Leatherette is a fancy term for synthetic leather. It is probably a form of vinyl of some kind. Where are they using the term leatherette? the seat or steering wheel? shifter? I dont want leatherette seats, it is not leather. German companies have been using leathette for some time now on thier cars, audi has used it, bmw has used it as well.
Mazda has a tradition of using leatherette on all the surfaces but the 'seating surface'.
It was this way in my 10AE Miata, the seats have leather seating 'surfaces' but the sides and back of the seats were 'pleather' or vinyl.
It is really noticeable in my parents Mazda Tribute, where the surface of the seats are leather, but the sides and back, as well as what is in the door panels, are actually a vinyl feeling 'leather look' surface. I was not too impressed by it, which is reason why I am wanting to feel the leather and 'pleather' on the 6 seats before choosing that option. The only thing that pushes me towards the leather is the fact that without it you don't get the auto climate controls.
At this price point, and most Mazda vehicle price points, you can't blame them for using the pleather on the sides. I have oft times wondered what the new leather seating surfaces in the US Spec Protege are like......
Never experienced leather option on a Mazda before. However, I know Honda and all the European brand (Audi, BMW, Mercs, Volvo and etc) has a very nice clean finish to their leather option seats. If Honda uses leatherette (fake leather) on everything except the seating/contact surface then they did a damn good job. I can't tell the difference.
Is Mazda that bad on hiding (actually blending) the leatherette with the leather. I know this type of tactic is ask for by the bean counters but if they are going to do that, at least be subtle about it.
I have to see the Mazda leather surface to comment this further.
I don't know if I would so much say that Mazda is bad at it, and the Tribute may be a bad example (perhaps) of Mazda's leather quality, but it left me unimpressed, as I said.
You can feel the difference between the two materials, with the vinyl being coarser, rougher, and not as soft and pliable. It also generally feels cheaper, which it is.
Can you see a difference? Subjective, I suppose, but I can. The leather in my parents Tribute is grey, and the seating surfaces (the actual leather) is a tad darker than the sides and the back (the vinyl). My parents don't notice it, but I do. There is even almost a tad bit of yellow discoloration in the vinyl stuff that is not there on the actual leather.
Now, this may be because the Tribute in question came from the first production run of a brand new vehicle, but then so will my new 6. ? Again, I suppose in the long run it does not really matter, and if it was black, as the leather in my 6 would be if I chose that option, I wonder if it would be noticeable. ?
As for the colours of the leather, no one has answered that question. Well, from the info I have gotten about the Canadian spec models, the leather can come in either black, grey or beige depending on the colour you choose. However, if you get the GFX package (CDN, Sport Package US) the leather/cloth comes in black only.
We just have to sit back and wait to say whether the leather will be good or not right?
Colour wise, I think you are right on the nail. That is the most common choices for leather and I would not doubt Mazda will do the same. Too bad though because I really like the prototype version and the JDM version where the leather gets a dual coloured treament. You get grey and black colour leather/leatherett/fabric. This is especially nice with the steering wheels and shifter knobs.
I think it's the same here, for example, the standard seat surface material for a VW Passat Highline model is described as being "partial alcantara/leather". I don't think they would put it this way if they weren't forced to
And the Mazda brochures don't mention any other material but leather.
I've seen it in leather. It's a wonderful leather job. It's really astonishing beautiful. A good advice to those that pick leather:
there is an option where you can get a part of your door handles (like the plate where the power windows' buttons reside) in the metallic-looking finish that the centre console has. That goes VERY well with the leather. Pick that. You'll love me forever for trusting me on that one!
About the leather: it's a high quality leather and the detailing is extremely good. If I had known HOW good it looks, I would have paid those extra 1500 US$ to get it...:sarc
I agree with you that calling it something that it is not is wrong. However, I highly doubt Mazda is going to slather the whole seat in leather if they don't do it in ANY of their other US and Canadian Spec models. I would like to believe that they would, but I am about 99.44% certain they won't (note that I am not certain about the Millenia).
However, you are right, they won't call it leather per se, what they will do is put a star beside it, and at the bottom of the page, put 'leather seating surfaces only, sides/back are leatherette'. This is what it says on the option spec sheet for my parents Tribute, on the window sticker for their Tribute, in the brochure for the Tribute, in the brochure for my 10AE (of course it mentions alcantra/suede inserts, leather seating surfaces, leatherette sides and seat backs) and the window sticker for my 10AE.
I am not saying this is a bad thing, nor am I saying it will look bad. It's just what they do. Bean counters, you know.