New ‘lower price’ trim levels explained

Are you confused by the Ford Fiesta Centura? Baffled by the Renault Twingo Bizu? Confounded by the Seat Leon Copa?

Chances are you are not alone. The recent trend in offering new specification levels (a term used to describe the amount of equipment you get with your car) has grown rapidly in recent months.

This is because car makers are increasingly aware of the current economic situation and as a result they know, in a fiercely competitive market, they need to offer lower prices and more equipment to entice customers into showrooms.

Of course, for customers this is good news. With the new 61 plates due to arrive in September, there are now more bargains than ever before to be had when looking for a new car.

But the new trim levels and special editions can be problematic because it can be confusing working out just what you get for your cash.

Below, we’ve listed some of the best, with an explanation into exactly what the new offer entails.

Ford Fiesta Centura

What is it? – The Ford Fiesta Centura is a special edition model launched this week to celebrate 100 years of Ford in Britain.

In reality, it is Ford’s attempt to cash in on the success of the Ford Fiesta Zetec, the most popular model in the range. Sitting in the middle of the Fiesta range, the Zetec model comes with a generous amount of equipment such as air conditioning and an audio system with MP3 compatibility, but also offers some frugal engines.

Is it worth it? – The Ford Fiesta Centura adds some extra parking sensors, a rear camera and some nice alloy wheels to the specification. As a limited edition, it also comes in a single colour (black) and it’s this exclusivity that adds over £1,000 to the price.

You do get £600 worth of extra equipment and some nice styling touches such as chrome wing mirrors, but cash conscious buyers should be just at home in a standard Zetec.

Seat Leon Copa

What is it? – The Seat Leon Copa is based on the entry-level Seat Leon S version. While entry-level cars are usually less generously equipped, the Copa version adds extra equipment to the stylish hatchback.

This is Seat’s attempts to make the Leon more affordable, undercutting key rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra by throwing in a host of extra equipment.

Is it worth it? – Yes. The Seat Leon Copa adds £1,000 worth of extra equipment but retains the price of the Seat Leon S version. This means an entry-level Leon now comes with climate control, cruise control and MP3 player with USB connectivity.

Renault Twingo Bizu

What is it? – The Renault Twingo Bizu is one of several new ‘Bizu’ models in the Renault range. The Clio, Megane and Scenic have also been given the Bizu treatment.

In short, the Bizu models simply replace previous entry-level models with a lower price. Simple but effective, the Bizu models effectively make the Twingo cheaper than it was without losing any equipment.

Is it worth it? – A new Renault Twingo for £2,000 less than it was previously available for is impressive and a price of £6,595 is superb.

Other models such as the Clio Bizu, Megane Bizu and Scenic Bizu offer similar deductions, making them a tempting proposition.

Ford Focus Studio

What is it? – Another new specification level from Ford, the Studio models will be available with the new registration plates in September.

The Ford Focus Studio model is a replacement for the Focus Sport, the previous entry-level model, but adds 16" alloy wheels and a body coloured rear spoiler.

Is it worth it? – The Ford Focus Studio brings down the bottom price of the new 2011 Focus to £14,000 – an incredible price for such a good car. The specification is basic, but a £2,000 reduction will mean the new Focus is more accessible than ever.