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12 Steps to Getting the Best Deal on a New Car

Step 6: Choose options wisely.

(American Honda Motor Company, Inc.)

(American Honda Motor Company, Inc.)

A bargain-priced car or truck can quickly become unaffordable depending on how it’s equipped, with some cars actually doubling in price between the base model and a fully equipped top-end version. Most models come in two or more so-called “trim levels,” with higher-priced versions offering progressively more accessories, more powerful engines and other upgrades. Generally it’s best to choose the trim level that comes with most or all of the features you desire, instead of adding options to a more basic version. However, if you’ll wind up paying for added items you may not otherwise need or want, taking the higher trim level can be a poorer value. Unfortunately, automakers have been limiting the number of options available on many of their models in recent years for the sake of simplicity – some offer no ala carte options whatsoever – and you may have no choice other than to choose a higher trim level to obtain certain features. Work the math and determine which models will include the features you desire at the lowest bottom-line cost.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at c[email protected]