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High Trim or Low Trim?: Case Study

So, you are in the market to purchase a vehicle, trying to decide on what to get. You narrow it down between two ruby red mustangs, both with low mileage, but you do not understand why one mustang is 5,000 dollars more than the other. That is because one is a base trim, and the other is a top trim. You may be more lenient in purchasing the base trim, although spending the extra money would be worth it in the long run.

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One thing to think about is the maintenance and cost to replace a part. The cars may seem similar, but maintaining the base trim may be more expensive than the top trim. Usually, the top trims come with the most reliable parts, whereas the base trims are just that – basic. Ostler (2020) claims that the top trim models are provided with much better equipment and higher quality materials. The cost would be different since cars have different engines – for instance, a high-performance Ford Focus ST comes with a more powerful engine than a basic Zetec (Ostler, 2020). Engine work can be the most expensive, especially if there is something broken inside of the motor. It is easy to break something on the base trim if you push the engine like the top trim, designed to take a beating.

On the outside, both cars may differ only with the badge identifying the trim, but on the inside, you will come to find they have many differences, one being the steering wheel. The base trim would only have the buttons to control the volume, while the top trim will have that and other features such as cruise control. The top trim will have the option to change the lights on your dashboard and the interior lights, but the base will have the standard dashboard. According to Doyle (2018), many companies such as Cadillac and Kia include advanced safety features only at top trim levels. Moreover, high trim models often combine several benefits, such as a high-end sound system and a navigation system (Doyle, 2018). A big difference is the seats, as the top trim will come with aftermarket race seats, but the base will come with the standard factory seats from Ford. You might think aftermarket seats would not make a difference, but they are very comfortable and can keep you more secure.

MPG or Miles Per Gallon is what people usually look at as gas prices increase over time. In this case, the base trim beats the top trim by a long shot. The base trim will come with a 3.6-liter v6 engine which will get you 19 in the city and 28 on the highway. The 5.0-liter v8 engine will come with the top trim, so you will be at the gas station twice a week, depending on your daily commute. With the v8 engine, you will get 15 in the city and 24 on the highway. There is not much of a difference there since mustangs are heavy, about three thousand pounds. Now you might think you are saving money going the v6 route, but the engine must work hard in order to move such a heavy vehicle. I drive a v8 mustang that also takes premium gasoline, and although it is costly to keep it filled, I do not mind it since I enjoy the top trim of my car and the luxuries it comes with.

In conclusion, it is usually best to go the extra mile and purchase the high-end trim of a vehicle since you will get your hard-earned money’s worth. Do not be afraid to look around as every car is different and available in different trims. It is all just personal preference and what you are looking for. When I found my car, I was not initially looking for a mustang, I just wanted a muscle car since I was young. Personally, I have come to find it is better to purchase the top trim of the car and I know it was worth every penny for me.


Doyle, K. (2018). Sticker shock: Navigating car trim levels. Web.

Ostler, S. (2020). Car specs: Choosing the right trim level.

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