Upgrading my 2003 Santro Xing cabin with soft-touch materials

Love that car and still runs solid albeit with many comfort issues. However, the thing that irritates me the most, right from the first day, is the plastic quality.

BHPian krishnakumar recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I'm a stickler for touch and feel. Our family car is a 2003 Santro Xing XS. Love that car and still runs solid albeit with many comfort issues (poor AC, leaking doors etc). However, the thing that irritates me the most, right from the first day, is the plastic quality.

I remember as an 11 year-old kid, I used to wake up early in the morning, run to the garage and sit in the driver's seat and imagine driving. And the most distinct memory of that is me constantly having to wipe my hand because of that waxy, scratchy, hard plastic feel. I just hated touching the dashboard for whatever reason.

Now as a 30 year old and a newly-wed man, I'm planning to buy my own car. I've been reading forums after forums here in my research. While I'm mostly inclined on taking GTO's advice of "buy and keep the expensive baby for long", I'm still keeping some of the VFM options in the foray just in case.

This made me think. Can I salvage some of that premium-ness in a VFM cars with an aftermarket treatment to the dash and areas we're likely to touch? Has anyone tried such a solution? What are your thoughts on this?

Here's what BHPian SmartCat had to say on the matter:

You can wrap the dashboard & doors in fabric/leather/PU leather to get the 'soft touch' feeling, here's an example.

But do you really need it? There is nothing wrong with the quality of Santro's plastics.

Having owned cars with and without soft-touch plastics, I don't think there is anything 'premium' about it. Associating soft touch plastics with premiumness is drilled into our heads because of all the car reviews.

Sure, having soft-touch plastics in a car is nice to have "feature". But it doesn't make much sense to get it fitted on an old car. If you want a premium feeling in your old Santro, spend money on sound insulation, music system and latest electronic gadgets instead.

Here's what BHPian Sanidhya mukund had to say on the matter:

This can be done with leather wrapping the individual panels of the interior. But honestly, I would advise you against it because:

  1. It involves dismantling the entire interior of the car. No matter how good the guy is, factory fit is factory fit. You’ll start getting random squeaks and rattles very soon.
  2. The cloth material is glued on to the panels- our climate is harsh; the sun beats down very severely during summers. This could potentially cause the fabric to fade with time or lose it’s glue and form ugly creases on the panels.

Here are a couple of examples of how it can be done:

And this is how things could potentially end up after a short while (if the work is done poorly). Here is the example.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Instead of trying your luck with soft-touch materials in the after-market, better you buy the right car (whose interiors appeal to you - even if built of hard plastics) and go for the highest variant. The additional equipment of the top variants will keep you far happier than soft-touch materials. To me, these are good to have, but definitely not a must-have. There are many more important parameters to me = engine, gearbox, suspension, styling, safety, driving experience etc. What makes you smile on a highway road-trip? Soft-touch plastics or the way the car drives?

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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