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Decoding the Differences Behind a Name

If you’re on the lookout for a new car, you may have noticed that not all cars with the same name are equal. It goes without saying that some are cheaper than others. What’s behind this difference? Well, manufacturers often produce different “variants” within a model range.

This is a way of increasing a brand’s sales potential across a particular model. Usually, there are three main variants, but this has changed in recent times amid the greater emphasis on SUVs. Notably, this excludes other variables like body type (sedan versus station wagon), or short wheelbase versus long wheelbase. However, these variants often come with different levels of amenity and luxury. Usually, the differences are indicated by a set of letters or numbers, sometimes a particular badge or sub-name may be incorporated into the fold.

When it comes down to the differences, most of it boils down to variations either under the bonnet or inside the cabin. Occasionally, the high-end variants also boast some exterior touches that make it look a bit different from the others. Now, if you are on the hunt for a new car, the difference between the variants usually means different prices – potentially pushing out of reach your dream car.



So what sorts of things usually make up the difference between entry-level and top-spec variants? Here are a handful of differences that you can expect:

  • The interior trim: The entry-level variants usually have a cloth finish whereas the top-tier variants usually incorporate leather, suede or a better quality of cloth.
  • Features and technology: The top-spec variants usually have a few more gadgets and conveniences (e.g. electrically adjustable mirrors, adaptive cruise control) that the more affordable variants miss out on. This is a big consideration, and this is one of the main ways that variants differ.
  • Engine: Often, the more powerful engines are reserved for the more premium variants. While a high-end variant warrants top performance, the good news is that entry-level variants are typically more frugal when it comes to fuel costs.
  • Safety: And lastly, while progress is certainly being made in this area, there is sometimes still a difference in terms of safety features between the variants in a line-up. This isn’t to say that the entry-level variants are unsafe, but they may have fewer airbags or fewer active safety features.

Ultimately, do your homework so you know what you are bargaining for. If safety or performance or features are important to you, and the premium variants offer better options in this regard, you might have to stretch your budget a little further to ensure you walk away with a car you’ll love forever.