Cars That Can Double In Price With Options – Forbes

Starting at around $21,000, choosing every option on a MINI Cooper boosts the price to around $42,000. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Used to be a new-car buyer would sit across the desk from a salesperson and check off any number of boxes among a long list of options. Like a five-star restaurant, pretty much everything an automaker offered in terms of features and accessories used to be ala carte, but today it’s largely a different story.

Most models now offer only a modicum of standalone options, with most features obtained by choosing a costlier trim level or an option package that bundles several often-related items together, either of which may come with items you may not need. Some cars give you the double whammy, not only making items like a blind spot monitor or heated and cooled seats only offered with other features in a package, but limiting their availability to the top version within a model line. And at that, availability of a certain feature or package might require taking yet another feature or options group. To muddy the water a bit more, a particular feature or option group might be priced differently according to which trim level you’re choosing.

Honda and Acura don’t offer individual options or packages at all, while other automakers, particularly Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, still offer a staggering number of both practical and fanciful individual upgrades.

In some cases, as was recently reported by the personal finance website Wikilender, loading up some models with all available features can actually double their base sticker prices. While one might expect this kind of situation with a high-end luxury car where the proverbial sky’s the limit with regard to customization, it’s also the case with America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup truck. Adding the full range of upgrades to the base XL, which starts at $27,110, bumps the price to $52,085, which represents a 92% increase. You’d likely be better off buying a top-of-the-line Platinum Crew Cab with four doors, a much nicer interior, and a gaggle of standard bells and whistles at $53,635.

We’re featuring all eight models on Wikilender’s list in the accompanying slide show with our own commentary.

Needless to say, this situation makes comparing car prices that much more difficult, as what comes standard in one model might only be offered in another vehicle’s most expensive iteration. Check car pricing websites like NADAguides.com or automakers’ new-vehicle online configurators to see how desired features are offered to make bottom-line comparisons of various models you’re considering.

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