Car Buying Articles

Consider Your Options

Some Options Depreciate Faster Than Others


  • Sunroof

    Sunroof

    A sunroof can be an expensive option to buy but it will mean the car will likely be easier to resell. | March 18, 2010

Informed car buyers know how important it is to choose a vehicle that holds its resale value. But many consumers don't realize that the new-car options you choose will depreciate at different rates.

In fact, some options lose nearly all their value while other options retain as much as half their worth after three years. Depreciation aside, choosing the right options can make your vehicle more enjoyable for you and more attractive to the next buyer.

One industry insider said that buying a car with the "big three options" — power sunroof, alloy wheels and navigation system — will ensure a quick sale or high trade in value.

Sadly, safety equipment usually scores low on the resale value of options. In other cases, options that introduce new technology are expensive when new but don't always add extra value when the car is being resold.

One rule of thumb is that visible options and comfort features hold their value well. In some cases, used-car shoppers are not even aware of all the options that are included with the purchase of their car, and that includes some safety features. Further, as such safety features as side airbags and stability control become standard on an increasing number of vehicles, they will not add to the asking price of a used car.

Choosing options can be confusing. They are often bundled together as "packages." These packages save the buyer money by offering more options at a discounted price. Additionally, packages group options together in a logical fashion under certain descriptive titles such as "Performance Package" or "Comfort Package" or even "Luxury Package." When it's time to resell the car, these packages will usually provide a nice return.

Edmunds.com data analysts compiled the following list of packages and options that are particularly popular and will make the car more appealing in the used-car market.

  • Rear DVD entertainment systems
  • Sunroofs/moonroofs
  • Alloy wheels
  • Sport packages
  • Performance packages
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Navigation systems

When shopping, give some thought to how well the options on the car you're considering will stand the test of time. Safety is, of course, extremely important. But don't expect those features to add much to the resale of your car. Use the Internet to contact dealerships to locate the car with the options you want.

When considering options, make sure you are realistic about how they affect your total cost. Many cars have a low base price, but quickly become expensive when you have them optioned to your taste. Use Edmunds.com's True Market Value "Price with Options" feature in the New Cars section. It will add all the options to the base price, along with the shipping and the destination fee.

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