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What does car trim or grade mean?

“Car trim or grade refers to a particular version of a model with a particular set of configuration, and is usually designated with a specific moniker.”

Although “trim” or "grade" can literally refer to your car’s trim, a trim/grade level (also commonly referred to as a trim/grade package) is a version of a particular model with a particular configuration. The different trim/grade levels offer varieties to the exterior and interior elements of a particular model, in addition to performance options, technologies, and even safety options. While many manufacturers today offer customers a wide array of trims, some models are still offered in a single configuration. Knowing how to differentiate trim or grade levels will help you make a better choice.

The idea of naming vehicle options using designated letters first became popular in the early 1980s. Base, mid-, and high-end are the most commonly used trim or grade levels, but some manufacturers opt to use specific letter combinations as a moniker to differentiate between trim or grade levels.  These designations are often found on the car’s rear, usually near the model name.  


Manufacturers have their own set of letters for different trims or grades, and the naming may differ across different markets even if under the same brand - but here are some of the most commonly used monikers:


● EX/X: Extra

● GL: Grade level

● GLE: Grade Level Extra

● GT: Grand Touring

● GT-Line: Grand Touring Line (style package)

● LE/LX: Luxury

● LTD: Limited

● S: Sport/Special/Standard

● SE: Sport edition/Special edition/Special equipment

● SL: Standard level

● T: Touring edition