Leather Seat Creases in Our New Toyota Highlander

In the time since we bought our new Highlander, noticeable creases (or wrinkles?) have been developing on the upper surface of the driver’s seat left bolster. It seems odd for this sort of wear and tear to show up so soon, but this is my first car with leather seats, so… What do I know?

Since a picture is worth a thousand words… Here’s a shot of the front passenger seat (taken from the driver’s side) to show you what a more or less pristine seat leather looks like. See? No creases.

Toyota Highlander Leather Seat Smooth

Front passenger seat in our new Highlander… (click image to enlarge)

And here’s a shot of the driver’s seat (taken from the passenger side) to show you the creases that I’m talking about.

Toyota Highlander Leather Seat Creases

Driver’s seat in our new Highlander… (click image to enlarge)

For reference, we’ve had this car for a month and I’ve only driven it ca. 1,500 miles so far. I’m also careful not to crush the bolster when entering/exiting the car so it doesn’t seem like this should be happening.

I believe that the side bolsters are covered in SofTex as opposed to the real leather that’s used on the seat backs and bottoms. But I’m not 100% sure about that, nor am I sure if that would affect the wear pattern.

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24 comments… add one
  • Milos Pospisil Jul 8, 2014

    I’m seeing the exact same thing, you’re not alone.

    • Michael Jul 8, 2014

      Bummer, sorry to hear that. But good to know that Iā€™m not doing anything wrong. šŸ™‚

  • Tina Jul 21, 2014

    OMH, I am seeing the same thing right after drove the car home. Call dealer, they said bring it to the shop for the tech to exam it, if not satisfy, they can order new chair, but my hub don’t want it. He afraid they will mess the car up more. Any advice????

  • tri Aug 11, 2014

    dealer just replace seat cover not wlhole seat

  • Heather May 8, 2015

    I’m seeing the same thing too!!! Grey interior also.

  • Bill May 12, 2015

    Yup same here on my new 2015 highlander gray interior. Is this happening to only the gray “leather”? And how do they get away calling them leather seats if they are using something other than leather. Are we really supposed to just be “OK” whit it being “mostly leather” ?

    • Michael May 12, 2015

      Mine are black, so it’s not just limited to the grey leather.

  • Brian May 16, 2015

    We have the same issue, 2015, silver platinum limited

  • JD Jun 1, 2015

    We have almond interior and have this on both front seats. One was that way when we bought it. We have had it less than 2 weeks. I didn’t think much of it until I read your most recent newsletter. I guess I thought that was the nature of leather.

  • Tobemeister - Houston Nov 27, 2015

    In October, we bought a 2015 Ltd Platinum with the Almond perforated leather seats. The front passenger seat is starting to show this same “crumpling effect” on the door side edge but not on the driver’s seat yet. Other than this, we have been very pleased with this new SUV. The Wife drives it to/from work daily, about 20 minutes each way. Ride and handing are both great.

  • Jim Smith Jan 26, 2016

    Just bought 2016 highlander silver with grey interior. 500 miles and seeing the exact same thing in passenger seat. Brought it to the dealer. Pictures were taken and told that they would get back to me once Toyota provides a next step.

  • Janet paonessa Oct 7, 2016

    Same thing on passenger side of seat. Is it leather or soft Tex? Should I complain?

  • Texas Belle Nov 22, 2016

    I’ve been researching the Highlander and test drove the 2016 model XLE V6 3rd row (2nd row bench) almond interior today. Toyota calls their interior “leatherette” not leather. In the past week I’ve test driven 4 SUVs with 3rd row seating. In my scrutiny, Toyota’s seats seem to be the cheapest looking and frayed contacts to plastic where seats are anchored. I drove Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder SL, Honda Pilot and Highlander XLE.

  • Paul MacFarland Nov 30, 2016

    Anyone noticed that the thin vinyl on the interior door handles wrinle quickly?

    • Paul MacFarland Nov 30, 2016

      Correction – the word was wrinkle.

  • Kirk Mar 13, 2017

    Same on new 2017 XLE…passenger side.

    Also a back right door lock solenoid not functioning.
    (will get that fixed on first service).

    Working through entune set up…and missing our drivers seat memory setting from prior vehicle.

    Otherwise enjoying the experience.

  • Maggie T Apr 30, 2017

    Bought new 2017 Highlander. After 200 miles noticed bolster fold on passenger side. Sales rep said it’s the way passenger slides into car. Say what??? Am driving car in to dealer tomorrow to see rep. Really, if you spend over $45k for a car, this shouldn’t be happening.

    • Michael Apr 30, 2017

      Which trim level? Ours is an XLE. Just curious if you’re seeing the problem on a Limited (or Platinum) as those have the perforated leather instead of the flat leather of the XLE.

  • Maggie T Apr 30, 2017

    Has anyone had satisfactory resolution from Toyota?

  • K May 25, 2017

    Mine are much worse on my 2016 Toyota Highlander limited. The seat backs on the almond interior leather is severely wrinkled-similar to hills and valleys. After a year battling Toyota HQ I finally took them to court and won. However they have ignores the ruling and still not paid me or fixed the problem. Now I will have to put a levy on their assists. I can’t believe what they have put my family through for what is clearly a defect that should be covered under warranty! Their own upholsterer’s even told them that they were manufactured with to much leather! How can Toyota ignore this. I bought this car brand new!

  • LJ Nov 26, 2017

    I brought a 2015 Avalon, cream color, in 8/2016 and noticed a few wrinkles, and the sales person told me that was nature of cowhide leather. Then I asked him if the leather was included in the warranty and he said yes. Then after a few weeks I noticed the edge of the driver seat had massive deterioration, so they used a product to hide the problem. After having other problems with my car in 8/2016, the Human Relations Manager told me the leather interior was not under warranty; so another lie the sales person told me.

    The current District Manager took a picture of my seat and sent it his area regional manager and said it was normal wear and tear of the leather seat. I presented him with a customer compliant from Better Business Bureau, pictures of a car from his lot and told him when I brought this at 10K miles and now 19K, how can this be normal wear and tear? This leather was defective when you brought it from the previous owner. And now the leather on driver side arm is cracking. So everything you guys are saying about the leather which is thin and defective materials. I got a quote and the top ($1100.00)and bottom seat cover ($1000.00), so for $2100.00; but their actual cost is much less. Toyota could do right by us replace the seats at no cost.
    Check out the website I found recently, “Top Class Action Lawsuits” and let me know your thoughts.
    Congrats on your lawsuit against Toyota. I plan to sue them as well, so can we talk off line?
    Do you have to take them back to court to get your money? So expensive and stressful, we pay over 30K for a car plus keep making car payments, and see our investment deteriorating and losing more value on a daily basis.

    This is 1st and last car I will buy from them.
    Note: I took my car on Friday, because when I put it in reverse and made a ticking noise. I was told that was normal and when the District Mgr wanted to show me a picture, I told him I had no interest in seeing any pictures and wanted the noise eliminated. They found the problem and adjusted my breaks.
    Ready for this: As I was searching the web for problems with my leather seat, yes, you got it. there is recall on my brakes. Ladies – don’t be intimidated and lied to by the service person when you take your car in for service! You have already paid them when you brought your car, plus I brought an extended warranty. Will be completing the SURVEY TODAY!

  • LJ Aug 3, 2018

    Hi Everyone, I’m following up on my previous text concerning my 2015 Avalon. I hired an attorney to get Toyota to replaced the driver back seat cover and they refused to do it for $1200. They also refused me to use th $500.00 voucher they gave me at the time of purchase for the seat cover. This simple means the ink on the paper is worthless and I will never get a refund, you know check in the mail. My 2 year warranty expires on 8/23/2018, so I’m taking Toyota to small claims court this month. Unfortunately no one responded to my concerns but if any of you want the judge to see this on-going problem with our leather seata, we must work together and stand up for our rights and help one another. Therefore if you want to help me win my lawsuit we can see a precedent and get Toyota to replace their defective leather seat covers. So please email me a short summary of the damage of your leather seat cover. My email address is joverne2025@gmail.com. I need your information by COB Wednesday, 8/8/18, EST. There is no class action lawsuit conceening this issue, so we must do this together and fight for our rights. Thanks in advance, LJ

  • Steven Evans Jul 2, 2019

    Having owned subarus, lexus and toyotas… Of the japanese cars, you would be impressed with how well the leather holds up in the subaru limited trim. My wife’s 2013 subaru outback with over 100k miles still has no creases or cracks in any leather coverings of the seats, arm rest etc. and has not absorbed much of any color change or dirt.
    My avalon and lexus RX300’s leather did not fare as well.

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