What Is The Trim On A Car?

Have you looked at cars and wondered what all the references to trims meant? If so, you’re not alone as this is a very common question!

A vehicle’s trim level refers to its specific set of equipment. Not all vehicles of the same model have the same set of equipment. Usually, manufacturers use a letter combination to specify their trim levels. These codes let you know what kind of optional equipment each vehicle has. 

Sometimes, they’ll even tell you about their engines, too!

Typically, cars have a base model, and they’ll have a few upgrades as well. Each upgrade receives a different trim designation. The higher the trim level, the higher the price. Occasionally, buyers might look for a specific trim level whenever they’re shopping. So, they can even affect your vehicle’s resale value. 

What Do Car Trims Mean?

Each manufacturer uses its own trim designations. So, you can’t just compare different makes easily. However, there are a few standard trim designations. 

  • S usually refers to the standard edition or base model of a car.
  • GT usually means Gran Turismo, a type of sports model.
  • Luxury lines tend to use trim designations that start with the letter L. 

You might notice certain combinations of letters. The first one tends to refer to the overall trim level.

The remaining letters usually refer to other packages that are available. 

Example 1: 2021 Hyundai Tucson Sport

The Hyundai Tuscon Sport differs from other trim levels in a few ways. It’s got larger 19-inch alloy wheels. Plus, they’ve added a power lift tailgate, too. Also, the interior seating features leather accents on this trim level. 

Finally, they’ve put wireless chargers into the vehicle as well. It even has an upgraded transmission. 

Example 2: 2021 Ford F-150 XLT

The Ford F-150 XLT improves on the base model quite a bit. 

There’s a new set of sport alloy wheels on it. Plus, it’s got a larger infotainment screen. And, there’s even a built-in wifi hotspot! 

This trim level also adds a few driver safety features such as blind-spot monitoring. 

Do Vehicle Trims Matter?

Trim levels impact how much a vehicle’s going to cost you. And, it determines what type of options you’ll have in it. For some people, trims don’t matter at all! 

They’re just happy they’ve got something reliable to drive. Other people might not want anything less than a luxury model. 

If you’re looking for a particular engine or transmission, trim levels might matter. Certain manufacturers only put their best engines into the highest trim level. 

You’ll also want to look at the interior. Base models tend to have fewer electronics. However, you might get a wireless hotspot in an upgraded model. 

Selling the vehicles after you’ve owned them for a while could also be a factor. Most of the time, trim levels impact a vehicle’s resale value by quite a bit.

So, if you’d like something that holds value well, you might want a higher trim level. 

How to Find the Trim of Your Vehicle?

If you’ve already purchased a vehicle, you might be looking for its trim level. At the dealership, they’ll have them on their sale stickers. Once you’ve brought them home, you’ll have to look a little harder to find them. 

Sometimes, vehicles have them pasted on the back. Look around near the trunk to see if you spot any letters. Those tend to refer to its trim level. Otherwise, you might try looking at the sticker on the inside of the door. There’s usually something on there that will tell you its trim level.

Often, the owner’s manual will have them listed, too. Look inside of yours to see if you can find anything about it. Or, you could try looking up your vehicle’s VIN. This is its vehicle identification number. Each car has a unique VIN, and it’ll tell you everything about it. 

You might even look at what options your vehicle has. Then, you can compare that with what’s available from the manufacturer. For example, you might have a set of 19-inch wheels. And, after looking it up, only one trim level features wheels of that size. 

Understanding Vehicle Trims

Trim levels provide us with an easy way to determine which options your vehicle has. Most of the time, vehicles have a base model. This tends to be designated with the letter S. 

Each manufacturer creates its own designations, so they’re not all the same. However, higher trim levels always add new options to the car. And, they’ll usually increase its sale price as well. 

They can even have an impact on your vehicle’s resale value. Certain trim levels might hold their value longer, too. 

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Hi, I'm the founder of VehicleAnswers.com! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!