What's the Difference Between a Vehicle Redesign and a Refresh?

What's the Difference Between a Vehicle Redesign and a Refresh?

When it’s time to buy your next vehicle, you’ll find countless details to consider, including your budget, whether to buy new or used, and the type and size of car in which you’ll feel most comfortable. You’ll also have to take into consideration the features you want—especially when you're purchasing a vehicle with a recent model year. Bells and whistles, whether you can see them or they hide beneath the hood, may make or break your decision to buy one vehicle over the next.

In considering the features you want and can afford in your next ride, it’s helpful to understand the difference between a vehicle redesign and a vehicle refresh. Read on to learn the difference between a vehicle redesign and refresh and what you need to know to buy a car you love without busting the budget.

What Is a Vehicle Redesign?

When you compare a particular vehicle type across different production years, you’ll often find that the look and feel changes significantly over time. This is because every several years, manufacturers often initiate a car redesign to update both the exterior and interior of the vehicle, and possibly even under the hood, to create a better driving experience for the owner.

Some car redesigns include an update to the technology of the vehicle, while others focus on more stylish features that fit the aesthetic of today’s car buyer. The body of a newer vehicle may look more streamlined and modern when compared to past model years as well. A vehicle redesign typically takes place every several years, giving manufacturers time to gauge what new features may cause widespread buyer appeal.

How Is a Vehicle Refresh Different Than a Redesign?

In the years between total redesigns, manufacturers often rely on a vehicle refresh to keep their offerings new and interesting. Unlike a vehicle redesign, a car refresh involves more subtle changes to fewer aspects of the car.

Refreshing a vehicle, sometimes referred to as giving it a facelift, may entail an updated options package or new exterior or interior color choices. Some manufacturers will make slight changes to the shape of the bumper, the head or tail lights, or the wheels. Others put energy into refreshing the technology under the hood. A refresh is far less noticeable than a redesign, and it’s more likely to happen with each new model year.

How Does a Vehicle Refresh or Redesign Impact Your Purchase?

Purchasing a new car after a vehicle refresh or redesign has pros and cons you’ll want to consider before making a purchase.

On one hand, waiting for a vehicle redesign of the model you want can ensure you have the latest and greatest option, but it’ll also come with a larger price tag. A complete overhaul of features, exterior design, and technology represents a fairly large investment from the manufacturer, and that expense is often passed down to the buyer. There may also be fewer incentives offered with a vehicle redesign in the first year it’s rolled out to the public.

On the other hand, a vehicle refresh comes with a smaller price increase but also fewer noticeable changes to the vehicle. While this may be a more comfortable fit for your budget, you could be missing out on the upgrades a redesign has to offer.

Shopping for an Updated Car Model

Before purchasing a new vehicle, think over your top priorities in a car and plan accordingly. It’s fine to wait for a redesign of the model you want, but make sure it fits well into your monthly car payment budget before taking ownership. If you’re more budget-conscious but still want updated features, shopping after a vehicle refresh may be your best bet.

No matter which path you choose, always remembers that a new vehicle is a major purchase, so take the time to research what you can afford in advance. Then, you’ll be able to drive your updated car off the lot without losing the joy of a new car purchase to the worry of how you’ll make the payments in the months to come.