Ace of Base

Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Frontier King Cab 4×2 S

This still-an-actual-midsizer from Nissan has been profiled more than once during the Ace of Base series, managing to pull off wins thanks to a fix-it-with-a-hammer powertrain and rock-bottom price tag.

Things are different for 2020. Despite wearing last year’s clothes (to be truthful, those clothes are over a decade old), the Frontier has a new power team under its hood. Accompanying this is, of course, a higher price tag. Can this combination of old school looks and new school guts still peg the Ace of Base meter?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Avalon XLE

There’s comfort in a big sedan, both literally and figuratively. The familiarity of a stretch-em-out interior and ability to chew up the miles like candy is like a rejuvenate tonic for those of us who enjoy large cars. Sure, hot hatches are a great bit of fun, but full-size whips are like shaking hands with an old friend.

The Toyota Avalon has been around for longer than you may think, showing up at the Chicago Auto Show in 1994 before going on sale later that same year as a 1995 model. Twenty-five years later, the model remains atop the Big T’s range of cars — and now includes a gonzo TRD version, for some reason. What does the entry-level trim bring? Let’s find out.

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Ace of Base: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer L

Let’s be clear: sometimes an Ace of Base post is written purely to help shoppers of a particular make and model determine if the entry level option is worth considering. We are quite certain there are plenty of readers who will deride today’s entry simply because they don’t like the vehicle or its name. That’s fine; not everyone is a big fan of the compact crossover segment.

But they do sell, otherwise manufacturers wouldn’t be building the things. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about how OEMs sometimes wag the dog in terms of market demand but, for now, let’s see if the new-for-’21 Chevrolet Trailblazer is worth considering at its cheapest price point.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Holden Commodore Liftback LT

It will not have escaped your notice that The General has deep-sixed the Holden brand in Australia. To the gearhead Aussies within your author’s circle of friends, this amounts to a treasonous action, especially since Holden is as much part of the Oz fabric as kangaroos and Crocodile Dundee. I’m sure it all makes business sense; matters of the heart are rarely cheap on the wallet.

The binning of a brand usually means one thing: deals. This is situation is no different, so let’s see what equipment one finds in a base model Commodore.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Yaris L

It’s been a minute since the fish-mouthed Yaris sedan has been seen in the Ace of Base arena. Closely related to the not-for-us Mazda 2, the littlest Toyota does its best to quash the bad old days of entry-level econoboxes.

Just make sure to park the thing front-in at every parking space, please.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Mazda CX-30

At first blush, the confusingly-named 2020 Mazda CX-30 might seem to be simply a CX-3 appended with an errant naught. They do, after all, appear similar now that Mazda has adopted Audi’s different-lengths-of-sausage styling credo. Fortunately for us, the look is a good one.

About 4 inches of length, 40 horses of power, and about 400 pounds of weight separate the CX-30 from the CX-3 (makes it easy to remember, eh? Maybe they shoulda called this the CX-4). As always, the Ace of Base meter is primarily concerned with the entry level model, simply called the “CX-30.”

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Ace of Base: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

Last night, General Motors showed off the new iteration of its Cadillac Escalade. Before that, the 2021 GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe appeared in separate events, as if parents were throwing two birthday parties for warring twin boys. You know which brand we’re choosing for Ace of Base duty.

And before you get yer knickers in a knot, I know that’s not a base Tahoe in the hero image — it’s an RST. Absent of an actual build and price tool, we’re working with what we have on the media site. Hey, we’re tryin’ to get you the most up-to-date information about base model vehicles! Qwityerbishen.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Mazda CX-30

There are many things difficult to fathom in the automotive industry, with the story of Carlos Ghosn exiting Japan in a musical instrument case being but one of them. Another is Mazda’s seemingly perpetual streak of diminutive (compared to other brands) sales numbers. When someone asks your author for a recommendation, be it compact car or crossover, the zoom-zoom brand is invariably on the list. They’ve also been enjoying success in endurance racing, taking a podium at this year’s Daytona soirée. Go figure.

But I digress. The mystifyingly named CX-30, apparently picking up an errant “0” on its way to America, is fresh off the boat for 2020. Does it stack up in terms of feature content like other offerings in the showroom?

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Ace of Base: 2021 Kia Seltos LX

Kia is no stranger to the Ace of Base series, given its propensity to stuff its cars and SUVs to the gunwales with features generally found on cars one octave higher in price. What is a stranger to the AoB pages is the 2021 model year. Welcome to the future, folks (there are still no hoverboards).

While the little Seltos hasn’t yet been added to Kia’s build-n-price tool, the media site has more than enough collateral with which to determine the base car’s level of kit. Does it continue Kia’s value-added ways? Will it be another hit for Kia? Is it colder than the surface of Hoth outside your author’s home? The TTAC Magic 8 Ball says “signs point to yes” for all of these questions.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Ford F-250 XL

Occasionally, the Ace of Base award will be trotted out not because a particular vehicle is the most desirable in its range, but because of the remarkable amount of kit or capability it offers for its entry level price. The truck you see before you definitely falls into the latter category.

Consider this: a base model F-250 serves up a 385 horsepower V8, 78.5 cubic feet of space in its 8-foot cargo box, and the ability to tow up to 13,300 pounds — all for less than the price of a loaded Camry.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Chevrolet Impala LT

You jokers should know by now that this author is an unapologetic truck guy. When something new in the segment is introduced, it is studied by these jaundiced eyes until all the details are absorbed. My browser history is a mash of truck configurators and off-road websites. Plus a few recipes for southern barbecue.

That sound you heard yesterday was your author crashing over furniture to get a good look at the new 2021 Tahoe and Suburban. Growing up in a 1978 Blazer, these rigs and their ilk have an unreasonable hold on my heartstrings. While pricing wasn’t announced, it definitely put this Truck Guy in a Chevy state of mind.

For the 2020 model year, let’s see what the soon-to-vanish Impala has to offer the Ace of Base shopper.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Venue SE

Unless you’ve been living under an especially virulent rock, it’ll not have escaped your notice that most manufacturers are building crossovers and mini-utes (apologies to our readers in Oz for the loose usage of “ute”) to either replace or supplement the cars at the entry-level end of their lineup. After all, customers have to start somewhere, and if an affordable rig exists for young or first time buyers, the company stands a better chance of selling that customer their second car. And third. And so forth.

Priced at $17,250, the entry level Hyundai Venue SE definitely fits the bill. Known for packing its cars to the gunwales with standard features not generally found at instant ramen price levels, has Hyundai taken the same approach with this Venue?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Altima S

The modern sedan is, sadly, a slowly dying breed. With most of Detroit exiting the segment faster than that black cat ran off the field at MetLife Stadium, the selection of large four-doors is smaller than ever (if you haven’t heard Kevin Harlan’s call while said cat was on the field, you *must* take the time to listen).

However, the manufacturers that remain committed to sedans are plowing plenty of development dollars into their creation. When the build & price for the wild new Hyundai Sonata becomes available, you know it’ll be featured in this series, for example.

Nissan has decided to re-up its spacious Altima for 2020, offering American customers a variety of powertrain and trim options. In fact, no fewer than a dozen choices stare shoppers in the face when they visit the Altima corner of Nissan’s website. Let’s see what the base S has to offer.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage

It has come to our attention that there has been a dearth of Mitsubishi products in this Ace of Base series. Seeing what’s on offer at the instant noodle end of a particular price spectrum can be entertaining, so there’s little reason for us to have ignored one of the least-expensive new cars on sale in America today.

Poking fun at an entry-level car is low hanging fruit, one that’s been picked clean by many corners of the internet. Ignoring that dross, what exactly does Mitsubishi offer in an entry-level Mirage? The answer: more than I expected.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Volvo V60 Momentum

It’s not difficult to spend forty large on a new car in America these days. Heck, the average transaction price across this country is knocking on that amount, suggesting that nearly half of buyers are signing a note for that amount or more.

Thing is, it needn’t be spent on a milquetoast minivan or cringeworthy crossover. There are more creative options out there in which to haul the family and life’s detritus to the hockey rink and soccer pitch.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Nissan Sentra S

It has come to your author’s attention that this series has not paid one iota of consideration to the Nissan Sentra. Plenty of other cars from the Yokohama-based brand have passed through these cheap seats, but not the Sentra. Let’s correct that oversight right now.

While other brands are scuttling away from small sedans like cockroaches scattering when the lights are turned on, Nissan soldiers on with the segment. This compact car competes with Civic and Corollas but, unlike those models, no hatchback variant is offered here.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Dodge Durango SXT

Let it be known that, in calendar year 2019, one is able to buy a large purple rear-drive SUV with near-as-makes-no-difference 300 horsepower for about the same starting price as a Camry Hybrid. It shares showroom space and DNA with psychotic coupes bearing 800 horsepower and, in a fit of brilliant marketing, is the recipient of Power Dollars.

Anyone who says the golden age of automobiles is any time other than right friggin’ now needs to have their head examined.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Palisade SE

It will surprise exactly no one to find a Hyundai on deck for this week’s Ace of Base; after all, value for money is this brand’s modus operandi. The new Palisade isn’t the brand’s first crack at the three-row crossover segment but, also unsurprisingly, it is certainly its best effort.

Fresh for 2020, this machine has space for all hands and an enormous grille that’s sure to menace its way through the pick-up lane at school. Is it packed with features at a reasonable price? You bet it is.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Subaru Legacy

Subaru has been on something of a tear lately, cashing in on the crossover craze and ringing up ledgers full of sales. In fact, as of July this year, the company can boast of 92 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. That month was also the second best in Subaru history, just 435 units off its best month ever, recorded in December of last year.

For 2020, the Exploding Galaxy has paid attention to its Legacy sedan, imbuing it with fresh styling and all manner of safety features. Despite these advances, this big car still bears a base price of just $22,745. And, yes, all-wheel drive is standard.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 1LT

You knew this Ace of Base would happen eventually. Ever since the dawn of time (or the moment Don Sherman started working at Car and Driver, whichever came first), speculation had been rife of an impending mid-engined Corvette. The shoe finally dropped last month, with the debut of Chevy’s eighth-gen Vette.

One huge detail? Its starting price of $59,995. For less than sixty grand, one will soon be able to plug themselves into the driver’s seat of America’s hot rod. What’s included (and not included?) in the base 1LT?

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Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Fiesta ST

It’s August 2019 and your author is pouring one out for little Blue Oval hatchbacks with mouths to match their trousers. Soon to depart from our shores (North American-market production has already ceased), the Focus and Fiesta represented bite-sized bits of fun that weren’t overly expensive and looked a bit derivative. Alas. At least we still have Honda, and it must be noted that Hyundai is stepping up its game in this segment.

For now, one can configure a 2019 Fiesta ST even if it is getting difficult to find them on dealer lots. Today’s post assumes the ST trim is a base car, insofar as we will be adding $0 in options to the sticker price.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Versa S

Our weekly sojourn into the nation’s vehicular bargain bin sometime takes a turn towards the extreme (you know we’ll be featuring the 2020 Corvette soon enough) but, every now and then, your author comes to his senses and remembers what this post is supposed to be all about.

It’s supposed to be about cheap cars like the one you see before you, of course. For the new model year, Nissan has re-upped on its smallest sedan at a time when other manufacturers are running away from such machinery en masse. A base model still exists of course, so let’s find out what this brand is offering those who choose to sit in the cheap seats.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Chevy Impala LT

Large sedans have been and always will be a favourite around these parts. For those who are new to the audience, simply search for the ‘ Panther Love’ tag to see what I’m on about. I’m still recovering from my Lincoln Stockholm Syndrome, by the way.

This full-sized Chevy has so far been resistant to the Ace of Base award, given that it was offered with a miserable 2.5L EcoTec as its base engine. Now, with the model seemingly about to be broomed, the four banger is gone for the 2020 model year, leaving the venerable 3.6L V6 as the entry-level mill.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Sonic LS Sedan

Our always (sometimes) reliable Ace of Base meter loves a good econocar, one that deigns to a low monthly payment but still doles out features like a benevolent reverend doles out candy at Easter. The diminutive Sonic has never been featured in this series, primarily due to the presence of its little brother — the Chevy Spark.

American auto-buyers seem to have shunned the Sonic as well, with the current model set to sail off into the twilight after this model year. Compared to the popular and evergreen Hyundai Accent sedan, can it secure an Ace of Base parting gift?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Chrysler Voyager

Digging up names from the past is a popular hobby at most car makers, to the point that a few of them would be well served to hire their own archaeologists to smooth out the process. Some are wantonly ditched prematurely in the pursuit of alphanumerics (*ahem* Legend, Vigor *ahem*) while others are relegated to the dustbin of history after being appended to a particularly horrid car.

Others simply slip away into the night like a silent bandit after the shuttering of its brand. Voyager is one of these, with FCA deciding to trot it out again and apply it to entry-level versions of the Pacifica (which, by itself, is a recycled name).

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Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Rio S 5-Door

When exactly did it come to pass that hatchback versions of small cars were generally priced higher than their sedan counterparts? It’s not true in every example but, more often than not, one will shell out a few more simoleons for a five-door. I’ll posit that the original Ford Focus started this trend.

At least customers get a more practical car and, in many cases, a more stylish one.

Such is the case with Kia’s littlest family member. Its five-door variant is priced just ever so slightly above its two-box brother. The Korean automaker has a trophy case packed with Ace of Base awards, largely thanks to its strong value for money proposition. Let’s check this one out.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Lincoln Aviator Standard

Today’s post is not meant to convince you that any particular crossover ranks super high on my personal Top Forty. Indeed, I would prefer if the Lincoln Motor Company was still cranking out Town Cars and Versailles (ok, maybe not the Versailles) than a myriad of tall wagons. However, market conditions rule the roost and here we are.

Longtime readers (thanks, both of you) know my unreasonable Stockholm Syndrome relationship with the Lincoln brand. This helps explain today’s choice, but you know what also helps its selection? That’s right — this platform’s return to rear-drive architecture.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SE

In all the years we’ve been presenting this series, Ace of Base has never focused on what was Hyundai’s first stepping stone into the world of crossovers and SUVs: the Santa Fe. Let’s correct that oversight with this new-for-2019 model.

To be clear, this is the two-row model, not the three-row which currently has an “XL” suffix appended to its name. That machine will vanish when the new Palisade appears later this year. Whatever it’s called, Hyundai sells a lot of ‘em; there must be a reason for that, right?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Soul LX

With each iteration, Kia has been refining its shaped-like-a-toaster rig, sharpening its styling and broadening its appeal. What some dismissed as a too-weird little box at it introduction has found plenty of traction and is now in its third generation.

A dozen years removed from its debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the new Soul remains an affordable proposition for those who don’t want to resign themselves to the low seating position of a small sedan. And, yes, three pedals are still available for 2020.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Yes, the ZR2 is far from a base truck. But based on a suggestion from the peanut gallery (*waves at PrincipalDan*) we thought it would be a good idea to see if a “base” off-roader is a healthier bet than upgrading to the full meal deal.

In fact, calling the ZR2 a base truck – with its DSSV dampers and other gonzo off-road kit – seems like heresy to your author. Jumping a Colorado ZR2 at 40 mph over an obstacle on a trophy truck track proves just how capable the thing is.

(How’s that Ranger Raptor coming, Ford? Oh, it isn’t? I see. Thanks for the mobility scooter, then.)

Chevy has, however, added another layer onto the ZR2 cake. Called the Bison, is its extra gear worth the cash? Or are gearheads better off with a “base” ZR2 and spending the money on mods of their own? Let’s see.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan

Our man Corey took the wheel of Mazda’s new compact car last week, flinging the little four-door up and down Californian roads, at least during the times when he was not answering pointed questions from stern Park Rangers.

The base 3 has always had a spot in the Ace of Base trophy room, managing to combine sleek looks with a dose of non-somnambulant handling. Freshly refurbished for 2019, this new model appears to do the same, but has the base model sacrificed any content at the hands of flinty-eyed Mazda accountants?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Telluride LX

Korean automakers have a history of labelling their crossovers and SUVs with names ripped from rugged-sounding towns of the American mid- and southwest. Witness the Santa Fe and Tucson. The newest entrant? Telluride. Even the little-known Borrego Pass got a nod during the five minutes in which Kia built a body-on-frame brute.

Until now, the most we’ve seen of the new Kia Telluride was that oddball New York fashion week thing, replete with a not-from-factory rear spare tire carrier and leather hood straps. Now that the build and price site’s gone live, we can see the model without all that froufrou. You know we’re most interested in the base LX model…

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Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Corolla L

Yes, yes. It’s a Corolla. I’ve cursed them in traffic, you’ve done the same, and more than a few of them are purchased by a segment of the driving public who view the car as an appliance.

The little sedan from Toyota didn’t become a success for no reason; they’re scattered around this country like litter after a ticker-tape parade, after all. Can the new-for-2020 base model pull the pursestrings of this flinty-eyed author? Or is the frugal shopper better off spending $450 and upgrading to the LE trim?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Supra

This one is sure to set tongues wagging and keyboards clacking. The return of the mighty Supra nameplate is — depending to whom you speak — either an abomination the likes of which the motoring world has never seen, or a wonderful harbinger of all things fun and sporty.

For the record, your author is in the latter camp. Don’t @ me.

Three trims of the are new Supra available at launch: Base 3.0, Premium 3.0, and a Launch Edition. Is the entry-level model worth a mention? Or should one proceed directly to one of the more expensive options?

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Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Ranger XL

Last summer, fans of mid-sized pickup trucks got a quick look behind the virtual curtain when the build-and-price tool for the new Ford Ranger leaked to the internet like a screen door on a submarine. Spox at the Blue Oval rapidly shouted #FakeNews, but the base price of $24,300 proved accurate.

At the time, we did an Ace of Base using the quickly-hauled-down pricing tool. Six months on, has anything changed? Are our readers still interested in a base Ranger priced $3,000 north of a base Colorado? Did NFL referees blow that call this weekend?

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Ace of Base: 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Our man Steph Willems chronicled the state of the station wagon in America a couple of days ago, reporting that longroofs (longrooves?) amounted to less than 2 percent of the new vehicle market in 2018 despite a 29 percent sales increase compared to five years earlier.

VW Group is doing its part, offering both the pricey A4 Allroad and the bargain Golf SportWagen shown here. The latter is a case of getting more for less, as the wagon is priced $160 less than its hatchback fraternal brother, despite having more horsepower and more cabin room.

And, oh yeah, it’s still available with a manual transmission.

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Ace of Base: 2019 BMW 330i XDrive Sports Wagon

Despite what some other websites will tell you, it is indeed possible to waltz into a BMW dealership and drive away with a new 3-Series wagon for the 2019 model year … so long as you don’t mind it being the outgoing bodystyle.

Hey, last year’s fashions are sometimes the best deal, right?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

You knew this one was coming.

The unveiling of Jeep’s first truck in nigh thirty years was a widely anticipated event at the L.A. Auto Show, with our man on the ground reporting at the time that neither man nor beast could get handy to the media area. Gaining admission during the reveal was only slightly less difficult than beating Reid Bigland at arm wrestling.

While we’re still sans pricing, we do know the level of kit bestowed on each trim of Gladiator, including – wait for it! – the base model.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Sonata SE

Over the years, the Hyundai Sonata has gone through more changes than the White House duty roster. Technically, there have been seven generations of the sedan, six of which have been sold on our shores. Even during those generations, frequent and extensive styling tweaks have been the norm. Hyundai takes the mid-cycle refresh very seriously. Click through to see what I mean.

For 2019, a year in which most shoppers rush past sedans to look at tall crossovers, the Sonata remains on the High Value list. They’re probably getting ready to introduce fresh styling as we speak.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Nissan Frontier King Cab S 4×2

The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to household plumbing, your kid’s Lego creations, and the squeaking ventilation fan in my Dodge Charger. It also applies to the Nissan Frontier pickup, apparently.

Seriously. Even though this thing is almost old enough to vote, Nissan is selling them by the boatload.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Niro FE

The South Korean automaker has no qualms about upending the status quo – witness the Stinger GT. Kia’s Niro hybrid might not look radical, but it’s a fuel-efficient dart hurled directly at the almighty Toyota Prius. Not everyone wants to loudly advertise their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, after all.

Fe might stand for iron on the periodic table, but can this FE iron out some traditional hybrid wrinkles? Let’s find out.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Subaru Forester

Until this model year, the Subaru Forester was a homely-looking beast, eminently practical but always looking like that kid in grade school whose slacks were too short. With its narrow body and tip-toe stance, the old Forester had the appearance of its pants cuffs stopping well above its ankles.

Subaru has fixed this for 2019, creating a crossover that doesn’t appear as if it’s about to get stuffed into a locker. The price has been kept at bay, too.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Elantra SE

The Korean car maker has long since shed its also-ran status, enjoying sales success and the ability to grab a steadily growing portion of the market share pie.

Unlike a few others who shall not be named, Hyundai believes there are still customers out there who want to buy a well-equipped compact sedan with a price tag under $18,000. It believes this so fervently, in fact, that it refurbished the Elantra for the 2019 model year.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

“No one wants small cars!” is the battle cry from a couple of American OEMs, primarily the one with a blue oval for its logo and a person sitting at the head table whose surname is on the building.

Toyota would like to have a word about that. Actually, so would Hyundai and a few other carmakers who seem to be doing just fine cranking out gee-whiz examples of small cars.

Like this Corolla Hatchback, for instance.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Forte FE

Yes, yes, yes. This marks the second week in a row for the same manufacturer, almost as long a stretch as Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone without scaling the wall of a UFC cage.

The little Forte sedan (remember those? Ford doesn’t) ups its game in 2019 with a refreshed sense of style and a bucket full of new equipment. This is most definitely our first Ace of Base that includes dual-zone climate control as standard equipment.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Stinger 2.0L

This is an interesting one. The Stinger is new territory for Kia, venturing into the sporty sedan marketplace generally inhabited by ze Germans and perhaps a few other fringe players. Certainly, in a world where the general public thirsts for crossovers and SUVs, it’ll never be the brand’s top seller.

Hasn’t stopped them from trying, though, and for this I applaud their efforts. Kia decided to give Stinger shoppers a choice of engines, allowing the base model to plunge into the low-$30,000 range. Is it worth a look? Or should one simply upgrade to the tasty 3.3-liter twin-turbo?

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Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 W/T

These twelve calendar months of 2018 could be called the Year of the Truck, given the number of new models we’ve seen from major players. Even those that aren’t majorly reworked have gotten some measure of refreshment either in the form of a newly rated top engine (Ford) or snazzy color-keyed trim (Toyota).

We visited the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck much earlier this year but, at the time, there were few details in terms of powertrain or price. Those areas have since been addressed by The General, leading me to the question: does the least-expensive Chevy full-size retain its spot on our Ace of Base list?

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Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0

Someone once uttered several unkind words about the name “Veloster,” claiming it to be one of the most convoluted and forced names to grace a car since the Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal.

I’m not sure I agree. After all, at least it is an actual name and not something plucked from an upset bowl of Alphagetti. The 2nd-generation Veloster bowed for the 2019 model year and, given Hyundai’s M.O. of high content and low price, we figured it’d be wise to inspect one for this week’s Ace of Base trial.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Accent SE

For some, dirt cheap wheels are all that’s required. Nothin’ fancy; nothin’ extra. Four tires and a steering wheel are the main requirements of these shoppers. Oh, and a warranty for worry-free driving. Anything further is just gravy. This outlook accurately describes about half of the Quebec market, by the way. Especially the gravy. Poutine is delicious.

Enter the Hyundai Accent. This entry-level Korean sedan has been finding its way into the hands of new drivers and frugal shoppers for 25 years now. As it turns out, even the base model of one of the cheapest new cars in America is laden with standard equipment.

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Ace of Base, Euro Edition: 2019 Audi A1 Sportback

There’s plenty of tasty European machinery available to customers on that side of the pond that isn’t currently (or was not) available in these parts. VW Scirocco R, Audi RS6 Avant, Citroën DS3 Racing … if you’ll excuse me, I need to lie down.

Not all the forbidden fruit is worth plucking off the tree, though. Think you’d ever see a modern Audi in this day and age with a plastic block-off plate where the radio is supposed to be? Well, you have now.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Fusion S

When the current-generation Fusion appeared for 2013, its Aston Martin styling was a cold glass of water in the face of milquetoast midsized family sedans. Part of Alan Mulally’s “One Ford” plan, the stylish car added zest to a bland segment.

Now, with recently minted CEO Jim Hackett having decreed the Mustang to be Ford’s only car worth keeping, the Fusion has been left to weather crushing competition from competitors that have undergone significant renewals – twice, in some cases.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Nissan Versa Sedan S

Look, there are people who buy cars simply for transportation purposes. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, especially for folks like you and I who are of the opinion that a bright-green Dodge Demon is just the ticket for a daily office commute.

Small, largely style-free sedans have been the mainstay of the affordable end of the market for decades. Despite the wholesale abandonment of that segment by certain automakers, there are still plenty of players in the game. Call ‘em the Econ Majors.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Hyundai Elantra SE

Surprises are rare in the car world, given that most companies leak like a screen door on a submarine (or endlessly tease a new model *ahem, Challenger, ahem*), but it occasionally does happen. Last night in Park City, Utah, Hyundai took the wraps off a mid-cycle refresh for its Elantra, an event that was unexpected by all hands.

The 2019 model’s styling will surely be commented upon by a news author here on the site later today. Until then, it is worth revisiting the current model in an effort to understand how it continues to hoover up sales to the tune of about 200,000 cars annually.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4×2 Double Cab Long Box

The truck you see above has a measured length nearly as long as its full name. Its overall length? A hair under 250 inches. In fact, its wheelbase is eight inches longer than an entire Nissan Micra.

Heavy Chevys have been around seemingly since the dawn of Detroit, alternating between hard work and getting shined up for a night at the Tastee Freeze. Of late, GM (and other companies) have ladeled on the chrome in an never-ending quest to quench the thirst of luxury truck buyers. And, oh yeah — profits, too.

What about at the other end of the scale? Surely there’s room for a no-options two-wheel drive Silverado HD on the worksite. As it turns out, the thing is endowed with a lot more kit for a lot less cheddar than even your flinty-eyed author expected.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Ranger XL

Ford has been touting the upcoming Ranger since the Detroit Auto Show last January. Promising a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four and a 10-speed automatic, model and trim specifics about the mid-sizer from Dearborn have been scarce. Until yesterday.

Given that peek behind the Blue Oval curtain, you know today’s Ace of Base selection was easy.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

Yes, you’re right – the Raptor is as far from a base truck as The Onion is from real news. However, there’s an argument to be made that the Raptor is as much of an individual model as the Focus RS is a model separate from the workaday hatchback. That is the argument I am making here today.

Raptor pickups can quickly climb into pricing’s nosebleed section, stretching bank accounts of off-road fans and vacuuming their wallets clean. Is a no-options Raptor worth their time? Given that the majority of add-ons augment the truck’s performance not one whit, I think it is.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Mahindra ROXOR Classic

The machine you see before you isn’t a Jeep CJ from the ‘70s. Nor is it a Jeep CJ from the ‘80s. Despite its familiar shape, googly round eyes, and a front bumper sticking out like a spoilt child’s bottom lip, not one cent of the cash outlaid by customer will line FCA’s coffers.

It’s the Mahindra ROXOR – an off-roader from an Indian company, built in America, the Willys way. Got that?

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Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Soul Base

Annual sales of this upright little Kia regularly crest 100,000 units, despite casting roughly the same shadow since its introduction 10 model years ago — though it did grow slightly in wheelbase and width during its 2014 restyle.

Its early marketing efforts, featuring life-sized animated hamsters that frequently haunt my dreams, were actually inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame. The people who decide such things deemed the hamsters such a hit they now reside along the Aflac Duck and Tony the Tiger as advertising superstars. Hmm.

With robust sales, the Soul is doing anything but spinning on a stationary hamster wheel, particularly in base trim.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Toyota 86

You bunch of ungrateful whelps. “Give us affordable rear-drive performance!” cried all hands, weeping at the thought of departed rear-drive funbags such as the MR2 and Corolla GT-S. Toyota, ever the dutiful servant, shacked up with Subaru to create the chuckable 2,700 lb sprite you see above.

And how’d you repay ‘em? By waiting for the things to show up on BHPH lots, that’s how! Ingrates. This is the car everyone wanted and then promptly forgot, as illustrated by the fact it is outsold more than 2:1 by the antiquated Sequoia.

My rage is manufactured and over the top, of course, as everyone’s seems to be these days. Still, the 86 is a great car, especially in base trim.

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Ace of Base: 1994 Chevrolet Blazer

GM churned out examples of the full-size, two-door Blazer well into the ‘90s, before relegating the nameplate to its littler brother. Traditionalists frothed at the time, just as we are now after viewing the 2019 Blazer. And the circle continues.

For ’94, Chevy offered the Blazer in a couple of different flavors. You know my pick, of course – base 5.7-liter V8 engine, 4WD, and a big ol’ baseball bat of a manual shifter sticking out of the floor.

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  • Kcflyer This is a joke right? Kevin James invented this in a movie years ago. As I recall queen latifa loved it. The movie was called "The Dilemma". It was even a dodge. Life imitates art indeed.
  • RHD This is the modern equivalent of the Horsey Horseless. (If you don't know what that was, look it up!)
  • Loser What’s next, simulation of the “Hemi tick”?
  • Ajla There's a melancholy to me about an EV with external speaker-generated "engine" noise and fake transmissions. It feels like an admission from the manufacturer that you're giving something up and they are trying to give back some facsimile of it. Like giving a cupcake scented candle to someone on a diet. If I was shopping for an EV I'd rather go to a company enthusiastic about it rather than apologetic.
  • EBFlex More proof of how much EVs suck. If you have to do this, that means you are trying to substitute what people want...and that's ICE.