Tips to help you choose the right car trim

By: Lisa Harper

You have decided on the make and model car you want, but now it’s time for the tricky part deciding which trim to opt for. To help you out, we’ve decided to share industry insider tips on choosing a trim level.

What is a trim level?

Trim levels are simply different versions of the same model car. Different trim levels are specced with different features and equipment, to allow car manufacturers to offer their cars at a range of price points and broaden their saleability.

Trim levels are different from additional options. Trim levels are specific packages of features put together by the manufacturer and offered at a set price. Whereas additional options are usually standalone or bundled together features which can be bought for an additional fee.

How do manufacturers name trim levels?

The problem with choosing a trim level is that manufacturers all set their own trims and trim levels, so you often need to do your research to find out the best trim level for the car you want.

Some manufacturers like Kia, keep things pretty simple with numerical trim names, so it is easy for customers. Whereas other manufacturers prefer more complex systems and choose to give their different trims names, for instance, Citroen has favoured the terms Touch, Feel and Flair.

The good news is manufacturers do tend to stay consistent, so once they have decided on a trim naming system, this is usually applied to their entire model range.

How do Nav and Sport car trims differ?

Although not gospel, as a general rule, if you see a car with the term Nav in the trim, it will usually come with a built-in satnav. While if a trim includes the term Sport you can usually expect to find sportier trim finishes like sports seats, stylish alloys and firmer suspension.

What are the pros of having different car trims?

-         One of the main benefits of offering cars in different trim levels is that car manufacturers can offer the same car at various price points to appeal to a larger customer base. 

-         Different trim levels often work out cheaper than buying all the additional features separately.

What are the cons of having different car trims?

-         Not all car trims are available with the full engine range, for example, sometimes you may have to opt for the sports model to access the most potent engine.

-         The manufacturers choose the trim options, so you may find one level missing out on a feature you want, but the next trim up adds lots of other features you don’t want or need.

Which car trim is right for your lifestyle?

The best trim levels offer a mixture of practicality, convenience and luxury, but ultimately the right trim for you is one that works for your lifestyle while still offering good value for money.

For families, key features are likely to be split-fold rear seats, remote central locking, driver assistance safety features and convenience boosting accessories like a sat-nav.

Young drivers may look for the latest infotainment systems, on-board connectivity and fun interiors. While professionals may want a touch of luxury with plush features like leather upholstery and heated or ventilated seats.

What about trim-based special edition cars?

As well as their standard trim offerings, some car manufacturers will release a special edition model based on a trim to help them boost sales.

From a customer perspective these special edition models can be quite an attractive prospect by adding in additional features you’d normally have to pay extra for. While for fans of a certain make and model cars, it offers them a chance to get a truly unique version of their favourite car.

Top tips for finding the right car trim level

1.      Decide on the make and model cars you’re interested and do some research on the different available trim options before visiting a showroom.

2.      Think about how you will use the car and which features will help make your drive easier. For example, if you travel a lot for work having a built-in infotainment system with smartphone connectivity may be necessary to help you stay connected on the go.

3.      Be realistic about your budget and needs. We’d probably all like the top-spec model with all the bells and whistles, but if you won’t use the features or they don’t suit your lifestyle (dog owners and white leather interiors ring alarm bells), then you’ll only live to regret the decision.

4.      Think about resale values, most of us will only own our cars for a few years before swapping for a new model. If this is the case, you need to think about which trims offer good value for money in the long term and will be valued by future purchasers, not just you. For example, you may love vibrant orange paintwork and bright interiors but remember not everyone else will. Opting for darker paintwork like blue, grey and black and choosing a sophisticated interior will help your car to appeal to more buyers in the future.

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