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What is SofTex?

Discussion in 'Prius v Technical Discussion' started by parnami, Nov 14, 2011.

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  1. parnami

    parnami Member

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    Ok..I'm just about ready to bite the bullet and buy a V, but, I've still some concerns about what they call "SofTex". Having had vinyl interiors in the past, I don't want them again. They're hot, their cold and they give off a gas that gives a hazy coating to the windows that's difficult to remove and once it is, quickly returns.

    I just returned from seeing a V five with the SofTex interior. I have to admit it feels a lot better than the leather seats they used in the past, but I remain concerned. The inner portion of the seating surfaces seems to have a different feel than does the outer parts and side bolsters. If I'm correct, does this mean SofTex is only used for a small portion of the seat, with the balance comprised of Vinyl? The extensive use of vinyl in leather seats has been somewhat of deal killer to me in the past, it may be again if this is the case.

    Also, what exactly is SofTex? Someone in another thread indicated it's a polyster fabric and not at all related to vinyl? True?
  2. Yogi56

    Yogi56 New Member

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    Toyota's spin is that Softex is environment friendly. I think it is cheaper and lighter than leather. It feels ok, we test drove a v and I didn't like that it wasn't perforated and ultimately it is a synthetic product. We may regret not waiting for the 2012 Prius for the nicer Nav but from all I've read 2011 is the last chance at leather except for aftermarket. We bought ours $700 below invoice and all is good. Still have the leather smell when you get in every day.
  3. parnami

    parnami Member

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    One explaination I've seen is that SofTex, actually, is a polyester "fabric" that breathes, just like other cloth upholsteries. If true, it wouldn't need perforations and, for me, is totally acceptable. Provided, that is, that the entire seat is made of that material and not just the center seating surfaces, surrounded by that horrible vinyl junk. It feels like quality leather, rather than the hard, saddle like stuff Toyota used in previous Priuses and they DID use an awful lot of vinyl! :mad: But, It also seemed to have a "touch" that reminded me of cloth interiors I've had in the past and enjoyed. It's all part of my making an informed, regret free, decision for a car that I would hope will be in my household for the next 10 years or so. I could care less about eco friendliness. I also drive a smart and that's about as "eco friendly" as you can get in a car. I've done my part already!
  4. Codyroo

    Codyroo Senior Member

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    Even the Softex will be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Tinting your windows will help. Getting a sunscreen for the windshield or parking in the shade will help (in the summer).

    You will get outgassing on the windshield, but I think that it is more from the plasticizers in the dash rather than the interior. My wife's minivan (9 years old) gets it still and she has fabric interior. It is just something to deal with. Heck, my last car (1989 Integra) still had the white film on the windshield when it got retired in 2010.

    As far as the "leather" smell, it does have that. Griotsgarage sells a nice leather care product that keeps the "leather" smell as well as cleans up the leather. My car is coming on 2 years old and people still comment that it has that "new car" smell when they get into it (since I tend to clean the interior about every 2 or 3 weeks).
  5. Yogi56

    Yogi56 New Member

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    Is the Softex made from recycled materials? Not sure how it's enviro friendly if not. I guess they'll extra cowhides in the marketplace now? Cheaper wallets and shoes for all! My guess is the #1 reason is expense control as Toyota adds gadgets.
  6. shawnsprius

    shawnsprius Junior Member

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    i was going to buy a CT200h which had this "green" vinyl seating.. and it was extremely
    cheesy feeling and looking. The material is very thin, and has a plastic bag -like feel to it.

    I went with my 2011 prius IV with leather etc etc ...
  7. parnami

    parnami Member

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    My 19 year old Pontiac Trans Sport with 100% cloth seats that sat, constantly in the sun, never had the problem and that had a pretty large plastic dashboard. My understanding of the situation is yes, all interior plastics emit the gas, but, it's worst on the soft, "leather like vinyl". The dealer today tried to place sole blame on the dashboard,but my personal experience indicates otherwise.
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Well they claim lower VOC emissions than leather if that helps.



  9. parnami

    parnami Member

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    Well..that doesn't sound too encouraging. In fact, it sounds EXACTLY like vinyl to me. UGH!!! That might mean no Prius for me unless I hear something more encouraging. Thanks for the reply!!
  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    I don't know. While I've never sat on vinyl seats (cloth was pretty much the basic standard by the time I came to existence with vinyl relegated to the seatbacks and maybe seat bolsters with cloth inserts), I have sat in some leatherettes offered by BMW and MB in the 90s and those are pretty much what I'd call vinyl. They were sticky after we sat in the car at the auto show and closed the door (so it was a bit warm) and had an uncomfortable feeling.

    This SofTex material is quite nice to the touch. They've made great strides in it.

    Heck, some might even say the 2nd Gen's cloth is woven vinyl (is that possible?) given that the owner's manual had instructions on how to clean leather and vinyl and no instructions on maintaining cloth (this was before 2006 when leather was offered).
  11. parnami

    parnami Member

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    My experience with truly nice feeling vinyl dates beck to my 73 Mercury Capri ( billed as: the captive german import). The vinyl seats were beautiful! supple to the touch, plush, great looking. Leather wouldn't have looked or felt better! Only problems were they were really hot in summer when I always got out with the back of my shirt and pants soaked. Plus, my windows were always filthy! It was later that I read the story about vinyl seats emitting a gas that coated the windows, and it continued, the nice feeling soft stuff was the worst. I really don't wish to regress 40 years to endure that again.

    Reading the info you provided, it indicates: 99 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than conventional synthetic leather....

    I wonder if that means, without those volatile organic compunds, no gas emissions????
  12. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Possibly, yes but I'm not a chemist.
  13. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Come on! Buck Up..

    I grew up with a 67 Mustang with a thick vinyl interior. Sure it was hot in the summer, cold in the winter...good for ya! Let's you know what season your butt is sitting in...

    On long road trips my brother and I would fall asleep in the backseat, and hours later we'd have to peel our faces off the semi-melted vinyl. Were there out gassing fumes? Sure...but I had some really neat dreams as a kid...

    What is SofTex....who know's? Who care's? Go for it! I have no idea what SofTex is? But I'm sure I've had worse...
  14. Hurricane Gio

    Hurricane Gio New Member

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    SofTex is a plant based synthetic leather. I was told this at the dealer. Lighter than leather, breathes like cloth and no VOCs like vinyl or plastics. It feels much better than my wife's aftermarket leather she had in her Highlander before. It was nice leather too, but it still made me sweat.

    There are MANY aftermarket synthetic leathers now, that are just as nice or better than the real stuff. I have owned cycling shoes by SIDI that use LORICA and its just as supple and better wearing than leather.

    So far, my wife loves it in her Prius v 5.
  15. parnami

    parnami Member

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    This is reassuring,thanks! Do you know or can you tell: Is the entire seat covered in SofTex or is part of it vinyl as was the case with the leather?
  16. registered

    registered New Member

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    SofTex is polyester. I haven't studied the seats, but was in the backseat the other day and noticed that the back of the driver's seat is covered in a different material than the seating surface. It wouldn't surprise me if the material for the back is vinyl.
  17. parnami

    parnami Member

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    Polyester is great! I just wish someone with real access to information regarding it would respond. An "expert" from toyota customer service phoned me today to respond to my questions. He indicated it was "Imitation leather". LOL>.isn't that the definition of vinyl? Anyway, I sent him packing to seek more, REAL infomation. He did seem to indicate it, generally was vinyl.but again....that's not real info..just his opinion.

    I've now seen two V 5's...and one seemed to have a different feel to parts of the seats..the other didn't. UGH....it gets more and more confusing. I'd prefer to have NO vinyl at all on the seats: it still gives off the gases that dirty the windows. Right now, unless I hear differnetly, I think I'm going to downgrade my purchase to a 3 with cloth seats and give up the other features about which I was looking toward but can do without.
  18. pvogel

    pvogel '05 Five & '12 v

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    I think you would like the Softex. I've had my v for about 4 weeks now (picked up 1 day after dealers got them) and have not noticed any offgassing or any vinyl-like properties to my Softex, which was a concern for me as well. I grew up with Vinyl seats in the 70's and 80's -- Softex is nothing like that. I actually prefer it to the aftermarket dock-added leather in my '05 Prius V.
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  19. Hurricane Gio

    Hurricane Gio New Member

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    The entire seats seem to be softex. No crap on the windows form gases either.
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  20. parnami

    parnami Member

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    Lol....last night I was just about ready to downgrade my purchase and go with the 3. Now, it sounds like I'm back with a 5. I did find a Softex company which manufactures non woven polyster fabrics but without further specifics.
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