Speccing a car – the dos and don’ts

When you’re buying a new car it can be tempting to go to town with the optional extras list. Tick a box here, tick another there and though your car may be loaded with kit, there may only be a handful which genuinely add value to the vehicle.

So we’ve picked out some of the key things you should – and probably shouldn’t – do when you’re speccing a new car.

Want the best ride? Steer clear of larger wheels

Big alloy wheels can vastly affect the way a car rides
(Audi)

Though it can be tempting to add large alloy wheels when speccing a new car, we’d advise against it if you want the best possible ride. Large wheels can add a crashiness to the way a car rides, so if you’re after a more comfortable drive then go for smaller alloys.

Plus, it’ll save money when it comes to replacing the tyres.

Travelling with kids? Cream seats may not be best

Cream seats can be a nightmare to clean
(BMW)

It’s true that cream seats help to brighten an interior up, and do give the cabin a classy appearance. However if you’re travelling with kids, cream seats may not be the best idea as they tend to show up stains and spillages.

We’d opt for a darker colour – either dark brown or black – if you want to keep the interior looking spic and span.

Don’t go for the panoramic sunroof if you – or your passengers – are tall

A panoramic sunroof can eat into headroom
(Mercedes)

A panoramic sunroof can be a great way of letting more light into a car’s cabin, and it can be a welcome addition on hotter days where you’d like some wind in your hair. However, it might not be the best of options if you’re taller or often take passengers who are too.

It’s because panoramic sunroofs cut in to the amount of headroom available, which could mean that things could get quite tight for those of greater height.

Refrain from out-there colours to help resale values

Large alloy wheels mean more expensive tyres
(Ford)

Bright exterior colours do help to make you stand out from the crowd, but there’s a downside to opting for a jazzy paint scheme – it can have a negative effect on resale values.

This is particularly the case with yellow cars, which often suffer a considerable drop in price when used.

Remember shiny black trim pieces attract dust and fingerprints

Gloss black plastics attract dust
(BMW)

A lot of manufacturers offer gloss black trim pieces for the interior of their cars, with long, flowing sections often trimmed in huge pieces of shiny black plastic.

However be warned – gloss plastic is a nightmare when it comes to collecting dust and fingerprints. Wood and textured finishers stay looking tidier for longer.

Research how your spec looks in real life, don’t just rely on how it looks in the configurator

Getting up close and personal with a car can be the best way to find out if you like a car
(Newspress)

Though it can be useful to head online when speccing a car, it’s just as important that you get a feel for how a car is in the metal. Paint colours which appear dark and drab on a screen may, in real life, appear far more vibrant than you thought too

The same goes for interior choices, and even the steering wheel size – it’s always worth sitting in a car before you buy it.

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