Reupholstery Photos Before and After - From Cloth to Leather in the Honda Pilot

We bought another car. This time we were after a newish Honda Pilot.

The first one we seriously considered was a 2006 with 53,000 miles on it, leather and DVD player at Carmichael Honda. It looked really plush.

The second one we liked was also a 2006 with just 38,000 miles on it, cloth seats, no DVD at Justbettercars. Same price.

We were torn. We wanted the leather seats, but the cloth Pilot had 15,000 fewer miles on the odometer.
The salesman (Mark?) let us know that we could always have the seats reupholstered in leather for $1,600, but we dismissed that idea pretty quickly.

Our indecision temporarily paralyzed us and we excused ourselves from the Justbettercars showroom, assuring them we would discuss it at home.

As we buckled the kids into our car, preparing to leave, the salesman approached us in the parking lot and made us an offer on the 38,000 miler: They would pay to have leather installed. We could have 38,000 miles AND leather, the best attributes of both vehicles.

We bit.

Our sales contract included reupholstery in leather, from a company in Rancho Cordova, California called "Dealerworks". It was a little weird to bring in our beautiful spotless seats in to be torn up and redone, but we were excited to see the difference.

I was a little nervous about the process, so I soothed my anxiety by taking about 30 photos of the interior.

Leather may seem like a bad choice for a family with kids, but we have been assured that it resists spills and cleans up much easier than cloth upholstery.

About a week after we bought it, we scheduled two guys from dealerworks to come by and pick up the car. Usually their car reupholstery work takes two days, but the Honda Pilot has a third row of seats, so they required three days.


I never saw the car again.

Just kidding. In three days, the car was back and the new upholstery looks awesome. Check out the before and after photos below.

Driver's seat.

At the hinges to fold the middle seats down.

Driver's headrest.

Passenger seat and door panel.

Door panel detail. I didn't realize they would swap the fabric on the doors. A great improvement, I think.

The back of the driver's seat.

Middle seat console area.

Passenger seat detail.

Shotgun seat. Check out the flipped "Side Airbag" tag.

Driver's Seat.

Third row seat back.


The whole job looks fantastic and the car looks like a million bucks. The stitching is beautiful and the color is right on. Although $1,600 is a lot to spend on something so ...optional, I am really glad we got the leather. And I'm glad we decided against the leopard print.


well, its a brand-new interior, not a 38,000 mile-old interior. and now you\'ll get in it without any regret about buying the wrong car.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 4:14 pm

Sean H

Looks great. $1600 seems like a pretty good price to me, actually. Less than the leather option usually costs (though I\'ve never priced it on this type of car). I\'ve had leather in all of my cars, and I think it\'s much easier to keep clean than cloth. I don\'t have kids, but I still know how to make a mess :-)

Gigilo Joe
Saturday 29th of August 2009 4:17 pm


Cow killer.

Iron Giant
Saturday 29th of August 2009 4:19 pm

Jim C.

Could \'they\' have just swapped seats? Hrm...

Saturday 29th of August 2009 4:20 pm


A disappointing post, in a long line of declining quality at cockeyed.. Sad.

Iron Giant
Saturday 29th of August 2009 5:01 pm

The zebra print would have been a nice option.

Crow T. Robot
Saturday 29th of August 2009 5:02 pm

Jake W.

Car seats no disassemble!

Johnny 5
Saturday 29th of August 2009 5:32 pm


When I worked at a car dealership we used them all the time...henceforth \"dealerworks\", and they did an amazing job on everything we sent them.

Gigilo Jane
Saturday 29th of August 2009 6:01 pm


Do the side airbags blow out of the side of the seat, or the door frame? If the seat, I would be a little concerned about that. The leather would have to have intentional weak spots in it in order for the bag to blow out. Did they do that?

Saturday 29th of August 2009 6:07 pm


Very nice. The only thing I notice is in the picture of the middle hinges, the leather on the seat on the right near the hinge looks kind of weird. Other than that, it\'s perfect.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 6:31 pm


WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR KID??? Never, never leave a child in the car for three days when you send it to get reupholstered! That just basic parenting!

Teddy Ruxpin
Saturday 29th of August 2009 6:49 pm


Hooray! Instead of cool and breathable seats, you now have hot in the summer, cold in the winter seats. Added bonus - they will crack and look like hell in a few years, too. Good choice!

Optimus Prime
Saturday 29th of August 2009 7:44 pm


I was thinking about getting my cloth reupholstered with bark. It seems ecologically smart and in a pinch (breakdown in the Arctic) I have something to eat.

Gigilo Joe
Saturday 29th of August 2009 8:21 pm


$1600 may seem like a lot to spend, but I don\'t see how they could do such a good job for that price. I wouldn\'t do it for less than $10,000.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 8:32 pm


Leather seats suck!!! Oh wait. Fabric sucks! No. I don\'t suck leather...but fabric, man. That sucks. What about the leather...I can\'t clean that for you. What good am I to you then? Did you ever consider my feelings Rob? I was robbed. Opportunity cost. Way more that $1,600. Cat

Saturday 29th of August 2009 8:42 pm


I would perfer the cloth, leather seats get too damn hot and burn you butt, when you sit down from being in the sun. They would need to just clean the cloth though.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 8:44 pm


I have leather in my car and shelled out $140 for custom fit cloth covers (the RX-8 has funky seats and generic covers do not fit at all) to use in the summer when it\'s hot. I would prefer cloth, but it wasn\'t an option on my trim package. Leather is a great choice if you have kids though, because it\'s much tougher and easier to keep clean, and will stay in good condition as long as you take the time to maintain it. Try Meguiar\'s products, they\'re great.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 9:14 pm

You could have asked them to give you the original interior back. So when you realize how lame leather is in the summer and how cold it is in the winter.

Saturday 29th of August 2009 9:36 pm


What is this, the complete jerk comment section?

Sunday 30th of August 2009 12:49 am


Leather haters... just knuckleheads who just suppose that it must be horrible \'cause, well you know, them richies have it and all... for the record 1. better in hot, 2. better in cold, 3. better for washing 4. better for wear and tear. Oh, oh you had leather in your 1982 Chrysler Lebaron and it was hot/cold/filthy/wore-out? Well that\'s because it was a CHRYSLER LEBARON, knucklehead! Iaccoca made those seats out of reject rat pelts. Try real leather seats, you\'ll never go back.

Iron Giant
Sunday 30th of August 2009 6:03 am


I agree with the first Iron Giant, Cockeyed isn\'t what it used to be. At first I thought this was going to be a DIY post, in which Rob saved a ton of money by doing a sweet reupholstery job by himself or something, but it turned out to be a lot less interesting of a post.

Mr. Roboto
Sunday 30th of August 2009 8:30 am


Oh no! This totally free writeup that you didn\'t have to read wasn\'t as funny to you as other totally free things he\'s written that you didn\'t have to read? ROB IS SUCH A JERK AND APPARENTLY HE IS ALSO STUPID FOR EXPRESSING AN INTERIOR TRIM PREFERENCE THAT DOES NOT CORRESPOND WITH THAT HELD BY SOME OTHER PEOPLE.

Sunday 30th of August 2009 8:53 am


Why didn\'t they just take the fabric seats out and put in new leather ones? I don\'t see why they should have to destroy the fabric seats to reupholster them. P.S. Rob, please add Marvin from the Hitchhiker\'s Guide to your robot selection!

Crow T. Robot
Sunday 30th of August 2009 9:50 am


What about the DVD player?

Bicentennial Man
Sunday 30th of August 2009 10:06 am


looks great! Good job on the find and dealing.

Sunday 30th of August 2009 1:04 pm


ItsJustMe: Obviously you\'re not familiar with California, or else you\'d know the seasons aren\'t summer and winter but fire and mudslides. For those complaining he didn\'t do it himself, think of all the things you *did* learn from this article: successful car negotiating tactics, the aesthetic difference between leather and cloth seats, how long you can expect to wait, and just what the inside of a 2006 Toyota Pilot looks like. Informative!

Sunday 30th of August 2009 1:55 pm


whatever, its just a car.

Sunday 30th of August 2009 3:47 pm

click click whistle click

Sunday 30th of August 2009 4:59 pm

The astute observer will realize that the car dealer was remiss in their duties to remove the protective cover from the driver side footwell. You should demand a refund!

Sunday 30th of August 2009 7:55 pm

I\'d never thought of replacing the cloth with leather as even an option aftermarket. Will have to remember the $1600 price during negotiations on my next car. I\'m sure the \"leather trim\" dealer option is more than that.

Mr. Roboto
Sunday 30th of August 2009 8:40 pm


blogvertising - what a load of crap

Sunday 30th of August 2009 8:45 pm


nice article

Sunday 30th of August 2009 10:09 pm


Probably got those new seats from a junk yard. It took that time to clean the blood & brains off

Crow T. Robot
Monday 31st of August 2009 4:19 am

do you really care?

All the Hot weather Cold weather whiners forget Rob lives in nearly perfect Central California. Leather rocks! Leather is way easier than cloth to take care of, and it smells like a dead cow! If you ate the stuff that was wrapped in the leather it\'s a win-win! Steak and seats!

Optimus Prime
Monday 31st of August 2009 6:47 am


get a load of the man-boobs on the car salesman.

Johnny 5
Monday 31st of August 2009 6:48 am


How does that new leather smell? has Stacy\'s legs stuck to it yet? If she\'s anything like my wife, she\'ll be bitching about that in no time.

Gigilo Joe
Monday 31st of August 2009 7:15 am


I hope they didn\'t steal your airbags and replace them with garbage. Unless it\'s really soft garbage.

Monday 31st of August 2009 7:21 am


Whatever interior material you choose, the Honda Pilot is a great car, and perfect for families. You will love it. We love ours. It would be nice if it was a little more fuel efficient, but you just can\'t have everything, now can you.

The Gunslinger
Monday 31st of August 2009 7:41 am


You got awesome!

Monday 31st of August 2009 8:18 am


Did the same thing when I bought my Civic, cheaper to change out the cloth than buy the next step up in trim. Hmm, this may be a Honda conspiracy?

Teddy Ruxpin
Monday 31st of August 2009 9:50 am


Leather is way eaisier to have with kids... you know you should just have the kids reapolstered! Easier clean-up right? right?

Tom Servo
Monday 31st of August 2009 10:24 am


The latest car we bought was our first ever with [faux] leather, and we looooooove it. Have fun!

Monday 31st of August 2009 11:15 am


Yeah, but without new cushions too, you\'re still squishing out stored flatulence every time you sit down.

Ed 209
Monday 31st of August 2009 11:21 am


Tom Servo
Monday 31st of August 2009 11:28 am

In Alabama

where it gets around 100 in the summer and down to 30 or colder in the winter, I still prefer leather seats. Its easier to clean the mud, grease, and deer blood off. Sissies complain about being hot or sticking to them.

Monday 31st of August 2009 11:55 am


I\'m loving the leather. Easier cleanup to prevent rotting food syndrome (RFS) with children. Now you can have more kids!

Tom Servo
Monday 31st of August 2009 1:07 pm


What? No Pleather?

Monday 31st of August 2009 1:37 pm


thats the trick to getting a good deal on a car at a dealer. just get up and leave, dealers will do anything to keep you from leaving. once you leave the odds you are going to buy a car from them go way down.

Monday 31st of August 2009 2:10 pm

PHP Nitpicker

You are double escaping your control characters, hence the backslashes. EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

Monday 31st of August 2009 7:12 pm


Buy American next time!

Monday 31st of August 2009 8:21 pm


The leather looks awesome, they did a really good job. Kudos to the salesman for not Log dropping ya.

Monday 31st of August 2009 9:18 pm

Dr Who

Why... Sheep.

Monday 31st of August 2009 9:36 pm

The Terminator

The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

Monday 31st of August 2009 10:21 pm

Data Data Data

Wow, that looks great. I would have been super skeptic that it would come out that great... but they really know what they are doing there :) That smile is from my second emotion-chip upgrade. Do you like it? :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Monday 31st of August 2009 10:28 pm

Sean C.

Nice. It looks just like the leather interior that comes from Honda.

Crow T. Robot
Tuesday 01st of September 2009 1:38 am


Very nice. Although leg room looks limited in the third row...

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 12:27 pm


I love that. I am so glad you published this article, because this is something I have been considering.

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 12:41 pm


Tell us the truth Rob- Did you haggle the price with the promise of a plug on the website? Did they bite? It seems you should get something for all the sugaring up...

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 9:20 pm


Is the Volvo wagon for sale?

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 10:31 pm


One more for the anti-leather side. The attractiveness of leather is not worth the hot burning stickiness of the leather on my legs in the summer. Although it is better than the choice of fabric that the seats came with.

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 10:44 pm

Eric F.

That looks suspiciously like the three-wheeled car that Mr. Bean knocks over all the time (far right of the shot right before the before/after pictures)! No?

Tuesday 01st of September 2009 11:30 pm

Meggy Tron

I prefer leather made from HUMAN skin!

Wednesday 02nd of September 2009 12:37 pm


wait, I thought you said that the deal paid for it?

Thursday 03rd of September 2009 10:06 am


I just have to chuckle at all the people saying \"leather sucks\". I live in an area where it can get to 100 in the summer, and WAY below freezing in the winter. And no, it\'s isn\'t unbearably hot to sit in the car in the summer, nor unbearably cold in the winter. Mind you, I never wear shorts in the summer, always pants even if it is 100 degrees so that is a mild factor, but even so I think people are just exaggerating a wee bit. Viva la moo critter skin!

Teddy Ruxpin
Thursday 03rd of September 2009 3:30 pm

Dave the Dalek

Knock knock. Who\'s there? Dr. Dr. Who? Exactly!

Friday 04th of September 2009 5:11 am


$1600 is a bargain, and you even got the dealer to splash the cash. Worth every penny that you didn\'t spend ;-)

Friday 04th of September 2009 10:37 am



Friday 04th of September 2009 11:33 am


As soon as he offered the free leather, you should have counteroffered $1500 less on the sale price of the car. Spending $1500 less would have given you the cash to take the family on a nice, memorable driving vacation.

Sunday 06th of September 2009 10:53 am

Mikie S

I like leather.

Monday 07th of September 2009 11:53 am


Looks like a nice trim job. Pilot\'s too tall for my tastes, I\'d rather have a real wagon, but I hope you like it (or your wife if it\'s her car!) Speaking of wagons, whose is the vintage Volvo we can just see in the top pic?

Monday 07th of September 2009 2:40 pm


Congrats on the new car. ***Let this be a lesson*** ALWAYS walk away from a car deal before you agree on a price. Even if you just go have coffee and come back. It puts pressure on the sales team rather than the other way around. I\'ve experienced the \"chased down in the parking lot\" before. It\'s common. Also, never trust the dealer\'s quoted price on extra equipment. I used to do refurbish work for dealers and they mark up ***everything*** by at least 50%, usually 150-200%.

The Gunslinger
Tuesday 08th of September 2009 7:58 pm


I think DVDs entertain kids on long car trips better than leather seats do.

Wednesday 09th of September 2009 5:23 pm

Bleep Bleep Boop

Being a vegetarian robot, I think it\'s morally wrong to buy leather. Those poor, poor animals. Woooooooooo...

Thursday 17th of September 2009 9:40 am


Too bad you couldn\'t get the kiddie seats reupholstered in leather.

Sunday 20th of September 2009 5:40 pm


Rob, you do know that the Honda Pilot qualified for the Cash for Clunkers program, right? The gas milage on the thing was dismal enough to qualify.

Wednesday 23rd of September 2009 9:10 pm

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