Not so long ago, choosing optional extras to be fitted to a new car was a guessing game. Unless a dealer had a similar car with fitted with similar options for customers to view, you’d place ticks on an order form and hope for the best. Today, the online car configurator means drivers can easily judge whether larger wheels look better, or if a panoramic sunroof and tan leather upholstery is a better bet than a regular sunroof with black leather trim.
Online configurators are big business. Car companies invest huge sums of money in making them as realistic as possible, because they can make huge sums of money from selling customers optional extras. And the list of those extras is as long as your arm.
Sometimes those options are a good choice. They’ll make driving safer or more comfortable for the owner of the car. But just as often, they’re a waste of money, costing hundreds or even thousands when ordered but worth precious little when the time comes to sell the car.
That’s the view of Rupert Pontin, the Director of Valuations at Glass’s Guide, the organisation that has been monitoring the values of used cars since 1933 – long before there were such things as optional extras.
Glass’s cautions buyers to think before they upgrade. It says that typically, the original cost of any option falls in value faster than the original cost of the car. It’s also better to invest in a higher trim level than to pick a basic car and pile on the options.
So which options are worth adding to a new car? Here are five wise buys.