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When searching for the perfect vehicle, many drivers consider gas mileage, car safety, and available accessories as part of the car-buying process. The color of the car interior and the material used on the car seats can also be contributing factors.

The most common car interior color scheme is black, with most automakers offering black or dark-colored seats in their newest models. A darker interior complements most exterior colors nicely and, in recent years, has become widely used. While a buyer typically has the option of upholstery (plastic, cloth, or leather seating), many automakers no longer offer a light interior or do so at a premium price.

While dark seats have distinct advantages, there are also a few negative aspects to consider when deciding if black seats are right for you. Here is a look at the positives and negatives of black and dark seats to see if you prefer a darker or lighter vehicle interior.

Pro#1: Easier to hide spills and stains

Audi black and tan seat upholstery cover options on display at a car dealership
Audi seat upholstery cover options on display | Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

Black seats are better than white for hiding spills or stains and are the preferred option among drivers that frequently eat in their cars. Think of a chocolate shake spilling on a white cloth seat, and you get the idea.

Dirt, mud, food stains, and drink spills are much more noticeable in a white, grey, or tan interior compared to darker seats. Lighter colors tend to show every smudge or mark and are more difficult to get out. 

Pro #2: Easier to clean

According to Automoblog, “black and dark interiors (whether cloth, leather, vinyl, or any fabric) are infinitely easier to clean than light-colored seating materials.” 

Vacuuming the vehicle interior at least once a week will keep black seats looking clean and fresh. Lighter seats will demand more scrubbing and care to keep a like-new look. Many people find white and light-colored car seats too hard to maintain and give up, using seat covers to hide the stains. Drivers with darker seats don’t tend to have this issue.

Pro #3: Black goes better with any color option

Car Buying and Selling points out that “the car industry is in the business of giving people what they want and a large majority of buyers want black interiors.” Not only are black seats easier to match with any style of trim, such as wood, chrome, carbon, fiber, etc., but they also go better with most exterior color options. Consider a white interior with a lime green or bright yellow car, and it’s easy to see why black is usually the preferred choice.

Con #1: Retains more light and heat

Darker seats are notorious for getting hotter and retaining more heat, especially in the summer months and warmer climates, such as Florida and Arizona. Lighter seats tend to be slightly cooler and are often a preferred choice for drivers that must contend with the hot sun beating down on a vehicle’s interior year-round.

When comparing auto seating choices, Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, explained the importance of never leaving children or pets unattended in a hot vehicle. She said, “Even when it’s not that hot outside, our test results show how quickly temperatures inside the car escalate, regardless of whether your car is light or dark.”

Con #2: Crumbs and hairs and such stand out more

It is undoubtedly easier to hide spills and stains on black seats, but that doesn’t mean they are dirt resistant. Crumbs, pet hair, and other debris stand out more on dark seats than on lighter ones, which can be an issue, especially for people who regularly travel with pets and kids.


Your Car’s Dark Interior Is Hot, but Your Car’s Interior Is Hot Regardless