The car buying process can be overwhelming if you don’t speak the language. You've probably seen letters like SE, L, LE, LX, etc. on the backs of vehicles, but do you know what they all mean? These are all examples of trim levels in different makes and models of cars. The make of a car is simply the car manufacturer, and the model is the actual car type that the manufacturer produces. An example would be a Toyota Camry, Toyota being the manufacturer, or the make, and Camry is the model. The trim level goes one step further in identifying the car. Each model will have several different trim levels that come with different options. The basic trim level will have the least amount of features, and it will be the most affordable. The more options the vehicle has, the more expensive it will be to drive off the lot.
Each trim level has different feature options, then there are also stand alone options that can be purchased additionally. The different options that come standard with each trim level are dependent on the manufacturer.
For example, some Hondas may offer a backup camera as a standard option even for their base model, while some Ford models may require you to purchase additional features to get this option. While each manufacturer has different standard features, it isn’t that complicated to focus your search.
Here are a few common trim breakdowns:
- L - Entry-level grade
- LE - Luxury Edition
- S - Sport
- SE - Sport Edition
- SLE - Sport Luxury Edition
- XL - Executive Luxury
- XLE - Executive Luxury Edition
- DX - Deluxe
- CE - Classic Edition
When searching for a vehicle, decide what features are important to you, and instead of comparing just the make and model, compare the features offered in each trim package. If you are more worried about affordability than luxury, you should opt for the base trim package, and if budget is less of a concern for you, opt for the fully-loaded options! While this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, it will help you narrow down your search more efficiently than comparing only by the make/model.