New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

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ragnathor
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New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by ragnathor » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:28 pm

Hello,

We are in the market for a new 3-row SUV (highlander vs pilot) vs a minivan (sienna vs odyssey vs pacifica). My question has to do with upgrades/trims. I am thinking whatever vehicle we get to buy the lowest trim and add-on the following:

- leather seats ($1500-$2000)
- android auto/carplay if not included ($500)
- window tinting (~$500)

These are really the only features that are worthwhile for us. Just as an example, the lowest odyssey model that comes with leather is $5-$6k more than the base model. The other features are not things we particularly care for (backseat DVD, electronic seats, etc).

Does anyone have experience doing this? Would aftermarket leather seats be lower quality, or would android auto/carplay void the new car warranty?

Thank you!

PFInterest
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by PFInterest » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:49 pm

I would not do leather myself.
Tint doesn't come anyways and I add it to all our cars
Auto I'm ambivalent about. It likely comes in a package with leather so do that.
Your phone will always be more UTD and powerful.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm

Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
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alfaspider
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by alfaspider » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm
Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.

killjoy2012
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by killjoy2012 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:19 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.
+1

The days of the radio being a self-contained & replaceable unit are at (coming to) an end. I just purchased a used 2016 and there is no "radio" unit - there's an LCD screen that functions as the main menu for controlling all settings of the vehicle (including the radio). Even in vehicles a bit older, installing an aftermarket head unit into the vehicle can still be problematic with getting everything working - steering wheel controls, Onstar, interfacing with OEM premium stereo interfaces, etc.

The only aftermarket leather I've seen that was decently nice would also cost you 2-3x what the OEM option would've been. And then you have the issue of dealing with heated seats and their controls, etc. If you want leather, get the vehicle with the leather option.

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mrspock
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by mrspock » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:10 pm

ragnathor wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:28 pm
Hello,

We are in the market for a new 3-row SUV (highlander vs pilot) vs a minivan (sienna vs odyssey vs pacifica). My question has to do with upgrades/trims. I am thinking whatever vehicle we get to buy the lowest trim and add-on the following:

- leather seats ($1500-$2000)
- android auto/carplay if not included ($500)
- window tinting (~$500)

These are really the only features that are worthwhile for us. Just as an example, the lowest odyssey model that comes with leather is $5-$6k more than the base model. The other features are not things we particularly care for (backseat DVD, electronic seats, etc).

Does anyone have experience doing this? Would aftermarket leather seats be lower quality, or would android auto/carplay void the new car warranty?

Thank you!
I’d drop the leather and go OEM on everything else. IMO it comes down to resale value, most resale buyers don’t want a Frankenstein car with a bunch of aftermarket mods.

If you plan on keeping it forever however, then it’s a different story, then go with what you think is better value.

onourway
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by onourway » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:29 pm

I don’t think you will get better leather or a better audio integration than you get stock for anywhere near enough savings to make it worthwhile. And you’ll lose out on resale on the back end.

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five2one
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by five2one » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:32 pm

Go OEM.

I have modified more than a few vehicles and after-market takes a lot of mental energy to sort out the bugs for quality product & install.
Then if you have a problem most dealers typically go sideways on fixed after-market problems.
It just becomes a headache for marginal gain unless the dollars are more important than time.

aerosurfer
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by aerosurfer » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:35 pm

If you are getting a 3 row/ minivan, I assume you have kids or dogs or will be hauling stuff. For cleaning, leather is the way to go. Easy spills no stains. Heater (and cooled) seats are usually more prevalent with leather and are a feature no one is going to not like.

For new cars OEM or factory options is the way to go. I drive and have restored older collectible cars as well, and one of the going phrases is “Stock never goes out of style” Factory options are never gonna be in question vs aftermarket.

Topic Author
ragnathor
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by ragnathor » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:51 am

aerosurfer wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:35 pm
For new cars OEM or factory options is the way to go. I drive and have restored older collectible cars as well, and one of the going phrases is “Stock never goes out of style” Factory options are never gonna be in question vs aftermarket.
Thanks for the replies! Let's say I did to get a lower model
with cloth and had the dealer upgrade to leather. Is this as good as OEM or factory leather?

And you're correct, 2 kids with possibly another or pets in the future. Hoping to keep the car 10+ years.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:18 am

I guess everyone has had different experiences. I've seen aftermarket leather installed in a base Outback at the Subaru dealer. It was the perfectly optioned car for me as both DW and I hate sunroofs but greatly prefer leather. I saw the car while visiting the parts department and at first, thought it was some new trim level over their limited version as it was much nicer than the OEM version. Both cars were side by side in the showroom, so could be compared. I later considered a DIY kit for a Mazda that got great reviews on the Mazda6forum. I liked that there were lots of options in addition to color. Offset piping color, inset color and material (alcantera), seat heating etc.

I'd want to see examples in person before going with the aftermarket leather if you have a shop do it for you. Decide for yourself. I've always liked the diamond sculptured pattern I've seen in Maseratis and know that's an option.
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RootSki
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by RootSki » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:22 am

ragnathor wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:51 am
aerosurfer wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:35 pm
For new cars OEM or factory options is the way to go. I drive and have restored older collectible cars as well, and one of the going phrases is “Stock never goes out of style” Factory options are never gonna be in question vs aftermarket.
Thanks for the replies! Let's say I did to get a lower model
with cloth and had the dealer upgrade to leather. Is this as good as OEM or factory leather?

And you're correct, 2 kids with possibly another or pets in the future. Hoping to keep the car 10+ years.
Does any car dealership actually offer a leather upgrade not done at the factory? I think (feel) this will cost you more than getting leather seats direct from the factory.

Sportswhiz00
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Sportswhiz00 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:08 am

A couple of things

First some car manufacturers allow you to custom order your car from the plant. So you could pick base model and add whatever options you want without worrying about trims. I don’t know if that is possible with the ones you want.

Second another possibility is buying base model and then having the dealer do the upgrades. So you could get the car off the lot, the dealer would add and install replacement seats and throw out the current ones.

I realiZe that Android will not work that way if it isn’t OEM, but at least for leather seats these options may work out

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midareff
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by midareff » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:16 am

alfaspider wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm
Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.
Agree with alfa on the leather and head unit..... OEM is much better, especially when seats are ordered with built in ventilation for heat and a/c. Cars are loaded with electronics these days with warnings and protections for almost everything imaginable and the head unit is part of that circuitry. Change it and risk losing your warranty on all things electronic.

arsenalfan
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by arsenalfan » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:20 am

Another vote for all OEM.
Odyssey EXL would be my vote. If you really are going to keep it 10+ years, the leather will hold up to kids and dogs just fine.

Wife's car has aftermarket leather, and it really has not held up well. Thinner leather, peeling, not as durable. And kids aren't in that car that much. One arm rest keeps popping off because they broke the cheap clip-fasteners.

Same for electronics: I used to love Crutchfield/DIY car audio head unit replacements, but IMHO they've become much more difficult. Steering wheel control integration can be finicky, and nowadays they're just LCD screens and not DIN units as someone else mentioned. The wife is not happy with all the add-on electronics and aftermarket leather in her car.

AdmiralSnackbar
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by AdmiralSnackbar » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:50 am

I bought a used 2014 Mazda CX-5 that had after-market leather seats (I didn't know this at the time). They seem to be holding up ok, but we only drive the car maybe 2x/week. I'm pretty sure they added after-market seat heaters, too. One of the heaters went out, and the fuse was not where it was supposed to be in the normal fusebox. From what I understand, this sort of thing is common in after-market components.

If I had my choice, I would definitely go OEM, mainly because I don't like this sort of troubleshooting with aftermarket components. However, if you are the type that likes this sort of problem-solving--I'm thinking of my electrical engineer father-in-law--then these sorts of issues might serve as a diversion or hobby.

Slacker
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Slacker » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:53 am

midareff wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:16 am
alfaspider wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm
Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.
Agree with alfa on the leather and head unit..... OEM is much better, especially when seats are ordered with built in ventilation for heat and a/c. Cars are loaded with electronics these days with warnings and protections for almost everything imaginable and the head unit is part of that circuitry. Change it and risk losing your warranty on all things electronic.
It is on the manufacturer to prove that the aftermarket electronic device caused a problem.

If an aftermarket electronic device is known to be finicky - definitely stay away. However, Magnuson-Moss protects vehicle owners' warranty when installing aftermarket equipment. It would be a different matter if you try to install something in a way that was not intended or if there is a specific warning in an owner's manual about aftermarket systems needing to meet some type of compatibility standard and the aftermarket device not meeting that standard (example - you install an aftermarket LED headlight kit into a standard halogen lens housing and the LED kit causes a fire because the housing isn't able to reject the heat properly - that is on you and the LED kit manufacturer, not the auto company; but if you install a replacement Halogen bulb and your cruise control mysteriously stops working - the dealer and/or manufacturer, if the car is still under warranty, would have to prove that the replacement Halogen bulb was at fault, which it likely would not be).

Nowizard
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Nowizard » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:02 am

After-market items are better...…...if you know the installer's history. In large cities, there are excellent ones and fly-by-night ones. You do have to figure in your time and how much the accessories on a higher level automobile would be discounted by the dealer. One way to do this is to negotiate with the dealer for added leather or other items as part of the purchase. They know who is good, would get a discount, and you would get what you want for less than if the automobile came with those accessories without using your time and possibly making a poor choice. It also puts the dealership in the position of negotiating if there are issues. This is not commonly done, but a good friend does it routinely.

Tim

mmmodem
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by mmmodem » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:12 am

Aftermarket leather can be better or worse grade than OEM. It just depends on what you buy. Since Toyota leather is fake, (Softex) you will likely do better aftermarket.

Quality aftermarket electronics are almost always better than OEM. However, I like the integrated look of OEM electronics so I wouldn't buy aftermarket unless the OEM unit fails. It costs a lot of money to make after market audio look good. Therefore, Auto and Carplay are mandatory on my next new car purchase.

Tint is as good or better than OEM.

Given your requirements, I would just take Toyota out of the decision. They don't use real leather and they often don't have Auto and just started having Carplay on very few models. None of the ones you listed.

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Watty
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Watty » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:31 am

Are you sure that you can even get aftermarket leather seats for the model you are looking at?

In some models a side airbag is located in the seat so making an aftermarket seat would be a lot more difficult and come with a lot of potential liability.

alfaspider
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by alfaspider » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:36 am

Slacker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:53 am
midareff wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:16 am
alfaspider wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm
Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.
Agree with alfa on the leather and head unit..... OEM is much better, especially when seats are ordered with built in ventilation for heat and a/c. Cars are loaded with electronics these days with warnings and protections for almost everything imaginable and the head unit is part of that circuitry. Change it and risk losing your warranty on all things electronic.
It is on the manufacturer to prove that the aftermarket electronic device caused a problem.

If an aftermarket electronic device is known to be finicky - definitely stay away. However, Magnuson-Moss protects vehicle owners' warranty when installing aftermarket equipment. It would be a different matter if you try to install something in a way that was not intended or if there is a specific warning in an owner's manual about aftermarket systems needing to meet some type of compatibility standard and the aftermarket device not meeting that standard (example - you install an aftermarket LED headlight kit into a standard halogen lens housing and the LED kit causes a fire because the housing isn't able to reject the heat properly - that is on you and the LED kit manufacturer, not the auto company; but if you install a replacement Halogen bulb and your cruise control mysteriously stops working - the dealer and/or manufacturer, if the car is still under warranty, would have to prove that the replacement Halogen bulb was at fault, which it likely would not be).
I wouldn't rely on Magnuson-Moss for anything. Maybe in theory, they have to "prove" the aftermarket electronic device caused the problem. But in practice, they can simply deny the warranty claim. If you want them to honor the warranty, you'd have to take them to court, and essentially have to prove that your device didn't cause the problem (or that they acted bad faith, which is even tougher). Also, with the complexity of many of the systems, you really can have some weird interactions that wouldn't seem obvious.

aerosurfer
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by aerosurfer » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:03 am

ragnathor wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:51 am
aerosurfer wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:35 pm
For new cars OEM or factory options is the way to go. I drive and have restored older collectible cars as well, and one of the going phrases is “Stock never goes out of style” Factory options are never gonna be in question vs aftermarket.
Thanks for the replies! Let's say I did to get a lower model
with cloth and had the dealer upgrade to leather. Is this as good as OEM or factory leather?

And you're correct, 2 kids with possibly another or pets in the future. Hoping to keep the car 10+ years.
Porsche/BMW are the big manufacturers that allow you to really customize the options these days. For most others the ala-carte options just aren’t going to be available. When we looked at Honda and Subaru’s a few years ago, the options (you are looking at) were really slaved to trim line. You couldn’t get premium sound with the base models, or Leather seats only came with the premium packages etc.

Nothing you are likely looking at has material options... you are not selecting from Alcanterra or buffalo or goatskin. You are gonna pick a color from Cloth or not cloth.

What kind of bumpin sound are you hoping to accomplish in a minivan? If you are that big of an audiophile, this is likely not the website for opinions.

Aftermarket options are not going to make a minivan or midsize suv appreciate anything.

Rupert
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:32 am

Why can't I get the mental image of a lowrider minivan with a spoiler out of my head? For what it's worth, I would never consider buying a minivan with aftermarket anything in it, and I think I'm a fairly typical minivan-driving consumer. I think minivan drivers in general are a conservative bunch who are more concerned about safety than other features, and aftermarket seats in particular would make me concerned that safety features of the car had been compromised. So definitely go OEM on the seats if you're at all concerned about resale value.

JackoC
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by JackoC » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am

aerosurfer wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:03 am


Porsche/BMW are the big manufacturers that allow you to really customize the options these days. For most others the ala-carte options just aren’t going to be available. When we looked at Honda and Subaru’s a few years ago, the options (you are looking at) were really slaved to trim line. You couldn’t get premium sound with the base models, or Leather seats only came with the premium packages etc.
Porsche big time, true. Which makes it hard to be satisfied with one in dealer stock if you're particular about which exact options. But ideal I suppose if you factory order. With BMW's it varies more. Some models have an almost Porsche-like plethora of options, other models have limited packages almost like the Acura/Honda approach. My M2 was available with just one option package, that almost all of them have, and besides that just relatively trivial stuff (carbon fiber spoiler etc). Fortunately they had one in stock in my color with just the basic package and none of the knick-nacks.

Speaking of non-cosmetic aftermarket though, there's a big market with BMW's for performance enhancing modifications. And most stuff from the outfit Dinan is quasi-approved by BMW. Installing most Dinan mods doesn't void your BMW warranty and then Dinan warranties the specific effects of its gear. It's usually BMW dealers who sell and install their stuff. I modded my 3-series for extra HP and it's worked out well. Fooling around with seats, unless they'd worn out or something, wouldn't be my focus. :happy

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midareff
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by midareff » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:26 am

Slacker wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:53 am
midareff wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:16 am
alfaspider wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:58 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:56 pm
Aftermarket leather is typically worlds better than OEM. Tint is easy. Replacing the head unit gets what you want at a much higher quality than stock.
I’ve never seen a car with aftermarket leather that looks better than OEM. A lot of newer cars have some significant issues with replacing the head unit because things like HVAC controls are routed through them.
Agree with alfa on the leather and head unit..... OEM is much better, especially when seats are ordered with built in ventilation for heat and a/c. Cars are loaded with electronics these days with warnings and protections for almost everything imaginable and the head unit is part of that circuitry. Change it and risk losing your warranty on all things electronic.
It is on the manufacturer to prove that the aftermarket electronic device caused a problem.

If an aftermarket electronic device is known to be finicky - definitely stay away. However, Magnuson-Moss protects vehicle owners' warranty when installing aftermarket equipment. It would be a different matter if you try to install something in a way that was not intended or if there is a specific warning in an owner's manual about aftermarket systems needing to meet some type of compatibility standard and the aftermarket device not meeting that standard (example - you install an aftermarket LED headlight kit into a standard halogen lens housing and the LED kit causes a fire because the housing isn't able to reject the heat properly - that is on you and the LED kit manufacturer, not the auto company; but if you install a replacement Halogen bulb and your cruise control mysteriously stops working - the dealer and/or manufacturer, if the car is still under warranty, would have to prove that the replacement Halogen bulb was at fault, which it likely would not be).
Of course that is true in theory until the dealer refuses to fix it under warranty. Then what, call Magnuson-Moss, get an attorney, be totally inconvenienced, pick your poison? We are not talking about headlights, we are talking about a head unit in systems that integrate electronics heavily. Many with circuit boards and electronic fuses. If you want to go into your car's wiring have a go at it, or trust an installer to be a pro at a zillion different makes and models electronics, that's OK with me but not something I would do or allow.

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LiveSimple
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by LiveSimple » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:38 am

Just get OEM, or you are doing some structural changes to the interior.

Also you do need great mechanics / technicians who does this more often on new vehicles to get the best results.

Since you are asking here, assuming that you do not have a great team to work on your car.

Know friends, who buy old cars and then redo, with their very trusted mechanics / technicians

carolinaman
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by carolinaman » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:48 am

We bought a new Hyundai Sonata in 2008. The car did not have leather and we paid dealer to have that added. They had someone who did this for them. It was a quality product/install and I do not recall cost, but it was reasonable or I would remember. I see no problem doing this but make sure you get a quality installer. You probably need to ask and shop around.

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RootSki
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by RootSki » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:51 am

The electrical system in these cars is so complex, I wouldn't even consider putting in an aftermarket alarm or remote starting system.

OEM all the way.

barnaclebob
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Re: New car - aftermarket upgrades vs higher trim

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:56 am

The only way you are getting better leather seats than OEM is custom upholstery. It could be possible to find some junkyard leather seats that are drop in replacements. The power and seat heaters might not work though.

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