What is a Trim Package?

Mary McMahon

A trim package is a set of aesthetic additions to the exterior of a vehicle, available at extra cost to buyers. The base model usually has very basic cosmetic features, and people can upgrade by buying a trim package. Sometimes, it is possible to pick and choose from a menu of options for custom modifications to the vehicle, while in other cases people must pick from several different inclusive package options. This will add to the base price of the car and may improve the resale price, depending on the vehicle and the package selected.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Features available in a trim package vary by manufacturer and design. Usually, extra aesthetic additions, like pinstriping or decals, can be added, along with special rims for the wheels and other ornamental features. Some manufacturers will bundle a trim package in with a luxury version of a car, allowing people to step up from the base model to another version with trim and handling packages, improving the appearance and handling of the car.

When people view cars at a dealer's, they may have an option to see and drive the base model, as well as any upgraded cars the dealer has in stock. They can view and compare specification sheets on upgraded models and can also discuss their options in terms of a trim package to select the modifications most suitable for their needs. Research tools like car value calculators can be used by buyers who are concerned about resale price and related matters.

In some cases, a dealer may offer a special deal on the trim package, and it would cost less to go through the dealer than to modify the car after purchase. In others, it may be more cost-effective to add aesthetic features after buying the car, either handling the modifications personally or taking the car to a shop where trim upgrades are performed. Car buyers may want to consider pricing out their options ahead of time so they can use this information in negotiations with the dealer.

Some trim packages have a special name and they may be associated with noted fashion and art designers or brands; a car manufacturer could release a special edition of a car co-branded with the name of a popular company, with the goal of appealing to the company's customers. When a designer's name is associated with a trim package, the designer usually has some input in the features provided, but doesn't design the entire look and feel of the car.

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