Nowadays long and pricey option lists aren’t reserved just for luxury car buyers - whether you are buying a super-mini or a supercar it’s not difficult to spend thousands on options, with the size of your wallet usually being the limit! So, where is the perfect balance between cost and reward?
While choosing a specification to your exact preference may seem like the obvious route, thinking ahead and ticking options which appeal to the majority of drivers may leave you better off in the future due to stronger resale value. However, if you change cars once in a blue moon then you'll be unlikely to see any return on all the additional box ticking.
Most car manufactures now offer trim level packs. Generally, the greater the trim level the more options are fitted as standard to the car and in some cases a higher trim level 'unlocks' further options which otherwise would not have been available at all (this is often done to keep certain options, such as larger alloy wheels, exclusive to those who choose the highest trim level).
While the process can be long and sometimes complex, ensuring you know the specification list of the car and what comes with each trim level could serve you well in the future. While sometimes a mid-level trim will be most cost effective, in other cases the range topping model or even the basic trim level can be the best choice. It varies from car to car and from person to person, so do your research and choose which is best for you. Parkers.co.uk is a great resource for finding out about trim levels and optional equipment on any new car.
Case Study: Differing trim levels - 2016 Mercedes C-Class
C200 SE vs C200 AMG Line
The basic C-Class (the C200 SE) starts at £27,625 and includes (as standard) equipment such as electric folding mirrors, electric windows, bluetooth, DAB digital radio, reversing camera and cruise control. For an additional £3,500 you can treat yourself to the C200 AMG Line which further includes as standard the AMG Sport Line exterior and interior packs, snazzy AMG alloy wheels, Garmin® MAP PILOT Navigation and sport suspension. So while the base C-Class SE offers a plethora of standard equipment, if you are after a more sporty look and feel to your car the AMG Line could be right for you.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.com
Tip: Here at Wisely SOLD we generally find that cars fitted with 'sport' trim packages command noticeably higher prices on the second hand market as they are more desirable. As such, this may be something to consider.
The 'essential' options:
Lets run through which options to pick if your top priority is for your car to retain its value as best as possible. In our experience, these 5 are of highest importance:
1) Metallic paint and colour - choosing a basic colour like black or silver will no doubt get you a better price for your car on the second hand market and by choosing a slightly more expensive metallic option it could help to make your car stand out from the crowd.
2) Leather trim - popular with families for its ease of cleaning and with executives due to its classier look, leather may seem an option you can live without, but when it comes to re selling your car it is something a lot of people look for.
3) Alloy wheels - the right set of alloys can really set your car apart from others. Depending on manufacturer, alloys come in all shapes, shades and sizes. Generally, we would steer clear of the bigger wheel options, especially if you live in a city centre. Not only does the cost rise exponentially with every additional inch, so do the running costs (such as tyres, kerb scuff repairs etc). As such, only if form over function is your thinking and you are willing to splash the cash we would recommend keeping with standard alloys. Don't forget, alloy wheels are easily 'retro fitted' at a later date should you decide you fancy a change.
IMAGE: Courtesy of autoevolution.com
4) Air conditioning - while standard on most new cars nowadays, it is worth picking air conditioning (or climate control) if your new car doesn’t have it as standard. Many people (especially families) consider air conditioning a must when it comes to cars, so make sure that box is ticked!
5) Satellite navigation - a must for many these days. While Sat Nav may seem an expensive option it may work out cheaper than you think in the long run as it is very desirable at resale. Sat Nav systems don't have to be expensive with many manufactures offering them in a ‘Technology Package’ or similar. Often Sat Nav and a few other options can be had for a fraction of what they would cost if chosen individually.
IMAGE: Courtesy of autoevolution.com
No options are essential and ultimately it is down to user requirement, however the 5 options listed above are the ones to keep in mind from a re-sale point of view. If you are buying a city runaround (like a Volkswagen up!) alloy wheels, metallic paint and leather trim might not be necessary. On the other hand, if you are buying a BMW 3 Series for cruising along the motorway options like metallic paint, leather trim, air conditioning and sat nav could be considered essential by the second buyer. The good news is that manufacturers like BMW have recognised this and make things easy by including many of these options as standard.
We hope this article has helped you decide which options are best for your next car whatever it may be. The main point to be taken away is to remember that the options you choose aren’t just for you, but also dictate your car's future value!
COVER IMAGE: Courtesy of bmw.co.uk