Vehicular communication (VC) systems are being developed primarily to enhance transportation safety and efficiency. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, in particular, frequent cooperative awareness messages or safety beacons, has been considered over the past years as a main approach. Meanwhile, the need to provide security and to safeguard users' privacy is well understood, and security architectures for VC systems have been proposed. Although technical approaches to secure VC have several commonalities and a consensus has formed, there are critical questions that have remained largely unanswered: Are the proposed security and privacy schemes practical? Can the secured VC systems support the VC-enabled applications as effectively as unsecured VC would? How should security be designed so that its integration into a VC system has a limited effect on the system's performance? In this paper, we provide answers to these questions, investigating the joint effect of a set of system parameters and components. We consider the state-of-the-art approach in secure VC, and we evaluate analytically and through simulations the interdependencies among components and system characteristics. Overall, we identify key design choices for the deployment of efficient, effective, and secure VC systems.