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Water-repellent fabric lets Subaru seats keep up with the people sitting on them

Subaru owners have a tendency to use their cars to explore the great outdoors. We don’t mean driving through a scenic part of the country; we mean hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and camping. The Japanese firm developed a durable, water-repellent upholstery named StarTex to ensure the seats it makes can keep up with the people sitting on them.

StarTex is a urethane material that prevents moisture from soaking into the seats; think of it as K-Way jacket for your car’s interior. It’s more durable than cloth or leather, and it’s also lightweight, according to Automotive News. That last point is key. Automakers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to make more efficient cars, so Subaru needed to develop a water-repellent upholstery that doesn’t add a significant amount of weight.

The material falls in line with Subaru’s pledge to go easy on the environment. It’s made using recycled materials, and it’s entirely animal-free. Vegan upholstery isn’t new, it’s available in a growing number of new cars, but it’s a feature Subaru owners are certain to appreciate. The best part from a comfort point of view is that StarTex is soft to the touch. There’s no sense in making a water-resistant upholstery if the passengers feel like they’re sitting on a garden hose.

Subaru buyers who select the StarTex option have one less thing to worry about. They can slip behind the wheel even if they’re covered in mud, soaked in rain, or both, and they won’t have to worry about slashing their car’s resale value by ruining the seats. Remember that the carpet, the center console, and the headliner aren’t water-repellent, though.

StarTex is only available in the new 2020 Outback, a station wagon on stilts that stands out as one of the company’s most outdoorsy models. The catch is that it’s only offered on the Onyx Edition XT trim priced at nearly $35,000. We expect the upholstery will be offered on additional trim levels — and, hopefully, additional models — in the coming years. It would make a lot of sense in a model like the Crosstrek, and parents would love to have fluid-repellent fabric in the eight-seater Ascent.

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