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Upgrading a Base Model Car – Is It Worth It?

Whether you’re a keen petrolhead or someone who just needs a way to get from A to B, there’s no doubt that buying a new car provides a certain amount of excitement. That smell of fresh leather is unmistakable, and that’s before you even get comfortable in the driver’s seat and feel the sharp acceleration and smooth steering.

Although there are plenty of positives, there’s a lot to think about too. Even once you’ve identified the make and model, you need to consider which specifications you want to include. Comparing different car models can feel like a daunting process, especially when there’s such a wide range of features for you to choose from.

So, what are the pros and cons of going for a base model or a higher-spec version? Is it worth the extra money? Allow Jardine Motors to take you through the ins and outs of upgrading a base model car.

Why do manufacturers create different spec versions?

Most brands – especially premium ones like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover – have a global presence, so they have to tailor their vehicles to a wide range of markets. Car buyers in different countries will have different priorities, so manufacturers have to shape their offering to suit.

Even within the same market, consumers have varying tastes and budgetary limitations. To appeal to the masses, brands have to offer a standard model but also provide the choice to include additional specifications to suit the driver’s needs.

What features can you expect as standard without upgrading a base model car?

It wasn’t always the case, but most modern vehicles come with a certain level of features as standard. Typically, these will include things such as:

  • Air conditioning
  • Power steering
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Airbags
  • Electric windows
  • Central locking
  • 12V socket

Of course, one manufacturer’s base model might vary significantly from the standard offering of another, which is why it’s important to do your research when you compare different car models.

Which features might be worth upgrading a base model car for?

Thanks to the vast amount of choice on offer, it can sometimes be difficult figuring out how to know which car specifications are important to you and which gadgets and tech you can do without. Here are some that commonly appeal to buyers:

  • Heated seats: A popular luxury car interior upgrade that helps keep you and your passengers comfortable – perfect for those cold winter mornings when you’ve finished scraping the ice off the windscreen.
  • Satellite navigation: To help you find your way around unfamiliar motorway networks or one-way systems. This has become a major priority for many when upgrading a base model car – especially among younger generations, who have grown accustomed to relying upon sat navs rather than map reading.
  • Infotainment system: Ranging from video and audio capabilities to USB and Bluetooth connectivity. You may even choose to upgrade your car stereo – perfect for those music buffs who want to enhance the quality of their sound system.
  • Driver-assist technology: Sensors and cameras that can notify the driver of any potential obstacles or errors. This is a popular upgrade for those buyers who list safety as their top priority.
  • Back-seat tech: A luxury car interior upgrade that can help keep your kids occupied while you’re driving. DVD players and monitors set into the headrests may feel like an extravagant specification, but it’s an add-on that might just prove invaluable – especially on longer journeys.

So, should I buy a base model car or upgrade to a higher spec?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in a vehicle, as well as your budgetary limitations. Upgrading a base model car by adding high-end tech and safety, interior and aesthetic features can see the purchase price rise by thousands of pounds, so you need to make sure you’re still buying within your means.

A good way to help you decide is to make three lists:

  1. the things you’re not prepared to compromise on;
  2. the features you’d like to have but aren’t a dealbreaker;
  3. and any specifications that you are not interested in.

From there, you’ll be able to configure your car’s upgrades accordingly and work out how much it might set you back.

Another factor to consider is how long you’re planning to keep hold of the vehicle. For example, if you think you’ll sell it in the near future, a higher-spec car is likely to attract greater interest and therefore a heftier price, meaning you’ll recoup more of your initial investment.

By contrast, buyers of second-hand cars that have a longer history are likely to be more interested in reliability and basic functionality than any high-end specifications you added when the vehicle was new, so a standard model may prove more beneficial in that instance.

Compare different car models with Jardine Motors

Essentially, the decision about upgrading a base model car comes down to you, your preferences and your priorities. At Jardine, we stock a wide range of brand-new vehicles from leading manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar and more, so we’re confident we’ll have what you’re looking for.

Our expert team are on hand to offer all the advice you need about luxury car interior upgrades, safety features, tech specifications and the various trims available for each make and model. We want you to drive away in the car of your dreams, so why not get in touch today or pop down to your local dealership and talk to us in person.


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