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 19, 2017

2018 Ford Flex SE

The Ford Flex muscled its way into dealerships for the 2009 model year, standing apart from other three-row offerings with its still-in-the-cargo-box styling cues. It’s shape actually goes back further, to the ’05 Detroit Auto Show, when Ford rolled out a Fairlane concept billed as a “minivan with desire.” Fortunately, Ford dropped that trope but also dropped the concept’s suicide doors. As Mick and Keith said, you can’t always get what you want.

But you can get what you need, and most of it is often found in a base model car. Let’s see what Ford’s seven-passenger rectangle has to offer frugal shoppers.

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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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By on July 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

For once, we have an Ace of Base entrant whose trim level is actually Base. Not Sport. Not XL. Base. Tell it like it is, Chevy.

Not long ago I sampled the Colorado in ZR2 trim, finding it to be an agreeable alternative to some of the other factory-built off-road trucks on the market. Let’s see how the base model treats its occupants.

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By on June 28, 2017

2017 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Several months ago, I wrote on these digital pages we would never see a base-model pony car in this series, and I’m sticking to that edict. After all, two-door muscle cars shunting their power to the rear wheels should have a V8 under the hood, just as nature and Carroll Shelby intended.

The thing is, though, I freely admit this view is rapidly becoming more antiquated than a digital dashboard from the ‘80s. Four-cylinder mills now routinely crank out nearly 300 horsepower, a full 75 more than the Fox-body V8 Mustangs of my youth. Bolted to a well-fleshed-out chassis, the driving rewards are often vast.

What to do, then? Good thing the General had the foresight to make a two-door Cadillac on the same platform as the Camaro.

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By on June 21, 2017

2017 Ford Focus SE Hatch

With fresh news showing up yesterday of Ford shifting production of the Focus to China, it seemed an opportune time to revisit the Blue Oval’s offering in the compact segment. Last time around, we *ahem* focused on the sedan version and found it lacking.

Today, we’ll take a look at the five-door hatch which, in base trim, is better equipped with more features.

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By on June 14, 2017

Ford Taurus Police Interceptor

Despite what y’all may think sometimes, we do listen to you guys around here. Take this week’s Ace of Base as an example: Suggested by an alert reader, Ford’s current foray into the fleet of police forces across the nation do fit the Ace of Base ethos: a sparsely equipped example of a mass-market car offered at a rock bottom price.

Seven investigations on Autotrader quickly turned up several examples of current model year Ford Taurus Police Interceptors with under 100 miles on their clocks for around $22,000.

Barren interiors, steel wheels, plus Blues Brothers-style cop car modifications? Watch your head getting in, sir; we’re going for a ride.

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By on June 7, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Jeep is fixin’ to launch a redesigned Wrangler as early as next calendar year, meaning this generation of the venerable off-road brute is slowly marching towards its best-before date. When we last looked at the base Wrangler ten months ago, we found it to be an agreeable steed whose Mohawk Vodka price point more than made up for any deficiencies compared to its snazzier cousins.

Has anything changed for 2017? Let’s find out.

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By on May 31, 2017

2017 Toyota 4Runner

A great advantage to being one of the world’s largest automakers is that one can afford to wait for a bet to pay off. Witness this body-on-frame fifth-generation 4Runner, introduced to an apathetic and SUV-adverse public in the dark days of the 2009 as a ’10 model. It is still sharing showroom space with Corollas and Camrys today. Contrast this to Kia that introduced its body-on-frame SUV – the Borrego – at around the same time. It landed in the market with a dull thud and quickly resigned itself to the automotive dustbin of history in North America.

The 4Runner’s fortunes are on the upswing assisted by consumers consuming SUVs with all the restraint of a record producer with a garbage bag full of cocaine and a garden hose. Toyota sold more 4Runners in 2016 than at any other time in the last dozen years despite the brand’s glacier-like design cycle and the 4Runner being largely unchanged since the turn of the decade.

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By on May 24, 2017

[Kletr/Bigstock.com]

It’s always fun to see how the other half lives. In Europe, thanks in part to narrow roads that wind between ancient monuments and fuel prices several orders of magnitude greater than our own, small cars are king. When Citroën left our market in 1974, its only offering was the great-when-it-worked SM coupe.

These days, Citroën hawks a large range of cars on the other side of the pond. Compared to small base cars on our shores, does the C1 exhibit radical ideas or a dose of common sense? Whatever it is, there’s scads of it scattered all over the thing.

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By on May 17, 2017

2017 Ford Fiesta ST

After being taken to task for selecting an Ace of Base with all the financial restraint of MC Hammer during his peak earning years, I went on a bit of a hatchback kick. Nothin’ wrong with hatchbacks, even if they are often shunned like lepers by the American buying public. I learned to drive in a hatchback, then endured enjoyed a parade of five-doors during my, erm, formative years.

With that in mind, let’s see what the Blue Oval has in store for us at its most basic of five-door price points: a base Fiesta S Hatch.

… ah … um … oh dear.

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