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Why higher trims on used cars are better than on new cars

Ann Schmidt

Even though all the extra features and higher trims seem more appealing on a new car, they’re probably not worth it, according to one report.

Automotive website Edmunds found that American buyers are spending more on their new car for higher trims -- which can add more than $10,000 on average to the base price of a car.

About 10 years ago, higher trims added only about $6,500 -- a considerable trend, even taking inflation into account.

However, according to Edmunds, “the data shows that [higher trims] don't hold their value over time.”

Though higher trims aren’t always worth it, either way, that can mean better safety features, a more powerful engine, leather seating and upgraded technology, Edmunds said. Plus, they can give the car more value in the future

That’s something used-car shoppers can take advantage of, the website said.

Edmunds gave six examples of the price difference between trim levels on three-year-old models -- though the actual numbers will vary on location and trim level, the site noted.

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For a 2016 Ford Fusion, the used trim difference is $4,182, while the maximum trim level price difference on new models is $10,520.

A 2016 Acura RDX has a used trim difference of $4,796 and a maximum trim level price difference of $8,150.

According to Edmunds, the used trim difference for a 2016 Toyota RAV4 is $6,065, but the maximum trim level price difference on new models was $8,560.

A 2016 Honda Odyssey had an even higher price level difference on maximum trim levels for new cars. That difference was $15,475, while the used trim difference is $9,587.

Finally, the 2016 Kia Sorento had the greatest maximum trim level price difference for new models, at $18,200, while the used trim difference is $9,647.

According to the website, upper trims depreciate over time, but prices eventually do level out.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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