When it comes to shopping for a car, there can be a lot of confusing terminology. In addition to things like automatic transmissions vs CVTs , and the differences between compact or midsize sedans, you may have hear words like “trim” level, or “feature package”. While most of us have a decent grasp of what a make or model is, what do trim levels mean on cars? And how is that different from a feature package?
What do trim levels mean on cars?
When it comes to vehicles, “trim” can mean the little decorative pieces on the interior, or it can relate to the quality of the vehicle as a whole.
For example, the 2018 Toyota Camry comes in seven gasoline-powered trim levels: L, LE, XLE, XLE V6, SE, XSE and XSE V6. While all of these options are a midsize sedan with similar interior space and trunk capacity, they can come with very different features. Trims with a “V6” in the name have a V-6 engine rather than the standard four-cylinder. Often the base trim has a smaller infotainment system, and lacks some comfort and convenience features.
Lower models are usually less expensive, but they will generally have the bare bones of features. Again, using the example of the 2018 Toyota Camry, the L model comes standard with front air conditioning. However, moving up to the XLE model gets you dual-zone automatic climate control.
Trims vs Feature Packages
When you are looking at the trims and available features on a car, you may also hear the term “feature package”. While different features are available on different trim levels, sometimes car shoppers can get those features on a lower trim level thanks to a feature package. For example, the 2018 Honda Civic compact car in the base LX trim does not come standard with Honda Sensing (the Honda suite of driver assistance features). However, drivers can choose to pay a little more and get an LX model that has the Honda Sensing package.
Trims, features, packages and options can be confusing, but they are just different ways to tell you what you can expect on a car.