ActiveX Seating Material Features

ActiveX Seating Material Features

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

ActiveX is a synthetic seating material that’s designed to look and feel high-end. Some of its touted benefits are being easy to clean, stain resistant, and durable. Because ActiveX acts as a leather substitute, there are many questions about what it’s made out of, how it compares to other premium materials, and how to correctly care for it.

Here’s everything to know about Ford ActiveX seats.

Sideview of black ActiveX seats installed in a Ford vehicle

It’s Synthetic Leather

Synthetic leather is nothing new. The truth is that while people love the look and feel of leather, it has a lot of downsides when it comes to car interiors.

Leather Pros and Cons

Leather’s remained a “luxury car interior” because of its pros, but its cons make it a poor choice for many. Because leather holds onto temperatures, it can create burns after sitting in the sun and be frigid in cooler temperatures.

Leather Seat Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
Looks great Gets too hot in summer, too cold in winter
Feels luxurious Usually attached to premium pricetag
Most messes can be wiped away Difficult to repair any damage
If maintained, ages well Need to use leather-specific cleanser and conditoner

All the Pros, Some of the Cons

So, automakers have focused on a variety of synthetic materials that replicate the good sides without the bad. Because a lot of research and development goes into this, there are different names tied to each of the specific formulas.

Some other names we’ve seen through the years:

  • Vinyl
  • Naugahyde
  • Leatherette
  • Synthetic Leather
  • SofTex
  • Alcantara
  • Vegan Leather
  • Pleather
  • MB Tex
  • SensaTec
  • Prima-Tex
  • Maztex
  • Sofino
  • And many, many more

But each of these is actually slightly different, and just like leather, there are different grades and finishes. Compared to the old crackly vinyl of the ‘60s, SofTex might as well be space fabric.

ActiveX is the latest in a long line, and one more associated with the Mustang’s history than leather is.

ActiveX seats in a light gray with black trim

The Only First-Gen Mustang with Leather Seats

The first generation of Mustang didn’t offer leather seats as an option. That didn’t stop one man from obtaining them though! Henry Ford II’s personal Mustang was optioned with leather seats. It also had a special finish, paint, and high-performance k-code engine.

ActiveX FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions people have about ActiveX.

How does ActiveX compare to leather?

The number one complaint about synthetic leathers is that they can’t compare to leather in terms of hand feel. But ActiveX proves how far we’ve come.

While true leather aficionados may feel the difference right away, one of the biggest questions asked on forums is if ActiveX is real leather. Many swear that it actually feels softer than leather.

Unlike leather, ActiveX is more resistant to heat and cold, making it a more comfortable fabric on very hot or very cold days.

How do you clean ActiveX?

ActiveX is best cleaned with leather cleaner most of the time. Unlike leather, you can break out the harder stuff when a particular horrifying spill occurs. This makes it a better choice for drivers who frequently bring their kids along.

Using a brush to clean ActiveX seats

Is ActiveX good for dogs?

Those with dogs will probably still want to throw a towel down. Just like leather, ActiveX can be too slick for dogs to get traction. While most users felt like their dogs weren’t able to damage ActiveX more than real leather, everyone agreed a towel was a worthwhile investment.

What is ActiveX made of?

Recycled plastic bottles, mostly. The exact blend of materials is proprietary information and belongs exclusively to Ford. For sure there are no animal products though.

Can ActiveX seats be heated and cooled?

Yes. If heated and cooled seats are on your list of necessities, you can still get ActiveX.

Which vehicles come with ActiveX?

For most vehicles, ActiveX availability is limited to one or two trims. Here’s a complete list.

  • Mustang EcoBoost Premium
  • Maverick Lariat
  • Mach-E (All)
  • Explorer (XLT, ST-Line, Timberline)
  • Escape (SEL, Titanium)
  • Edge (SEL, ST-Line)
  • Expedition (XLT, Timberline)

Rear quarter shot of a bright blue EcoBoost Mustang with tinted windows

Are ActiveX Seats Right for You?

If you prefer a leather-like seating option that’s low maintenance, it’s hard to see anything wrong with ActiveX (other than its kind of silly name). It offers many of the same benefits as leather, but with fewer downsides.

Cloth seats are also still an option for many of these vehicles. While ActiveX doesn’t get as hot in the sun as leather, cloth is still an ideal option for those in 4-season climates.

The easiest way to find out if ActiveX is the right interior fabric for you is to try it out.

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Source: Henry Ford II’s 1966 Ford Mustang GT K-Code Convertible Barrett-Jackson

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.