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. 

Now, I know it’s hard for you all to be critical of vehicles, so we’ll have to muddle through today. Some food for thought on what makes a Worst of Base is in order.

Value is of course a primary concern for a base model, and a good starting point for considerations. Think about vehicles which, even in base trim, represent not-great value for money. Think about being relegated to wheel covers, a certain too-small engine, or infotainment from a prior generation. Maybe you can only get one or two bland, flat colors on the outside. And speaking of exterior treatments, maybe the manufacturer doesn’t try quite as hard with the exterior trim of base models as they do with higher price points in the model range. I can tell you’re waiting for an example.

Image: 2017 Dodge Journey SE, via FCA

Here it is — the Dodge Journey. The base Journey trim is SE, which I think stands for Somewhat Equipped. And that’s an ambitious title. Hope you like those wheel covers!

This trim also has a different and poorer-looking bumper than higher-up versions, which exchanges this sedate-looking front end for one with a more crossover-like look, plus fog lamps. The price point here is just over $21,000. As you suspected, it’s front-wheel drive, and does not contain a Pentastar V6. Nope, just a 2.4-liter four-cylinder. This engine is not a new Fiat version, but rather dates back to the dark days of the Dodge Caliber. Power heads up front via a four-speed automatic, which is equally archaic and dates from the Chrysler Sebring era.

It only seats five people in this trim (a third-row seat being $1,995 extra), and passengers won’t be making any Bluetooth calls or using any wireless device inside, unless they have a cable. The Dodge Journey SE handily earns a Waste of Base title, and buyers would be well advised to look elsewhere. Perhaps they might look across the showroom at the Grand Caravan.

What’s your pick for Waste of Base?

[Image: FCA]

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60 Comments on “QOTD: Which New Vehicle is the Worst Waste of Base?...”


  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Any North American version of a car which in the rest of the world almost always comes with an analogue clutch but here only comes with two peddles is the worst base version.
    Why pay more for a video game transmission?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    From mid November until early April I have no wheel covers on any of our vehicles. Steelies with winter tires. So I could not care less about wheel covers. In fact the cheaper the better.

    There are so many other far more important reasons to disparage a vehicle or complain about its features. Particularly when it is so easy to change the wheel covers, to suit your personal preferences.

    How about the quality of the seating material? Whether or not the driver’s seat is height adjustable? Whether the controls for heating/cooling and radio are actual dials or the hated and dangerous push buttons?

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I didn’t know they still sold this thing.

    While those wheel covers scream “Upgrade to a better trim, cheapskate!”, at least that bumper doesn’t have the sad “this person was too poor to pay for the trim with foglamps” blanks.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    ITT people just b!tching about whatever car they don’t like.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I don’t know… that Journey sounds more like a “why would anyone buy this vs. anything else” sort of issue. But one could say the same thing for a Journey of any trim.

    I like the Ace of Base series as it tends to mirror my own findings. Every time I’m out looking I can’t think of any of the features in upgraded trims that make me NEED to upgrade. Since I tend to not like the ride (and future cost) of oversized wheels, for example, base wheel sizes tend to be just fine for me. I also tend to prefer cloth to “leatherette” which doesn’t breath, so the Mazda6 or VW Golf wagons tend to interest me more in base level (though that huge sunroof is cool, it also accentuates the sweaty back from the vinyl seat covers).

    Why the Fiat 500L in the story image? You may find that car to be a bit of a joke, but the base model with the manual trans is the only way I’d want one, if at all.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Fiat USA website shows the manual transmission as no longer available on the 500L in any trim. It looks like the only available transmission for 2017 is the Aisin 6-speed auto.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        It is now, I discovered it last week as I was vetting it for a potential Uber/Lyft chariot.

        Turns out, there is a lot to like about the thing when you get down to it, even in Pop (base) trim.

        There’s even more to like when you see the prices on used ones. It depreciates like crazy, as do all small MPVs in North America.

        There just isn’t any demand for them when you can get a crossover that projects a more adventurous image vs. a boring MPV. I hesitate to call it a “people mover” because it only seats 5. And that is just fine for a very roomy vehicle for a small family. Trouble is, so is an Escape or CRV, and they’re more in style.

        For people like yours truly who do not desire a crossover, but appreciate the general utility nature they offer, this (and the Ford C-Max) seems like a good alternative. I like these MPVs more than CUVs, the value they offer (especially low mileage used) is reason enough to choose them.

        I looked at a used 2wd GMC Terrain and online at a Chevy Captiva Sport. It was surprising, the “you know it was a rental” Captiva Sport was expensive! I figured it would be bargain basement. Nope. Even that shunned redheaded stepchild seems to be in demand. The Terrain was also a lot more than I would’ve thought.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @stevelovescars: I agree, in order to ‘upgrade’ to the next trim level, I need a compelling reason. For me leather seats are a reason to downgrade, as I much prefer cloth. The same with a sun/moon roof, too noisy to drive with it open and gets too hot inside if the shade is left open. Fog lights, I have needed about a dozen times in 40+ years of driving and they are too exposed to road damage. Wheel covers, not interested. And I much prefer an analogue dash and actual dial to screens, etc. And the rotary shifter knob has got to be another of the stupidest ideas of this century.

      Base vehicles should be ‘cheap and cheerful’. Fulfilling the function of an inexpensive, yet dependable vehicle. Like the base Honda Civic hatch we purchased new in 1981. Zero options. A manual choke. But fun to drive, dead on reliability and decent room for 4.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I’ve always thought the Journey and Caravan in CVP/SE equipment were two of the best base models on the market. Fantastic value for 90% of the population who don’t care how bad they drive and how ancient the mechanicals are. The Caravan is obviously better since it has the Pentastar. But they’re both great deals and always discounted on top of the MSRP.

    I’d consider a waste of base any vehicle that comes with useless superfluous equipment (heated seats, giant wheels, fog lights, LED running lights, cruise control, more than 4 airbags, electronic safety nannies, chrome trim, more than 4 speakers, satellite radio) on even the base trim that drives up the price unnecessarily. So most vehicles nowadays. Base models should be black plastic trim, 2 airbags, vinyl floor, wheel covers, manual everything.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Vinyl floors? Yes!

      I use my minivan to haul all kinds of things, but everything is covered in gray/silver carpet. Outside of the luxury versions of minivans/CUVs/SUVs, why aren’t the base models coming with vinyl or rubber floors? It would make so much more sense and ease cleaning…

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Some people can’t drive manuals. I mean, don’t know how to, or physically can’t.

      If you can’t see the value of cruise control, I guess you never leave your city.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Any car from the German luxury three*; they are so barren from lack of equipment that should be standard on vehicles 1/3rd their purchase price.

    *I exclude Porsche because at least you can pretend your car doesn’t have keyless access or auto-dimming mirrors or heated seats “because racecar” instead of the true reason “because rape our customers for profit”.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Counterpoint: the base cars are better because they handle substantially the same as the non-base ones. Let people pay more for stuff that doesn’t contribute to the driving experience.

      Frankly, there’s only three creature comfort items I care about: heated seats, rear view camera and front/rear park distance control. Two of those are really only necessary due to the decreased visibility of modern cars.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Porsche- Automatic Windshield wipers are standard, but automatic headlights are a $5000 option.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    And yet FCA sold its highest number of Journey’s in 2016 – 106,000 and for 2017 they are 20.5% ahead of 2016 through June…….

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As more and more vehicles are designed to ever higher CAFE, FMVSS, IIHS and Marketing standards accompanied by price increases, there’s a place at the bottom for people who just need a car that makes it over the bar at a low price. The CVP Journey isn’t a great vehicle by modern standards, but it serves a purpose. God forbid we allow low income people to be able to afford to drive a new vehicle that can haul a family.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Don’t forget this thing has Passive Entry/Pushbutton Start, Wheel Stereo Controls Dual-Zone Air Conditioning, Touchscreen, Cruise Control, ABS, Traction Control and enough airbags to total the dang thing if they all pop in a single event.

        It has upholstered(as opposed to just soft-touch) armrests, a padded dashboard with color trip computer– enough cubbies to never see anything one doesn’t want to see, but that they’ve still got to carry.

        Doesn’t seem like abject poverty to me.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        This Journey only seats 5, there are plenty of 5 seater vehicles in this price range. None come with that horrible 2.4L engine, or a transmission that was state of the art when my 20+ year old car was new.

        Under no circumstances would I tell a small struggling family to buy a new Journey. I wouldn’t tell anyone that. Its garbage.

        The Caravan is marginally better, at least its a functional minivan with a decent engine, and not a poser CUV with less room, a wretched engine, and less seating capacity. I would begrudgingly suggest it to the low-income family, to be gotten rid of when the powertain warranty is up.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “None come with that horrible 2.4L engine, or a transmission that was state of the art when my 20+ year old car was new”

          There’s nothing actually wrong with these things for the non-enthusiast who doesn’t know or care when these things were put into service. They’re reliable pieces, and that’s what counts here.

          Low end Journeys routinely transact well under anything comparable in size. It’s all about that payment.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I know at least two people who could take advantage of this model…if they didn’t feel status was a problem. This would fit their needs properly and be at an affordable price while giving them at least three years of cost-free maintenance–which is eating them up on their older vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “at least three years of cost-free maintenance–which is eating them up on their older vehicles.”

      So, car payments are cheaper than tune-ups and oil changes?

      Unless you mean repairs. In which case why would you recommend a vehicle that will be in the same boat before its paid off? Sounds like common sense is your enemy here, not delusions of status.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “. In which case why would you recommend a vehicle that will be in the same boat before its paid off? Sounds like common sense is your enemy here, not delusions of status.”

        Sounds like yours is a know it all attitude when predicting vehicle reliability and financial status of people you don’t even know.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Common sense typically comes from experience, 5door. My experience says that a new car will have far, FAR fewer problems than a 10-15 year old model that practically being held together by duct tape and baling wire (one case almost literally.) Driveline repairs are eating these guys up and they simply cannot afford to replace them with an equivalent new vehicle. Even at $20K, the Journey would be a stretch for them even on an 8-year schedule.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Car payments are cheaper than REPAIRS, John. REPAIRS are maintenance and these people are being eaten up by REPAIRS to their existing vehicles… but they can’t afford to buy a decent new vehicle because they’re almost all grossly overpriced for what they are.

        And FCA’s products are better than you want to believe, John. In now owning two FCA products I’ve not had one issue with functionality and even my Daimler-designed and built Wrangler, notorious for being unreliable, gave me 9 good years of service needing only brake repair and tires. (Brake repair now on an extended warranty from the factory, by the way.). So assuming repairs before the car is paid off is either blatant prejudice or assumed ignorance.

        And before you bring CR and JDP into the discussion, they’ve discredited themselves way too many times for me to trust them any more. They’ve been wrong on EVERY SINGLE CAR I’ve bought in the last 20 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I once had a car like that. It was costing me over $400/month in maintenance (repairs) at a time when the average new car note was only $300…

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          I just had to spend $4,000 on my truck this year in repairs, which included a rebuilt trans among several other things. That works out to $333 a month. It’s clearly the most I’ve ever spent on repairs for a vehicle, and far out of my running average. But even if I spent $4,000 every year, that $333 wouldn’t even buy this Journey on a 5 year loan.

          Car payments are NOT cheaper than repairs.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Once more into the breach.

            Decent lease for $300 per month. Zero or very little down. Get a $50 oil change twice per year. Pay less than $1k for a decent set of winter tires and steelies.

            Turn it back in when finished.

            Never have to worry about ‘down time’, unexpected repair costs, borrowing to pay for repairs.

            Plus you ‘should’ get all the ‘modern conveniences’ such as Bluetooth, ABS/ESC, back-up camera, USB chargers, all included.

            Or buy something used which means either a big initial cash outlay or a loan at a high(er) interest rate. Since you own, it you take care of it. $1k for winter and steelies. But as a used vehicle you might need to buy new ‘summer tires’ as well. If 5 years old, probably a new battery. Will probably need or want to change all the existing fluids and filters. If north of Mason-Dixon, then probably will want/need to rust proof it every year. Depending on the engine may have to change the timing belt and since you are doing that the water pump as well. That is just routine maintenance.

            Now what if there is a repair bill? A/C, catalytic converter, transmission, gasket replacement?

            So just how much ‘cheaper’ is that used car? And is it worth the peace of mind of a new car with probably better safety features and a warranty?

            I do agree that the above depends on your geographic location, the amount of miles driven, what you use the vehicle for and your ability to perform your own repairs.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Car payments are NOT cheaper than repairs.”

            This. It’s very unlikely that someone would be spending more than $350 a month on average or more than $4,200/yr on maintenance a year on a mainstream vehicle less than 10 years old in average/mileage non commercial service.

            To look at the true cost however, there one has to look at the missed opportunity costs of a broken vehicle, ie. missed revenue due to missed work, cab rides, rentals etc.

            Even then, it’s almost always cheaper to repair. The vast majority of people get into new cars because they want something new for the sake of something new. Which is fine, so let’s not delude ourselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Nitpicking but “if it is always cheaper to repair” then no car would ever be scrapped due to mechanical issues.

            And a significant number of new car buyers do so because it is financially a better choice or because they are buying ‘peace of mind’. Not because they want new car smell.

            The total cost depends on how well you maintain your car, what you can do yourself, how many miles you drive, what you use/need it for, etc.

            And yes $333 per month, plus the cost of any other repairs you need to make over the next 4 years on your used vehicle would more than pay for a Value Package (Base) Journey.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >>”Nitpicking but “if it is always cheaper to repair” then no car would ever be scrapped due to mechanical issues.

            Barring a total loss due to extensive collision damage, repairs would be cheaper than replacing with a new vehicle. It’s when the down time missed opportunity costs start mounting that it starts making financial sense to replace the vehicle.

            With fleets, this is easily calculable and costs can amount to a lot.

            For a personal daily driver, less so.

            4 years of payments at $333/mo even at 0% interest is only $15,984…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    To amplify some other’s comments here, what’s wrong with the base Journey? It apparently fills a need, otherwise sales wouldn’t be so strong. I have to agree with Arthur Dailey & Danio that due to a combination of regulations and high purchase costs (of other cars) that it serves a purpose.

    Besides, these things are better equipped than my 2009 Pontiac G6 does, and mine was far from a “poverty special”.

  • avatar
    arach

    No one mentioned the…

    JEEP PATRIOT?

    OK Let me get this right. It doesn’t even come with Air conditioning. Most people don’t even realize you can buy a car today without air conditioning… you can, the base jeep patriot. They even list it on the sticker, as “Air conditioning Bypass” like its some sort of performance feature on a sports car.

    It comes with an unimpressive manual transmission with an unimpressive Front Wheel Drive and an unimpressive engine.

    It doesn’t even have Keyless entry. No, not the “I don’t have to use a keyfob”, but a keyfob. On the base patriot you have to use a Key. an actual key in the door. that still exists.

    The car is so unimpressive that if you print out standard features it has a “Performance Category”. Under it it just says “Transmission”. Yes the fact that it HAS multiple gears is listed as a feature. Under climate control options it says HEATER. WOW, it has HEAT!

    In fact under “additional safety & security features” it states “Single Low Note Horn” because you actually have to have more options to have a normal 2 tone horn. YES THEY WENT CHEAP ON THE HORN.

    Manual windows? Did you know they exist? yes, and they are still included.
    How about Manual Door Locks? Yup, got that. Included.

    Interior design lists “Steering wheel”. Really excited to get that as an added feature on this base design.

    There is no worse base than the Jeep Patriot. None. The only potentially redeeming factor is you can get one today at the whopping price of $13,785. Yes, that even includes destination charge! So for $14,000, you can get the worst base car ever made. Ever.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I tried to like the Dodge Journey, but I wonder why it even still exists. Who buys them?

    As for the wheel covers – the OEMs would do themselves a service if they brought back dog dish caps. After all, you could replace them with baby moons, which were the finest wheel/hub covers ever designed if you couldn’t or didn’t want to afford fancier wheels.

    I think Wal-Mart or Auto Zone offers nicer covers than those monstrosities!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Who buys them?

      People with awful credit, little money, a desire for a new vehicle and a need for 7 seats. In ‘merica – that’s a solid target market to go after. Finance for 84 months and hand them the keys.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged Miata Man

        All true, but I’ll add one more: tech-adverse elderly parents looking to replace a 10-year-old Chrysler SWB minivan.

        As much as I hate the idea, a midgrade Journey (cloth seats, keyed ignition, no UConnect, Pentastar preferred but not necessary) checks off those boxes.

  • avatar
    TW5

    To ace the base test, you gotta have sidewall. It’s a cheap, disposable suspension component that protects the chassis and expensive suspension components from our deteriorating roads. Many new cars only offer 50/55 profile tires, which don’t offer much protection, since the tires are quite narrow.

    Versa S has 185/65 which offers just enough bounce. It only costs $12,000 in base trim. Yaris offers 175/65 in base trim, but costs over $15,000 MSRP. Honda Fit is $16,000. Fiesta has 185/60 for around $13,500 MSRP. VW Golf offers 195/65 for around $20,000 MSRP, but that’s a substantial car with a powerful turbocharged engine so it’s decent value.

    CUV/SUV sales are electric right now so none of them offer anything in the way of value except maybe the Rogue. The Flex does offer 235/60, but $30,000MSRP is tough to justify, especially when they are charging you for V6 horsepower and an extra row of seats, which have very low marginal cost. Fullsize sedans are overpriced. Truck sales are too strong to really bargain hunt.

    If you want anything other than an economy car, which is still overpriced (barring the Versa), you need to shop in the used market.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    What the heck is with the site? Have to try to log in multiple times. The Recent Comments no longer tells you which article they relate to. Come on!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    XP130 Toyota Yaris.

    $16,520 for the 3-door L model with a 5-speed manual.

    15″ steel rims with hubcabs
    rear drum brakes
    torsion beam suspension
    108 HP 4-banger with middling fuel economy
    Only 2 passenger doors

    The Yaris iA parked right next to it on the showroom floor in a row-your-own configuration is $16,835.

    There is simply no reason for the XP130 Yaris to exist, beyond making rental agencies happy (and those who are handed the keys to one wish for death)

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Agreed. Every time I see a new Yaris, I wonder what could have possibly motivated someone to buy. However, it does pass the tire sidewall test.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I drove a Yaris rental a few months ago. I was surprised by how much I liked it. It is good, functional, LOW-MAINTENANCE transportation appliance that you can buy and drive for the next 10-15 years w/o spending a fortune on repairs.

      What is so wrong with that?

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    Ugh, the first 35+ comments here are just bitching, not listing. FFS.

    My top 5:

    1. Toyota Yaris – as per comments above. 50% higher starting MRSP than the Nissan Micra (here in Canada), yet still a 5 speed stick, no airconditioning, and is even two doors down on the Micra. A terrible base POS.

    2. Hyundai Velostar. $5k more for a barely warmed over Accent. $19k starting in Canada (before taxes) for a Hyundai accent with one less door. Add the 1.6T and it’s life changing, but this is about POS base cars and the Velostar is one.

    3. Jeep Renegade. $22k starting in Canada (before taxes!) for FWD, no ****ing air conditioning. ****ing seriously – no air conditioning. Also awful looking black steelies. If it weren’t for the fun 1.4 turbo and stick combo this would be 2nd or even 1st on the list.

    4. Honda HRV. A hateful car with nothing to recommend it, with a higher base price than the CX-3. The funny thing is, moving away from base doesn’t make it much better – more weight, awd, cvt, all sucks on the ****ty engine even more.

    5. Chevrolet Trax. $20k starting in Canada with no ****ing aircon. Also look at it. Plus the paint quality is awful. Poverty spec LS FWD in white looks 3 years old the moment you drive it off the lot, and worse than a “fleet special”.

    Interesting that 3 of my top 5 are sub-compact SUVs – I’m guessing the carmakers believe they can make people upgrade their ****boxes and push up the average MRSP while not bothering to make a good car – just getting something out to compete.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      THANK YOU.

      Agree
      Picked Veloster as current vehicle with least redeeming qualities for QOTD couple weeks ago.
      Agree
      Less agree, because (see below)
      Agree

      • 0 avatar
        theonlydt

        I see no below :)

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          The below reference was because of the final agree. I think the HRV is better than the Trax. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            theonlydt

            Ah I see :)

            Look, I get it. The HRV objectively is a better car than the Trax. It has aircon on the base model that’s only slightly more expensive. It has paint. It’s got a half decent chance of being reliable. It’s got more space than you’d expect etc etc.

            It’s still a completely soulless, cynical, nasty attempt by an automaker to say “that’s good enough” and throw it out the door with an extra $4k mark-up on it over the Fit. It looks like crap. It’s slow, noisy and bleugh. I know, I know, the Trax is worse, but I have no expectations of Chevrolet, I do of Honda.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m tempted to say Mitsubishi Mirage, but the recent redesign may be better. Or it may not.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    It’s a good thing this is an opinion piece then, dt, as I am forced to disagree with three of your four choices and am neutral about the other two.

    The Renegade is, in base form, intended more as a toy car or, at worst, extremely basic at a very tempting price for those who simply can’t afford a better-equipped car at the price. They may need the size (it is surprisingly roomy) when another brand at the same price might be significantly smaller. Even I’m tempted to go with the stick in a second Renegade except for the fact that my wife doesn’t want to drive stick, and if her own Renegade breaks down, she’d have to drive mine or I’d have to be the one driving her around (which is what I have to do now, anyway.) So what if it’s no air. It wasn’t that long ago that air was purely an extra-cost option and people did just fine without it. Some people have just become too coddled for their own good.

    The Hyundai Veloster is actually an innovative rig in many ways, even if slightly underpowered (by some people’s viewpoints.) I’ve considered it more than once but honestly still need an open bed if I can at all arrange it without taking on a Road Whale™ of a mid- or full-sized pickup. They’re just too big, even as a base.

    As for the Trax… again with the AC complaint… in a country where AC shouldn’t even be necessary for 3/4ths of the year. It’s a decent vehicle at base, even if it isn’t great.

    As for the Yaris and the HRV, after my ownership of a Fiat 500, I will not disparage a vehicle I don’t know just on somebody’s hearsay. That Fiat proved a far better car than I ever expected and will never again dismiss a car based solely on an obsolete reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      Vulpine – I love the Fiat 500. It has character. It’s zippy (as long as you get the stick). It has a short wheelbase and it’s hilarious. The interior is fun. I would gladly drive a 500 if I could fit two adults and two kids in car seats in one (I’m over 6 foot). The 500 is one million times better than an entry level 3door Yaris.

      The Renegade can’t be a cheap play thing when it costs so much to get it properly specced to be fun. The one saving grace is that you can get it with the 1.4 turbo, awd AND stick and that almost meant it didn’t make my list. I have a hard-on for awd stick cars. The problem is, I could get a roomier car with more character, more power, better fuel economy, more equipment, aircon, and all for $4k less than an entry level Renegade. So it still stays on my list I’m afraid.

      If you’ve considered the Velostar – why not just buy the Accent? Drop the seats, or even take them out completely. For a while they were offering the stripper “L” in Canada for $10k before taxes. That’s an ace of base in my opinion. $18k for a less useful Accent isn’t.

      Trax… and aircon… It was 34 on the humidex in Atlantic Canada today. It’s worse inland. Eastern Canada even more so. I drove 4 hours today, will drive 4 hours on Monday. Aircon is pretty much a necessity. I have heaters in my house despite only using them 5 months of the year – why can’t I do the same in my car with aircon? It doesn’t cost much to include, they cut it out to bring the entry price down, then cut it even more to get people through the door KNOWING they’ll stump up $5k extra for the next model up because it has air conditioning.

      BTW, I use my aircon in winter too – you should try it. Takes water out of the air, prevents as much ice from forming on the inside of the windscreen. Also keeps your aircon working better for the summer months.

      As you say, it’s a good thing it’s opinion :) I do disagree with you, but I could almost be persuaded on Renegade because AWD stick.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Vulpine – I love the Fiat 500. It has character. It’s zippy (as long as you get the stick). ”

        — And see? I still have to disagree with you on one point: It’s zippy, even with the 6-speed automatic. I didn’t even need to run in Sport mode to outrun nearly every car on the road at traffic lights… including showoffs in big pickup trucks who thought they could outrun anything.

        But yes, the little car is fun and perfectly adequate for a single or childless couple and still acceptable for up to one child. Might work for two–it has the mountings and enough room for two child seats… but then your carrying ability is massively cut. As long as you can fold at least one seat down, you can handle a decent Costco run for a month’s supplies.

        When it comes to the Renegade, we’re talking base and by no means is the Trailhawk edition ‘base.’ But the base model prices in at around $18K or less, gives you that stick and is still pretty lively with enough room to handle a family of four AND that Costco run, though maybe not a camping run with tent, chairs, food and everything else you need. True, the AWD adds to the price but as a base it’s still not a bad choice. BTW, the 1.4turbo comes ONLY with a stick in the Renegade… unless they changed it for ’17? Last I read it’s stick-only for the 1.4 and auto-only for the 2.4. Build and Price on the Jeep site says that’s still true. What roomier car are you suggesting for $4K less? $18K is hard to beat at that size.

        Why not the Accent? Two too many doors. Four doors don’t imply ‘fun’ in my eyes unless it’s an SUV or wagon-styled (and I don’t mean those bubbles on wheels we typically call CUV). Yes, I know the Renegade is technically a CUV but its design specifically says SUV even if it’s not BoF. The Veloster’s design offers both a sporty look as a two-door from the driver’s side and yet more functionality than a 2-door with the split door on the passenger’s side, making it much easier to access the back seat for passengers or cargo without looking expressly like a four door. The design, to me, is quite logical and less staid than a sedan or 5-door hatch.

        Oh, I’m fully aware of what the AC can do for you, summer and winter but my point is that as a base, if you can’t afford a new car otherwise, then certain sacrifices can be made and still give you a car more reliable than an 11-year-old beater. And honestly, almost nobody ever buys a base model anyway with the probable exception of Mennonites or misers. We’ve become too soft with all our technology and as a result things have become necessary that were once pure luxuries. My first car didn’t have AC, nor, after a while, did my first Ford; I had to have the belt pulled from the AC because the bearing wore out on the idler pulley feeding the compressor because every time that belt ripped, it took out both the other belts. It needed a custom idler arm and nobody wanted to do it on such an old (12-year-old) model and I had neither the time nor the tools to try it myself. I also owned a 1990 pickup that lacked AC because all the hoses dry-rotted and the owner simply pulled the hoses and compressor. Great horsepower with that 5.0 but I admit it was toasty inside unless you opened all three windows (split back window.) Yes, you can survive the heat even at 95° so AC is not really as mandatory as implied. It really depends on what you can afford and if removing the AC makes a new car affordable, then I’m all for it.

        My dad once said, “A car is nothing but transportation.” And while I still disagree with him, most people only see cars the way he did. I look out my window every day and see people with status symbols and people with transportation. The ones with ‘just transportation’ tend to have cars that look like every other one. They have no individuality… no style and as they age they start looking ratty. When it breaks down, you can see their thought processes of, ‘should I fix it or replace it’? If they knew they could avoid repair costs for 3, 5 or in some cases 10 years and get a brand-new car for lower payments than a questionable used car, what do you think they would choose?

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