Category: Ace of Base

By on October 18, 2017

2018 Civic Sedan

There’s a good argument to be made that Honda has its mojo back, at least when it comes to the Civic. The ninth-generation car landed on the market with all the appeal of a wet fart, yet sales remained relatively strong, proving – once again – that no one listens to auto journos.

The latest Civic is leagues ahead of the old model, so much so that it has a very good chance of ousting the Camry from its perch atop America’s passenger car pyramid. Can the cheapest Civic, the LX, capture some of the luminescence cast by its more expensive brothers, particularly the Type R? Let’s find out.

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By on October 11, 2017

2018 Ford EcoSportFord is a bit late to the micro SUV party, with trucklets like the Kia Soul and Chevrolet Trax hoovering up sales while the Blue Oval dawdles in getting its EcoSport to market. Finally, it appears for the 2018 model year.

By the way, even if there seems to be a couple of ways to pronounce the name of this little rig, Ford vigorously prefers we say “Echo-Sport” and not “Eek-Oh-Sport.” The company’s completely serious, despite beating us over the head for years with ads for the identically-prefixed “Eek-Oh-Boost” engines. Very good, then.

With the build-and-price tool for the EcoSport going live not long ago, let’s gander at the cheapest soft-roader in Ford’s showroom.

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By on October 4, 2017

2018 Nissan Frontier

“Hang on a second,” you shout, hurling canned food and stale eclairs in my general direction. “Didn’t this series already cover the Frontier?” Yes, dear reader, it did… for the 2017 model year.

There used to be a Chinese buffet restaurant in the capital city of Newfoundland famous for offering meh options at midday, only to trot out much better versions of the same dishes in the evening. They charged a little bit more after sundown, naturally, but not that much more.

It appears the Nissan product team has been eating at the Golden Phoenix on Kenmount Road, then.

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By on September 27, 2017

Alien Green 2018 Kia Soul

Korean automakers built their foundations on these shores by offering cars priced much more aggressively than established competition yet packed to the gunwales with features. Kia has come a long way since opening up shop with their first dealerships in – where else – Portland, Oregon. Keep it weird, Portland.

Even with the by-all-accounts superb Stinger and the not-offered-here funky Stonic pointing Kia in a bold new direction, the company stays true to its roots by continuing to offer an array of products squarely in the Mr. Noodles price range. One of the most popular? The Kia Soul, of course.

Is there a base model? Of course there is. This time, it’s right there in the name.

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By on September 20, 2017

All Hail the Mighty Suburban

Full-size, body-on-frame, real SUVs are in some circles (not mine, thankfully) about as politically correct as a Monsanto home fracking kit. Thing is, though, if a person wants to transport nine people while towing an 8,000-pound trailer, there are few options other than the Suburban and its fraternal twin, the GMC Yukon XL.

The Suburban is a nameplate that’s been around since 1935, unabashedly truck based and powered by a 355-horsepower V8 engine which may or may not run on ground-up bicycles. Since the last time we looked at the Beast from Chevy, the bowtie brand has introduced a Tahoe Custom that was received warmly at TTAC HQ. Can the ‘burb retain its spot on the Ace of Base board? Let’s find out.

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By on September 13, 2017

2018 Nissan 370Z, Image: Nissan

There’s not much new in the 2018 Nissan 370Z, nor was there much new last year, and the year before that. In fact, this model has been around since Shane was still alive on The Walking Dead.

Like last year, an equivalently priced Mustang or Camaro will be arguably more modern with better technology, especially with the 2018 changes to those models. But, as long-time readers may know, I feel that either of those cars equipped sans V8 is more pointless than ordering a Diet Coke to accompany one’s double Big Mac and supersized fries.

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By on September 6, 2017

Yaris iA

Have you ever walked into a restaurant to find it happens to be marking some sort of special occasion by offering only a single dish? One time, I ambled into a greasy spoon fine dining establishment to discover the sole food available was roast beef. The solitary option? Mashed potatoes or french fries, sir. No substitutions.

While that approach had me heading for the door in a hurry, sometimes it pays dividends in the car world. We’re all spoilt for choice these days, so Toyota makes it easy for us with the Yaris iA.

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By on August 30, 2017

2017 Dodge Grand Caravan

Over the last few years, FCA’s long-term product plans have been, um, fluid. A great amount of “will they or won’t they” speculation is directed to the venerable Grand Caravan. The nameplate which invented a segment is a perpetual resident of the proverbial chopping block. Yet, sales remain strong.

Why? Well, the central tenet to this Ace of Base series is value, and a base model Grand Caravan has it in spades. Dodge minivans might be as cool as a dad in socks and sandals, but this SE brings a lot of value to the school zone.

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By on August 23, 2017

Audi A4

Young Mr. Baruth gave us his verdict of a base model Q3 yesterday, railing against its interior and infotainment system but admiring its grip and lateral stability. He made good points about Audi’s naming scheme, too: the Premium trim is an entry-level model, reminding me of VW recently putting the Limited badge on last year’s Tiguan. Remember when the Ford Explorer Limited was a prestige trim with a distinctive grille?

Given yesterday’s Q3 ministrations, let’s see what’s on offer from Audi in their least expensive A4.

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By on August 16, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom

In 1978, two years before I appeared on this earth, my parents traded their two-year old Chevy Nova for a brand-new K5 Blazer at Riverview Chev-Olds in Grand Falls, Newfoundland. They were headed to jobs on the Great Northern Peninsula and, with sound reasoning, figured a four-wheel-drive rig would be a good idea. They were right.

My parents went on to keep that blue-and-white Blazer for 13 years, so I have many good memories of it stored away in the back of my rapidly balding head. Learning of the new-for-2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom yesterday, I became unreasonably excited for two different reasons: 1) it reminded me of the old Blazer, and 2) I had found my Ace of Base for today.

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By on August 9, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey LX

Just about every sporting event I’ve ever attended – whether it’s hockey, baseball, or car racing – has been enjoyed from the cheap seats. Boiling it down to one or two reasons, I was either too cheap or too tardy to secure tickets closer to the action. Nevertheless, I always enjoyed it.

Honda’s newest take on the family hauler, and Tim Cain’s favorite topic, also has a set of cheap seats. It’s called the LX. Let’s see if they are closer to the sky lounge or penalty box.

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By on August 2, 2017

2018 Ford F-150 XL

It’s been two model years since this series put America’s best-selling vehicle under the harsh Ace of Base lights in a solo environment. Since then, the Blue Oval had given the truck a nose job and stuffed a new base engine under the hood.

Last time, I professed to not being offended by the F-150’s grille, given its propensity to blend in with its surroundings if Shadow Black is selected as a paint choice. Now, for 2018, I’m not so sure. That’s a lot of flat black plastic.

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By on July 26, 2017

2018 Volvo V90

Volvo, once solely known for making sensible and safe Swedish bricks constructed primarily of bridge girders, has lately been building some fantastic-looking machinery. Witness the fabulous crimson longroof pictured above.

When Ford sold Volvo Cars to the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2009, I feared the company would be pillaged and plundered for its intellectual properties, with the skeleton of its former self hung out to dry behind the woodshed. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Volvo is better than ever.

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By on July 19, 2017

2014 Fiat 500L Exterior-003

Each week, TTAC’s basic car correspondent Matthew Guy brings you an Ace of Base article. Matt’s carefully selected examples are base models which tick many desirability boxes, proving you don’t need thousands of dollars in engine upgrades, brakes, pieces of trim, or tech packages to have good and enjoyable transportation. Overall, the Ace of Base series is positive and uplifting, presenting us with the best of the best of base. The other half of the basic coin is being ignored, however, and that’s where you come in.

Today we seek your nominations for the new vehicle which best represents a Waste of Base. 

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By on July 12, 2017

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Last Friday, the boffins in Stuttgart saw fit to unleash the Build and Price tool for its foaming-at-the-mouth GT2 RS. With a twin-turbo flax-six making 700 horses, it has been suggested the king of all Porsches will hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 2.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 211 mph.

In a world where a single option package can cost $31,000 and a dab of paint on the dashboard air vents will set you back $1,720, is it really worth inspecting a $293,200 base model? Yes, yes it is. Let’s see what’s in store.

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