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Buying a Car: Why You Should Avoid Getting All the Options

If you’re interested in buying a car, you might find yourself thinking about checking all the boxes for every single option. That’s especially tempting given the wide range of features many cars offer today, with exciting luxuries, like adaptive cruise control, self-parking systems and more. However, we think you should avoid choosing all the options when you buy your next car, and here’s why.

Resale Value

Resale value is one major reason why you should avoid buying all the options when you choose your next car. That’s because options and upscale trim levels don’t preserve their value very well, and the end result is a highly-optioned vehicle that isn’t worth much more than a vehicle with only moderate options on the used market.

The reason for this is that used-car shoppers don’t care as much about options and features as new-car buyers do. Instead, shoppers buying a used car are more interested in items like overall condition, mileage and maintenance history, which means most used-car shoppers are willing to pass up a well-optioned car to go for one in nicer shape or with lower miles.

Premium Pricing

Another reason you won’t want a car with every option: You’ll pay more. That much is obvious. Of course, you’ll pay more, since you’re choosing every option, but it isn’t just the base price where you’ll pay more. In order to simply find a car with every option, a dealer may have to order it or swap with another dealer, which will limit your negotiating power.

There’s also some chance you won’t have as much choice when buying a car with every option. Generally speaking, cars are optioned like a bell curve. There are very few cars with no options, very few cars with every option and many in the middle. If you want a car with every option, you might be stuck choosing between only one or two colors rather than a plethora of varieties, if you go with a midlevel model.

Do You Really Need Those Features?

Something else to consider about opting for a car with every feature: You’ll end up paying a premium for a lot of stuff you likely won’t use all that often. For example, do you really need items like adaptive cruise control or LED headlights? What about massaging seats or a remote tailgate? If you don’t plan on using all these features, we don’t think you should pay a premium for them.

Our Take

Although it can be tempting to go for every single option when you’re buying a car, it’s usually not the best strategy. Unless you don’t mind the additional depreciation and the limited choice, and unless you plan to use every feature and option, we strongly suggest you buy a car with a more moderate array of extras.

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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