scrub and loud buzzy sounds). Better then an old Cavalier of course, as good as any of the older Toyota's I've driven, hardly.
      [IMG][/IMG]
      I always liked Toyota, my father even sold them for a while, there are models I'd take right now yet there seems to be some serious work done to get Toyota back on track.

    6. Member SteveMKIIDub's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:32 AM #6
      I really don't see the problem.

    7. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:33 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by MustacheGT View Post
      Yes, they are pretty bad. Think 1997 Ford interiors.
      That's funny you'd say that, my mother's old Explorer that my brother took turns beating to hell always felt very quality, solid, and well built. The interior was not fancy yet everything worked well and had a quality feel. If gas prices were lower where I live I'd be rocking one right now.
      Unless you're talking a lower level Taurus, any Escort, Contour/Mystique, or Mustang from the era, then I agree.

    8. Member Bav17's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:33 AM #8
      Its a joke really. People can proclaim that Toyota produces quality vehicles and then go on to bash GM and Chrysler for having crappy interiors. They then step into their Corolla or Camry, both vehicles that playskool must have had a hand in designing. The center stack in the Camry is especially bad. The cheap frosted plastic and blue lighting just don't work.

    9. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:36 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by SteveMKIIDub View Post
      I really don't see the problem.
      You can't tell in the press shots (well, you can see the dash misalignment) -- I just provided the pictures to point out where the problem areas are. Anyone that has been in a Camry knows exactly what I'm talking about.
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
      No, I got good grades in school

    10. 04-12-2011 07:40 AM #10
      Just look at the recent 2011 TC interior compared to the 1st gen TC, looks like Toyota is taking a major step backwards.

    11. 04-12-2011 07:47 AM #11
      My wife and I have owned 3 Toyota's over the years. I've never felt Toyota to have the best interior materials (compared to say Audi/VW, BMW, etc.) but last year when I went to the Chicago auto show I was stunned at how poor the interior of the then new Sienna was. I mean I'm just saying I noticed the cost cutting really struck home for me at that moment is all.

    12. Member SinisterMind's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 07:55 AM #12
      The interiors are that bad, but the problem is that the competition stepped up big and made Toyota look like the Hyundai Excel.

    13. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:00 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by SinisterMind View Post
      The interiors are that bad, but the problem is that the competition stepped up big and made Toyota look like the Hyundai Excel.
      The competition got better and have lower prices, this forced Toyota to cut costs to compete in the same price range. Back in the day the Camry seemed expensive against the competition yet it's quality was hard to beat so it became an excellent seller, especially to those who felt burned by the American and European cars of the 70's and 80's.

    14. Member MCTB's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:01 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by SinisterMind View Post
      The interiors are that bad, but the problem is that the competition stepped up big and made Toyota look like the Hyundai Excel.
      So what if the dash doesnt line up 100%? Its a mass produced vehicle. Its never going to be perfect. People dont buy Toyotas or Hondas because everything lines up. They buy them because at the price point, you cannot beat the fact that they are going to last. Nitpicking a gap here and there is stupid. Sections of the dash on both of my MKVs didnt line up. I didnt care. There might be gaps in this Camry dash but I bet that this Camry will be on the road long after many of its competitors with no dash gaps will. Its like that initial quality award. Who cares about initial quality? What about longevity?

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      04-12-2011 08:22 AM #15
      My in-laws just bought 2 Toyotas. He got a Rav4 and she got another Corolla. They could care less about the interiors from what I can gather. Someone has to make cars for the people that just want something that runs well and can be bought for around 15k in the case of the Corolla.

    16. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:25 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by morecarsthanbrains View Post
      So what if the dash doesnt line up 100%? Its a mass produced vehicle. Its never going to be perfect. People dont buy Toyotas or Hondas because everything lines up. They buy them because at the price point, you cannot beat the fact that they are going to last. Nitpicking a gap here and there is stupid. Sections of the dash on both of my MKVs didnt line up. I didnt care. There might be gaps in this Camry dash but I bet that this Camry will be on the road long after many of its competitors with no dash gaps will. Its like that initial quality award. Who cares about initial quality? What about longevity?
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      People don't buy the ****in' things for their interiors, guys. The number of people who care as desperately as TCL does about interior perfection is vanishingly tiny. What they do care about is durability, longevity, cost to own, fuel economy, and space. Yeah, Toyota has some improvement to do. They'll probably do it. But the owner of a new Camry didn't buy their car because they're hung up about a misaligned glove box.

      Look, it's like this. I live about two blocks from two of the best Mexican restaurants in Denver. They've both got awesome carne asada, tasty carnitas, perfect street-style tacos, homemade refritos, and excellent salsas. You will not find better Mexican food anywhere in the city. But I'm sure plenty of you have gone to Taco Bell while drunk or poor or hungry as hell, gotten the, I dunno, Cruncharito Gorditadilla Supremo, and enjoyed it roughly as much as I do my four little tacos nortenos on freshly homemade tortillas. Feel me?

      Oh, and just for what it's worth: my MKIV had misaligned interior bits too.
      Last edited by Turbio!; 04-12-2011 at 08:29 AM.
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    17. Member lonewolf's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:29 AM #17
      I agree with OP. Actually the cheesy interior of the Sienna is one of key reasons why I ended up with a new Odyssey over the Sienna. I really liked the Toyota Sienna exterior especially the SE version, but the interior was downright crappy. I am sure it is all functional, but the quality of material is like cardboard. Wifey didnt' like the Sienna interior one bit.


      That said, while I have seen reviewers praise the Odyssey like being a Acura, frankly I was not terribly impressed with it either. It was lesser of the evils. Seriously I still find all this a downgrade from my 12+ year old B5 Passat (sadly had to sell).
      Last edited by lonewolf; 04-12-2011 at 08:32 AM.

    18. Member nopal 6.0's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:30 AM #18
      You should try getting into a Honda CR-V, we have one know because my wife's Odyssey is in for service and the interior of the CR-V has so much hard plastics, it's not even funny. Sure the interior design is simple and looks upscale but start touching and it all becomes apparent where Honda did some cutting.

      I don't know if it's because we have the base level EX but it's just feels cheap compared to an Equinox or the Sportage and I'm not talking about the new models.

      the mileage is horrible too, it's advertised to get around 22mpg city and 30mpg highway but we can hardly manage to get 18mpg on the highway.

    19. Member windycityvdub's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:34 AM #19
      This is where the forward panel on the rear door meets the pull handle. Not good. This was on a '11 LE rental.


    20. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:35 AM #20
      I should of posted this with my earlier comment, the new Prius has a well built solid feeling interior with quality materials. I'm not a fan of the car yet I can appreciate the feeling of quality when I am in one.

    21. Member SteveMKIIDub's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:40 AM #21
      I've never seen terrible misaligned panels on a Toyota before except for the last picture posted.

      What's odd is that if you've ever been in a Toyota plant before you'll notice they have visuals posted EVERYWHERE for workers to ensure key areas (like interior panel gaps) are properly assembled.

      I'm very surprised to see this, especially from the company that every major auto manufacture has copied their manufacturing system from.

    22. Member TooFitToQuit's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:42 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by SteveMKIIDub View Post
      I've never seen terrible misaligned panels on a Toyota before except for the last picture posted.
      The one Toyota you've been in is an outlier.

    23. Senior Member Mazda 3s's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 08:49 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel! View Post
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      People don't buy the ****in' things for their interiors, guys. The number of people who care as desperately as TCL does about interior perfection is vanishingly tiny. What they do care about is durability, longevity, cost to own, fuel economy, and space. Yeah, Toyota has some improvement to do. They'll probably do it. But the owner of a new Camry didn't buy their car because they're hung up about a misaligned glove box.
      But this WAS the owner that took notice of this stuff as I pointed out in my OP. A person who is by no means a car person. I never said a word as he was making these observations -- he was bitching to his wife about it and I just sat in the back seat cracking up to myself

      He didn't even look at the Camry before he bought it for his wife. He talked back and forth over email with the internet salesman, made a deal, walked in and bought and drove off.

      This is also a family that has had a 96 Camry, 2001 Camry, 2006 Camry (my father in law drives this) and the 2011 Camry (my mother in law drives this).

      It wasn't until he sat in something with a nicer interior for similar money that he started noticing all of the little crap that was just plain bad in the 2011 Camry. He might have also started taking more notice after his twin brother bought a 2011 Sonata GLS last month after noting "If Brandon bought a Sonata and did all the research, it must be a good car"
      "Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

      Quote Originally Posted by The Igneous Faction
      Have you ever popped the hood on a powerstroke E350?
      Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerYOW
      No, I got good grades in school

    24. Member MCTB's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 09:00 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Nitzer View Post
      I should of posted this with my earlier comment, the new Prius has a well built solid feeling interior with quality materials. I'm not a fan of the car yet I can appreciate the feeling of quality when I am in one.
      *cough* Made in Japan *cough*


      Sienna- Made in the US
      Camry- Made in the US


      Just saying.

      And again, who cares. When/ if I have kids, I will probably own a Toyota. Why? Because the car, overall, is quality. It can take neglect and abuse from kids and do it well. A Sienna will last. I see more first generation Siennas around here than any Chryco Minivan of all vintages. I see more Odysseys than any Chryco Minivan. If/ when I have kids, $30k isnt chump change so I am going to buy the vehicle that I know has the better chance of lasting a decade and that will probably be a Toyota. Dash gaps be damned.

    25. Member SteveMKIIDub's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 09:25 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by morecarsthanbrains View Post
      *cough* Made in Japan *cough*


      Sienna- Made in the US
      Camry- Made in the US


      Just saying.

      And again, who cares. When/ if I have kids, I will probably own a Toyota. Why? Because the car, overall, is quality. It can take neglect and abuse from kids and do it well. A Sienna will last. I see more first generation Siennas around here than any Chryco Minivan of all vintages. I see more Odysseys than any Chryco Minivan. If/ when I have kids, $30k isnt chump change so I am going to buy the vehicle that I know has the better chance of lasting a decade and that will probably be a Toyota. Dash gaps be damned.

      I hate to say it but I also rarely see a Toyota in bad shape. Even ones that are 20 + years old. But that might be a testament to the type of owner the cars attract.

    26. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 09:36 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by SteveMKIIDub View Post
      I hate to say it but I also rarely see a Toyota in bad shape.
      Except for the obligatory rear corner dent in the bumper...

      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...-Dent-Registry
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

    27. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 09:48 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by morecarsthanbrains View Post
      *cough* Made in Japan *cough*


      Sienna- Made in the US
      Camry- Made in the US


      Just saying.

      And again, who cares. When/ if I have kids, I will probably own a Toyota. Why? Because the car, overall, is quality. It can take neglect and abuse from kids and do it well. A Sienna will last. I see more first generation Siennas around here than any Chryco Minivan of all vintages. I see more Odysseys than any Chryco Minivan. If/ when I have kids, $30k isnt chump change so I am going to buy the vehicle that I know has the better chance of lasting a decade and that will probably be a Toyota. Dash gaps be damned.
      Yep, you're right. It's not designed and built in the USA for North Americans. It is a modern Toyota so I posted it up.

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      04-12-2011 09:55 AM #28
      Haven't noticed it before, but the Matrix share a feature with the 9-3 wgn.

      A receding hairline






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    29. Member clutchrider's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 10:05 AM #29
      It may be an appliance but I still do love my Matrix at times. The AWD has never left me stuck, the mpg's are respectable and are keeping me at only $40 a fillup with these high prices $3.83 last night for 87. And it holds incredible amounts of stuff. Mine is black so the whole "hairline" thing doesn't strike me cause black looks best on this car.

      The interior however to me was light years ahead of other Toyotas at the time. You speak poorly of the car but you also need to note that this car came out in 2003 and the interior was unchanged except for the radio in 2005 for the whole period. The 05-08 models had slightly redesigned exteriors with taillamps cleared, fog lamps moved into the bumpers and slightly redesigned fascias and grilles. Compared to a Corolla of the same year it was a nice improvement, albeit plastic everywhere, but I like plain simple black/grey which this was. My only complaint would be that I wish I had lumbar support adjustment, but for what it is, you can't beat seating position and visibility.

    30. Member classicjetta's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 10:06 AM #30
      I agree that Toyota interiors are mediocre of late. The Sienna is especially bad considering it can cost more than $40k. Mismatched grains, hard hollow plastic along with cardboard headliner and poor fit make for a really cheap feeling vehicle. Compare it to the new Quest and you'll wonder why anybody gets one.
      I think Toyota is just banking on previous owners reflexively purchasing another, which will work until the owner rides in someone else's Sonata or Altima (as described in the OP). GM made mediocre cars for decades and had great success until they didn't anymore. The philosophy of Toyota today is to be extremely profitable and #1 in sales, while most other companies are moving towards making cars that sell themselves based on outstanding design or other features (like Nissan and Hyundai).

    31. Member classicjetta's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 10:13 AM #31
      One other point I forgot is that 'Toyota quality' isn't actually all that great anymore. The 2010 V6 Camry is actually worse than average in reliability according to Consumer Reports. Even the best years of that model were no better than average. Regardless of the whole recall fiasco, there has clearly been a drop in quality at Toyota in the last few years.

    32. Member 302W's Avatar
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      04-12-2011 10:20 AM #32
      My family test drove a base model RAV4 a few months ago and it was pretty terrible. Like what I would expect from Kia 5 years ago in their cheapest car.

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      04-12-2011 10:20 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by turbiodiesel! View Post

      oh, and just for what it's worth: My mkiv had misaligned interior bits too.
      you take that back!


    34. 04-12-2011 10:21 AM #34
      Mouse fur interiors are awful, very 1990s to me. Toyota is one of the few manufacturers that still use this crap on the insides of their cars, well Honda and Subaru do too, Nissan seems to be slightly better. Mouse fur everywhere, including that horrible 1990s fuzzy headliner too. Oh, and don't forget about the monotone interiors, which are so 1990s american to me as well.

      Check out the latest Korean offerings, as well as the new Ford Fiesta/Focus, they are learning from their Euro market cousins and offering a more durable looking/feeling cloth with some type of pattern to it. Toyota, however is totally behind the ball on their US interiors. If you check out their JDM or Euro market interiors they are far ahead in offering color contract interiors and no mouse fur so you can't say Toyota doesn't know how to do it.

      If you notice, in Europe, they've never used mouse fur fabric, it's always been a slightly better cloth type fabric material even on the same models they sell in the US.

      maybe its a conspiracy to make people upgrade to "leather" which in many cases is just as bad feeling as vinyl.

      but in the US, leather is the luxury interior material, in other countries, it's not because nice cloth interiors are offered.

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      04-12-2011 10:26 AM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by markoVR6 View Post
      If you notice, in Europe, they've never used mouse fur fabric, it's always been a slightly better cloth type fabric material even on the same models they sell in the US.
      Bee Five

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