Genuine leather is made from animal skin that has been tanned or chemically treated to prevent degradation. Polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane are plastic-based faux leathers.
Cattle, sheep, goats, horses, buffalo, pigs, seals, and alligators produce most leather. Strong, flexible, durable leather. Plastic leather is also called "pleather."
Genuine leather has a gritty texture and is warm and flexible. Artificial leather has a chilly, plastic-like texture. You can't stretch it out.
Genuine leather emits an aroma that is at once earthy, fruity, and floral. Synthetic leather initially has a powerful chemical stench, which dissipates after some ventilation.
Leather, both top and bottom, are the same hue. Fake leather has a different color on the reverse side. As a rule, this is a white piece of fabric.
Leather has a matte finish and does not shine like synthetic leather. Imitation leather shines brighter than real leather.
The reason real leather is used for car seats and armrests instead of synthetic leather is that it allows more air to circulate and stays at a more comfortable temperature.
However, to cut costs, automakers increasingly use synthetic materials in areas of the automobile that aren't directly touched by a passenger's body.
Fake leather is cheaper. A 50-to-60-square-foot leather hide costs $600. A real leather hide equals 5-6 yards of $25 imitation leather.