Making Sense of Trim Levels

27 May


You’ve found the right car for you. You’ve searched all the local dealerships (and maybe a few private sellers to boot,) you’ve talked to your bank about financing, you’ve talked to your insurance company about rate changes, you’ve checked online to find a product specialist that customers trust. You have all your bases covered. You get to the best dealership, you find the best product specialist, and he or she asks you: are you looking at the SE, the SX, the LE, the LX, the R, or the Limited S?

Why must we have so many different names for the different available trim levels? Isn’t it enough trouble to keep track of all the different makes and models? Why can’t we all just get along?

Although we can’t personally answer any of these questions, we can shed some light on the thinking behind the different Kia trim levels.

Say, for example, that the perfect car for you was a 2016 Kia Optima. What exactly do your 4 choices in trim level – LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited – actually mean, and what sets them apart, exactly?

The easiest way to deal with the trims levels of the Optima is to simply look at the varying price points. While the different letters may have once meant something, car companies have been redesigning and rebranding, often in competition with each other, for so long that you’d be better off ignoring the actual letters.

LX, for example, used to be used primarily for luxury models. But with the Optima, the LX trim is, technically, the least luxurious package, while the EX, which once stood for economy, is a rung above. The SX and SX Limited are special and sporty, so that “S” could have multiple meanings, and in the case of the Optima, you’re assured both sport bumpers and bi-xenon HID headlights if you go the S route.

Yet in a world full of relatively-meaningless trim level names, one vehicle stands out: the Kia Soul.

Looking for a base model? You’ll want the Base level Soul. Looking for a Soul with a little extra? You’ll want the Soul +. Looking for the most exciting Soul on the road? That would be the Soul !, pronounced “Soul Exclaim.”

So consider that another reason to look at the Kia Soul: when it comes to trim packages, you know exactly what you’re getting!