Loads of Extras

So, you’ve decided to buy a new car. You’ve read the road tests, you’ve assessed your requirements, you’ve studied the alternatives, you’ve even scraped the cash together, and after careful consideration, you’ve made your decision. You have of course taken all the relevant factors into account, performance, fuel consumption, maintenance costs, the size of your garage, how will it improve your success with girls.. etc. etc.

And now you’re ready to take the plunge.

Just one more hurdle to navigate around – the Options List!

So, (just for a change,) I’m going to try and give you some useful advice.

First of all, if you’re in the market for a luxury/prestige motor it’s dead easy. Just tick all the boxes. Yes, all of them. You may not see an immediate need for onboard radar, or variable setting massage seats, but when it comes to resale time no-one wants an S-Class Merc. or a Range Rover that isn’t fully loaded.

It’s pretty straightforward if you’re buying economy class too. These cars come out of the box with pretty much everything you need anyway so just take it as it comes. Leather upholstery in a Nissan Micra is a complete waste of money.

It’s the mid-range motors where it’s important to get it right. A mistake here can be seriously costly either when you buy or when you sell (or both if you really mess up.)

So, what do you go for?

1. Alloy wheels. Does it have alloys as standard? They’ll be fine. Upgrades to 19” plus wheels add nothing to the resale value of the car, the tyres will cost the earth and the ride will suffer. (Why am I telling you this when we sell tyres?)

2. Satnavs. The trouble with built in satnavs is that they are always a couple of steps behind the latest Tom Tom. And they add little to the resale value of the car. Save your money, buy a TomTom.

3. Leather Upholstery. Possibly. Depends on the car. High end 3 Series BMWs or Audi A4s are certainly more attractive at resale time with leather, (you won’t get all your money back though,) but it’s a pointless indulgence in a Vectra or a Focus.

4. Sound Systems. Most cars have a pretty fancy wireless fitted these days, and an upgrade will not add any value. Stay with the standard kit.

5. Metallic Paint. Usually worth it. You could just about get away with a red Audi I suppose. Metallic silver might seem a bit unimaginative, but at least it won’t put people off.

6. Sun Roof. What for? It’s got air con. and climate control hasn’t it? (It should have.)

7. Body Styling Kits. M Sport BMWs and S Line Audis have added appeal (if not so much added value at trade in time) but it will cost as much as specifying a bigger engine. Body kits on Vauxhalls make you look like a chav.

8. Blue Tooth Connectivity. Handy if you’re a rep., (or if you want to look like one.)

9. Tow Bars. These actually reduce the resale value of your car. They also signal you out as a caravanner, ie someone who is too mean to pay for a proper holiday.

Of course, this only applies to those of us who buy their cars new. Now me, I haven’t had a new car since 1990. (Obviously I’ve had new cars but they weren’t actually new – you know what I mean.) You see I rather like the idea of letting someone else stand the initial depreciation and I don’t mind the legwork involved, i.e. driving around looking for the right motor. And there’s no question about it, you can save some serious cash if you can live with last year’s number plate. The down side of course is you also have to live with the original owners choice of spec.

So when you order your fancy new motor, spare a thought for those less fortunate than yourself (me for example) and make sure you tick the right boxes. You never know, one day I might want to buy your car.