Remember when a base model car, really was a base model car? In today’s car buying age even the cheapest cars sold have features that were considered options not too long ago. High ticket items like power windows, air conditioning and cruise control are now standard on all but the cheapest of the cheap. Automakers understand that in order to get consumers into showrooms that they must now pack their cars full of enticing standard options. For example, my first car was a 1980 Mercury Capri, and it came with such wonderful standard features as heat, roll-up windows, an AM radio and that was it. Pretty spartan by today’s standards, but then again I think the car sold for $4500 brand new.
Now take a basic family sedan like the Honda Accord. It stickers for just under $22,000 – not a lot of money for a car these days. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, tilt and telescopic steering column and MP3 playback capabilities, plus a 177-hp 4-banger that will get you 33 mpg on the highway. That’s quite a bit of stuff packed into a relatively inexpensive package. Granted this car is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but if you want good reliable transportation at a good price, cars like this will absolutely fit the bill. Obviously as time and technology progress, the standard options will continue to increase in budget minded vehicles. For the time being though I have to say that when it comes to buying a new car in this day and age, you really do get what you pay for.