How to customise your new car

As many car buyers will know some models aren’t exactly what they say on the tin in terms of price and what you want.

If you are really set on having certain gadgets on your car they may not be available at the entry-level price.

Features such as satellite navigation, DAB radio and even body coloured door handles are often only available on more expensive models – meaning that starting price can rise rapidly once the car is specced up to your needs.

This is where trim levels come in.

When a manufacturer brings out a new model the retail price will be that of its basic entry model. If you want other features like cruise control you will have to pay for a higher specification trim level.

However, that’s not to say ‘if you want a decent car you will have to spend a fortune’. Nowadays this is not the case as cars in the current market are getting more and more sophisticated.

Therefore features like air conditioning, central locking and power steering are pretty much a standard expectancy.

These may seem pretty basic features, but when you think about it they are necessities, and most car drivers do not want to own a car without them.

Then there are features of higher trim levels that are, well, luxuries. This includes models like the Citroen DS3 where a Racing Kit is offered on the highest of the seven trims, the Racing.

This includes a full racing body kit including a sports leather steering wheel, racing sport seats and carbon fibre inserts. Of course this means the on the road retail price changes from £12,600 to £24,300 for the Racing trim level.

Another model with luxurious options is the Range Rover Evoque. It offers things like a fixed panoramic roof for £790 or a Firenze Red metallic paint job for £550.

The Evoque is a good example of initial retail price and equipment packages. Most people automatically assume that if you spend £27,995 (entry level retail price) for a Range Rover Evoque, you will get the whole shebang, this is not true.

While the Range Rover, as a luxury car, comes with more standard equipment than most, it still pays to be careful when customising the car.

The best way to browse and customise a model to suit you is on the manufacturer website. I’ve had a play around on the online Range Rover configuration and can show you exactly why you should be careful with what you choose.

Let’s say hypothetically you want a Range Rover Evoque with a rear seat entertainment system. You may start by looking at equipment packages that are offered, such as the Dynamic Plus Pack which costs £3,000.

But just because this package costs £3,000 doesn’t mean you will get what you want, which is a fact in this case as the Dynamic Plus Pack clearly states ‘not available with rear seat entertainment’.

On the other hand, and aside from the equipment packages, you can choose the straight forward Rear Seat Entertainment option that costs £2,295. Here you have got what you want and saved £775.

The moral of the story with cars and their trim levels is be sure what you want on your model, and be careful what trim you go for because it’s no use in spending £20,000 on a trim level that has everything apart from what you really wanted.

Also, be careful when choosing optional extra’s like body graphics as they can reduce the residual value of your car because let’s be honest, someone might not want to run their kids to school in a car with lightning bolts down the side when it comes to trying to sell the car on.

With more car buyers than ever going online to buy their car, resources such as car configurators are becoming a must before that visit to a dealership to help you, the buyer, specify exactly what you want from the options available.

Remember, if you want to buy a new car, the more information you have ready means you are more likely to get exactly the car you wanted in the first place at the price you budgeted for.

For more information on customisation and options, ask a Perrys car expert at your local dealership.