Vegan-friendly cars that are actually desirable | CAR Magazine

Vegan-friendly cars that are actually desirable

Published: 22 February 2021 Updated: 22 February 2021

► Vegan-friendly cars…
► …that you’d want to be seen in
► Luxury with a conscience

Eco-conscious is fast becoming an aesthetic as well as an outlook on life. Brands like Tesla and Polestar are already cashing in with a range of vegan-friendly interiors aimed at the sorts of people who bring their own hemp-based containers to organic supermarkets.

But what’s with the change? Well, veganism has taken a sharp rise in take-up in recent years. One study from Finder suggests a 40% increase in veganism in the UK from 2019-2020 – bringing numbers up to around seven million.

Before we dive into car chat, we should preface it with a warning. No car is truly vegan.

Francine Jordan, Media and PR Officer for the Vegan Society, said: ‘There’s currently no such thing as a vegan car.

‘The rubber and plastic used for tyres may be vulcanised and toughened using tallow (mutton fat) and even the steel used for the car’s frame may have been lubricated with animal fat. Even steering wheels and gear knobs can be an issue as in recent years manufacturers have ditched plastic versions in favour of leather ones – even in the most basic models.’

The key to veganism then, is trying your best. 

One of the simplest ways to add to your vegan credentials is avoiding leather. The Vegan Society says that more basic frill-free cars are more vegan-friendly. For instance, the Renault Twizy, a quadricycle without traditional doors, is one of the most vegan-friendly cars on the market.

But what if you don’t want something basic? What if you want something luxurious, truly desirable and brilliant to drive – that just happens to be a bit more sustainable than the norm?

As ever, CAR is here to help. Here are seven vegan-friendly cars that you’ll actually want to own.

Best vegan-friendly cars 2021 (for enthusiasts)

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan

The most desirable electric car on the market. An assault to your senses thanks to a 0-62mph time of sub 4 seconds. Yet, it’s also capable of a WLTP-backed 301 miles, although admittedly not at the same time.

Behind the raging data the Taycan is still a Porsche. Despite its weight it’s still devastatingly fast with a perfectly-balanced braking system and precise steering.

It’s available with non-leather options, plus Porsche’s Race-Tex microfibre, which is basically like a man-made suede. Floor coverings made of recycled fishing nets, too.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Tesla is certainly good at grabbing headlines. CEO Elon Musk is such a regular in the press there’s not much point making reference to one particular story for fear that it will become outdated immediately.

The Model S is equally as good at getting chins wagging. The latest model offers up more than 1000bhp, a KITT style steering wheel and an upgraded CPU that’s capable of processing 10 teraflops of data. We’ve been reassured this is a lot.

Synthetic leather is available for the Model S – but you’ll need to request it’s taken off things like the steering wheel.

Mercedes-AMG GLB 35

Mercedes-AMG GLB 35

In a world where social-media is teaching one upmanship to toddlers, it seems fitting that there is a seven-seat Mercedes with more than 300bhp.

We sound cynical, but the AMG GLB is a likeable alternative to the normal seven seaters. It certainly looks and goes a lot better than a Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer.

Interestingly it’s available with both Mercedes’ Artico man-made leather and Dinamica, a type of man-made suede.

Range Rover Velar

Range Rover Velar

A Rangie for the 21st century. By far and away the best looker of the Range range, it also drives pretty keenly.

In terms of size it sits between the Evoque and Sport – and it’s pitched right between the pair in terms of price too.

Land Rover offers plenty of non-leather options. There’s a particularly natty man-made suede on offer as well as things like a eucalyptus fibre textile. There’s also a wool-polyester blend which of course isn’t strictly vegan, but is at least leather free.

Polestar 2

Polestar 2

Similar money to a Tesla Model 3…but somehow much more desirable.

The Polestar 2 is a brilliant car that’s genuinely quick, but also has an official 292-mile range.

A big part of its desirability is its interior. It feels much better put together than any Tesla, with much softer and plusher fabrics used. Sustainable, too, thanks to Carpets made from recycled fishing nets, flax-based composite in the dashboards and centre consoles, and cork-based vinyl.

BMW i3

BMW i3

The basic design you see here reached the UK in 2013. It’s hard to believe that it’s been around for the same amount of time as Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Luckily for BMW, the i3 has aged more gracefully.

There’s a pure electric model or one with a small range extender engine that works as a generator to charge up the battery.

Cruelty-free options include seat fabrics made from recycled materials rather than leather. Plus you can show off to your mates about how a quarter of the car is recyclable.

Ford Mustang Mach-e

Ford Mustang Mach-e

346bhp, a 0-62mph dash in just over five seconds, and an iconic name. The Mustang Mach-e’s recipe reads like it’ll make something fantastic, and it does.

Something well worthy of the Mustang name at least – a fast, silent, and planted performance car with a bit of added practicality.

Faux leather is the name of the game with Ford. Its Sensico seating fabric is ‘soft and high-quality’ according to the company. Like with other cars on this list, the choice has been made by the marketing department rather than the accounting team.

By Murray Scullion

Petrolhead, journalist and traveller. Loves fast old cars and new tech. Deputy editor of sister site,