Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Cruze L

For years, this place has been saddled with accusations of an anti-GM bias, yet a quick headcount of current contributors who have a product from The General in their driveway reveal more of our own dollars being willingly spent on a Chevy or GMC than most may think – including your author, who just traded away his 2010 Ram for a 2018 Sierra. More on that in another post.

The car shown here occupies a segment of the market where margins are razor thin and profits are cut to the bone. FCA has bailed and Ford is following suit, leaving Chevy to soldier on as the lone Detroiter peddling a Civrollantra alternative.

Spoiler alert: it’s not a penalty box.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Dodge Durango SXT 4×2

In Monday’s QOTD (which garnered more comments than any other post in recent memory – for this, we thank you) I opined that a base Durango would be my selection given a sudden bank error of $34,000 in my favor and a command to buy something that’ll last me the next 10 years. I also enjoyed some of your selections, by the way.

Digging into the Durango’s build-and-price tool, I found more to like than expected. No, it’s not the best of its range (that honor is reserved for the gonzo 475 hp SRT version) but it certainly makes a case for itself compared to non-‘roided out Durango SUVs.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Jeep Renegade Sport 4×2

Yes, I know. You’re all yelling at me for displaying the machine shown above in that obnoxious shade of Nuclear Green (it’s actually Hypergreen, according to Jeep). However, the color’s very availability is what cemented today’s post after finding the bargain-basement Nissan Kicks is only available on the greyscale.

This irritates me to no end. I totally get why certain carmakers reserve eye-popping hues for higher-spec trims: transaction prices, profits, and the Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #10. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Subaru Ascent

Given my review of this machine earlier this week, today’s selection shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Not only is it fresh in my increasingly cluttered brain, but I truly do believe the base Ascent represents a good value for money.

So long as you don’t want to tow anything, that is.

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Ace of Base - Used Cop Cars

Government surplus is a weird thing. Sometimes, the vehicles churned out of the federal machine are used up like old newspapers. Others have few (we’ve seen as low as 18) miles on their odometers. Pretending to even fathom the purchasing process is an exercise in futility.

But the Ace of Base shopper cares not one whit, as he or she is simply after one thing: the deal. Cop cars are, by nature, sparsely equipped versions of civilian units.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

This post is not to insinuate the base trim Corvette is the best of its range. It isn’t. In a family that includes a 650 hp supercharged sibling and an even more bonkers 755 hp bewinged brother, a naturally-aspirated coupe making 455 horses suddenly starts to look like the litter’s runt. What a time to be a gearhead.

No, this post is meant to ascertain just how good the $55,495 entry-level Stingray stands on its own merits. It’s often said the Corvette is one of the best American performance bargains on the market. Can a no-frills example nudge the Ace of Base meter? Let’s find out.

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Ace of Base: Ford Sedans

You’re getting a four-for-one today, folks. With the Glass House deep-sixing all of its sedans, we figured it’d be an apropos time to inspect the cheapest of the lot bound for death row.

Picking on them in order of size sounds like a plan: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. Ready, Blue Oval fans? Let’s go!

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Ace of Base: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta S

Our man Healey sampled the latest Jetta not long ago, finding it to be a conservative box that has left most of the sporty spunk to its Golf cousin. VW’s MQB platform knows no bounds.

Of the five trims available, the base S has potential to sit at the Ace of Base table. After all, no matter how much ones spends on a 2019 Jetta, one will – right now, at least – find the same engine under its hood. The only trim on which a stick shift appears? The base S. Achtung!

Let’s find out what else is on board.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Spark LS Manual

Question for ya. When does it become imperative that one must have a new car? The 2018 Chevy Spark shown here stickers for a mere $13,050 before incentives (and, yes, there are incentives, even at the Ace of Base end of the market.) Thirteen large can buy a heckuva used car, after all.

I’ll tell you when it becomes imperative: the minute a full warranty becomes more important than being thrifty. Whatever the reason, there’s intangible value in having a reliable commuter car or sending a family member into the big bad world in a car that won’t leave them stranded with an unexpected repair bill. As much as some of us would like to, it’s not always realistic to drive $1,000 Malaise-era clunkers.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Hyundai Kona

Earlier this year, Hyundai mixed up the nomenclature of its largest crossover. The three-row Santa Fe XL takes the place of the old three-row Santa Fe, with that name migrating to the smaller machine (which is only available as a two-row unit unless you opt for the diesel, in which case it’s a three-row, but not an XL). Understand?

No, me either. What I do know is the littlest crossover in Hyundai dealerships is no longer the Tucson. Enter the Kona, a pint-sized ute ready to take on competitors like the CX-3 and HR-V. The Korean automaker usually runs long on features and short on price, so let’s find out what its newest nameplate offers in the sub-$20,000 range.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Volvo XC40

When the majority of the buying public thinks of Volvo, three things generally come to mind: safety, boxy wagons, and professors in tweed sport coats with those weird elbow patches. This is understandable, given that the company made hay selling safe and boxy wagons to professors in tweed sport coats with weird elbow patches.

Volvo has long since de-weirded itself but still marches to a slightly different Swedish beat. It’s currently under the stewardship of a Chinese company that gives the brand enough leash to generally do its own thing. Starting at $35,200, the automaker’s least-expensive car, the XC40, should help bring new buyers to the brand. Let’s see how it stacks up in base form.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Classica

Many corners of the internet expected the roadster shown here to show up as an Alfa Romeo Spider, not a Fiat 124 Spider, when rumours surfaced all those years ago about the MX-5 donning a natty Italian suit. Perhaps Fiat Chrysler made its decision at the time based on Fiat’s larger dealer network or some sort of answer provided by Sergio’s Magic 8 Ball.

Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where a brace of affordable and fun two-place roadsters are on offer. While the fraternal twins share a great deal, their clothes are different, as are their hearts. We’ve already deemed the base Mazda MX-5 to be worthy of AoB mention; can its Italian brother turn the same trick?

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Ace of Base: 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI S

Ages ago, the GTI was a trim level of the Golf, bringing the heat to a funky little hatchback and virtually creating a segment. Now, there are actually three different flavors of GTI: S, SE, and Autobahn.

Given the vast gulf in price of the three, and my love for affordable yet fun wheels, your humble author naturally thinks the base model leads the way.

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Ace of Base: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude

When the last Cherokee showed up in 2014, its front fascia was comprised of an alarming set of headlights set deep into a scowling bumper, paired with toenail-clipping DRLs at the leading edge of its hood. It was distinctive, to be kind.

This year at Detroit, a refreshed Cherokee took the FCA stage, sporting a handsome new mug that apes the corporate face. With detailed pricing recently released, there’s no better time to see if Jeep’s trucklet can pass the Ace of Base test.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Ford Expedition

Fifty thousand dollars is not exactly what springs to mind when one mentions the words “base model vehicle.” In fact, it’s likely to be precisely the opposite.

Thing is, this series isn’t solely about el-cheapo wheels. Sometimes, it’s about those rare occasions when an entry level trim for a particular model is the best one of the range. This is one of those times.

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Ace of Base - 2017.5 Mazda 6 Sport
I’ll be the first to freely admit that I am completely befuddled when an automaker officially markets a car as a “.5” model year. Barring a vehicle receiving notable updates six months before a complete overhaul, I profess to not seeing the point of half a model year. In this case, a new turbocharged engine is on tap for 2018, hence this car’s odd relationship with the calendar.We’ll round this one up, then. The Mazda 6 sedan is an attractive car, offering a decidedly non-wallowy driving experience and – ye gods! – a manual transmission. It doesn’t hurt that one of our scribes just paid his own hard earned money for one. We’ll let you guess who in the comments.
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Ace of Base Redux: 1990 Honda Accord DX Coupe

In 1990, the Nintendo Game Boy was flying off store shelves, neon clothes was very much in vogue, and President Bush was busy denouncing broccoli. And — oh, yeah — Honda rolled out a new Accord for the 1990 model year.

With a strong visual presence giving it a refined and contemporary look, the Accord Coupe made the best of its expansive greenhouse and flush-fitting glass. Before you protest, I know the above Accord is not a DX … but the one after the jump is. I think it’s fabulous and I know you do, too.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Hyundai Elantra SE

This Korean automaker has been known since the dawn of time as a purveyor of value-packed cars, making a name for itself by offering machines comparable in price to its competition but stuffed to the gunwales with features for which The Other Guy charged extra.

Hyundai introduced the Elantra nameplate about 20 years ago and has since taken it through more styling iterations than Mickey Rourke — frequently, and often dramatically, updating its looks. The current model went on sale a couple of model years ago and continues to pack ‘em in with valuable features at a cut-rate price.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Honda Pilot LX

Yes, I know. It’s a crossover and most TTAC readers would rather be locked in a room with a rabid weasel than drive a three-row box that’s oriented towards families. The rest of the nation does not feel this way, however, with American shoppers hoovering up these types of machines at an exponential rate.

Three rows, nearly 300 horsepower, and 3.5 liters: let’s see what a base model Honda Pilot offers for just over $30,000.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i

At this year’s L.A. Auto Show, Subaru will introduce the Ascent, a seven-passenger crossover that the brand is calling the “biggest yet” and “family-sized.” In a market awash with three-row machines, Subaru is one of the few brands not peddling a vehicle that will seat a shift of hockey players plus their driver.

Until then, let’s toss one of Subaru’s current nameplates, the Forester, under our Ace of Base microscope.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Kia Rio LX Sedan

About a month ago, departed Sales Tim (not newly-arrived Boss Tim) wrote about Kia’s littlest car and found it to be an inoffensive hatch that could stand to make a bit more power. His, and the B&B’s, main gripe was price, given the tester was a check-every-box example with all the toys.

Kia entered our market with a value play and, 20 years later, the new base Rio shows it still knows how to play the game. The level of standard equipment on this $13,900 sedanlet far outstrips the miserable econoboxes of yesteryear.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Honda Accord LX

The 10th-generation Accord sedan has been thrust into a marketplace infatuated with crossovers and all-wheel-drive machines of every type and description. Lower, wider, and with more interior room than its predecessor, the Accord’s new clothes wear well, tapering to the rear with a fastback flair. You just know there’s at least one Honda sales person out there using the words “four-door coupe.”

Thing is, some folks are so brand loyal to the Honda marque that they’ll buy one simply because the word “Accord” is hammered onto the trunk lid. For the rest of us, let’s take a look at this year’s base model Accord and see if it measures up to our Ace of Base yardstick.

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Ace of Beast: 2018 Rezvani Tank

Yes, clearly this is a ridiculous flight of fancy. However, like a lot of things in life – such as the Dodge Charger Hellcat and hamburgers with grilled cheese sandwiches as buns – the good stuff often is.

Rezvani is based out of Orange County in California, making a brace of sports cars and the roided-up Jeep Wrangler/FJ Cruiser amalgam shown here. Let’s see what a no-option Tank brings to the table. At $178,000, this will surely be the most expensive Ace of Base… in the world.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Honda Civic LX

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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Ace of Base: 2018 Ford EcoSport S

Ford 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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Ace of Base: 2018 Nissan Frontier King Cab S 4×2

“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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Ace of Base: 2018 Kia Soul Base

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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Ace of Base: 2017 Chevrolet Suburban LS

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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Ace of Base: 2018 Nissan 370Z

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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Ace of Base: 2017 Toyota 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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Ace of Base: 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan SE

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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Ace of Base: 2018 Audi A4 Premium

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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Ace of Base: 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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Ace of Base: 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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Ace of Base: 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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Ace of Base: 2018 Volvo V90 T5 R-Design

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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QOTD: Which New Vehicle is the Worst Waste of Base?

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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Race of Base: 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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Ace of Base: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado 2WD Base

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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Ace of Base: 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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Ace of - 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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Ace of Base: Ford Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan

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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Ace of Base: 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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Ace of Base: 2017 Toyota 4Runner SR5

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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Ace of Base: Citroen C1 5-Door Feel

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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Ace of Base: 2017 Ford Fiesta

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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Ace of Base – 2017 Toyota Yaris 3-Door L

Last week, my Ace of Base selection was met with loud derision from certain corners of the web. My intent was to prove how it’s possible for one to get into a comfortable, well-equipped, diesel-powered Canyon pickup without springing for an SLT or Denali trim. Nevertheless, my efforts were met with a chorus of WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO AN ACE OF BASE ON A ROLLS-ROYCE RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.

Well then, without further delay…

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Ace of Base - 2017 GMC Canyon SLE 4×4 Duramax

Sometimes, a manufacturer sees fit to offer its newest ‘you-gotta-try-this’ feature on a range of trims in a particular model. Is it worth getting the most expensive example just to try the new toy? Or should one save their scratch and get the least expensive model?

With the inclusion of a diesel mill, the 2017 GMC Canyon puts us on par with the rest of the world. Everywhere else, this isn’t a mid-size truck — it’s simply a truck. Only in the land of bald eagles and freedom (or maple syrup and hockey sticks) is this machine considered small – or, at least, smaller. The now horribly mislabeled half-ton class of Rams, Silverados, F-150s, Titans, and Tundras aren’t disappearing anytime soon, but there is a sizable group of buyers who don’t want to pilot a Dreadnought-class battleship around city streets.

Tim reviewed the Canyon Diesel earlier this week, finding it to be a left-field choice that nevertheless ticked many of the right boxes. With that in mind, let’s strip away the options and see if it’s still worth buying.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Honda Fit LX

Eight months ago, we took a sojourn through the build and price tool for the Honda Fit LX. Since then, Honda’s increased the price and added a paint option.

So far in 2017, the Fit has sold at a more rapid pace than last year, despite the addition of an HR-V that logically should have cannibalized some Fit sales. As we well know, logic has no place in the car business. Perhaps shoppers are being lured to Honda showrooms by the new HR-V, then flipped by an alert member of the sales staff to the more affordable Fit.

Let’s see what one gets for their extra Fit cash in 2017.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base model in which it might be more prudent to spend one’s extra cash on aftermarket upgrades and not a more expensive trim. Here’s a candidate.

Many songs of praise have been penned and much digital ink spilled of Mazda’s rear-wheel drive, two-seat roadster. From the original version in 1990 to the current fourth-gen model, Mazda has always managed to keep a lid on cost and weight, two things which generally spiral out of control in both successive iterations of a popular vehicle and my own personal lifestyle as I age.

A total of $5,150 separates the base MX-5 Sport from the top rung Grand Touring model. Is that sum of cash better spent on DIY upgrades? Or should buyers spring for the high-zoot MX-5? Let’s find out.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Mazda 6 Sport
Before we start this Ace of Base, we need to get one thing clear: no one listens to automotive journalists. We can carp about bad cars and exhort the good ones, but at the end of the day, customers go out and buy whatever they want.I’m saying this with tongue firmly in cheek, of course, but there is a nugget of truth. The Mazda 6 is one of the best driving sedans in the mid-size segment, wrapped up in a good-looking body with plenty of interior space. Naturally, it sells at approximately the pace of glacier progression.
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Ace of Base: 2017 Nissan Frontier S

There’s something innately endearing about a small pickup truck. Like an overeager puppy who yaps and seems to bounce instead of walk, fun-sized pick-‘em-ups just appear to be excited all the time. Come on! Come on! Let’s work! Let’s play! Are you ready? Can we play? Huh? Huh? Are you ready? How about now? To me, that’s the soundtrack of a small truck.

Nissan has been a large player in the small truck market ever since Methuselah was a boy, with the Hardbody (what a great name for a truck, by the way) finding itself on the nation’s gravel roads in a whole bunch of trims. In the Great White North, they even used the fantastic Hustler name. Hardbody Hustler. Tremendous.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Kia Rio LX

Yesterday, we learned the Kia badge might not be good enough for Stingers in its home country. Around here, the slinky sedan will still carry the nameplate, despite the brand’s humble beginnings.

Twenty years ago, Kia made a name for itself on these shores hawking bargain-basement priced entry-level cars, many of which quickly returned to the earth in the form of iron oxide. Today, Kia’s smallest offering has since gone to finishing school, earning a major in Economics.

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Ace of Base: Single Cab, 3/4-Ton Diesel Trucks

Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: like last week, this comparison isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Truck buyers are a notoriously loyal lot, so the online bleatings of a shrimp-filled journalist are unlikely to curry favor with folks whose work boots are firmly entrenched in one of these three camps.

Thing is, though, I do know a thing or two about trucks. Plus, I had a deadline to meet and needed a topic for today. Having recently completed the trifecta by finally getting the chance to drive all three diesel behemoths listed here, I started to ask myself how these workhorses would compare in single cab, four-wheel drive, base trim. Fleet managers, please click on through: we’re about to step into the world of bare-bones diesel trucks.

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Ace of Base: American V8 Muscle

A few months ago, I promised the B&B they would never see American muscle cars in this Ace of Base series. Why? Well, it’s my firm belief the likes of Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger should be permanently equipped with a V8 engine and its accompanying sultry exhaust note.

I am here before you today not to break my promise, but — as I’ve said to my wife on occasion — to creatively keep my promise. Let’s find out what shoppers get for their cash in a no-option, V8-equipped example of the hairy-chested coupes hawked by the Detroit Three.

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Ace of Base Redux: 1989 Toyota MR2

On occasion, Ace of Base will scour the web for the details and minutiae of a ride from the past that we feel fits the Ace of Base ethos. This is one of those cars.

Offered in naturally aspirated and supercharged guises for 1989, the MR2 found itself in the last model year of its deliciously wedgy styling language. Travelling back in time to the late ‘80s, let’s find out what one could expect to get for their money in a base Toyota MR2.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Ford Focus S Sedan

It wasn’t long ago that small sedans and hatchbacks were a sure-fire ticket to penalty box crudeness and motoring misery. In 2017, things have changed at the low-end of the price scale.

This week’s Ace of Base is brought to you courtesy of an inadvertent trip down memory lane thanks to Facebook’s infernal yet addictive ‘On This Day’ feature.

A few years ago, someone tagged me in a shot depicting a 17-year old Matthew standing next to his first set of hand-me-down wheels — a rusty, late ’80s Ford Escort LX. I recall learning the original owners paid $13,000 maple-sodden Canadian dollars for it in 1989, about $23,000 in today’s money.

This got me thinking: what does one find in a base Focus nearly 30 years later? And does the Focus pass the Ace of Base test? Let’s find out.

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Waste of Base: Deals Don't Always Extend to Base Models

Most readers are aware of my unbridled enthusiasm for base model cars. Sure, there are a few luxury models that spring to mind where it’s imperative buyers select the top trim, lest they run the risk of an arch nemesis pulling alongside them in an Escalade Platinum when they are piloting a lowly Escalade Luxury.

Thing is, it behooves the frugal customer to pay attention before they sign the note on a set of base wheels. For years, commercials told us “ America Runs on Dunkin” when we all know that America Runs on Monthly Payments. Most shoppers have a monthly or biweekly figure in mind and, examined through that lens, base cars aren’t always the best deal.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Honda Civic LX Coupe

It wouldn’t have escaped your attention that there have been some bumpy years in #CivicNation. Honda acknowledged this itself, scuttling back to the drawing board for an “emergency refresh” in 2013 after the people with adenoids Consumer Reports pulled its Recommended rating.

What caused the problem? A misfire in focus groups? Bean counters? Aliens? Alien bean counters in focus groups? We may never know. What we do know is the 2017 Honda Civic is quite good, so let’s see how the coupe version stacks up in base LX trim against its higher-spec brothers.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

There’s been no shortage of digital ink spilled over the impending return of Alfa Romeo to North American shores, with declarations of a grand return being touted all the way back in 2000 when the company entered into a partnership with General Motors. Yes, General Motors.

Now, of course, we know Alfa’s part in Sergio’s grand plan for the House of FCA. Since the introduction of the sinewy Giulia, the hot and unpronounceable Quadrifoglio has gotten all the press. How does a base Giulia stack up at $37,995?

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  • Theflyersfan I guess I should have kept my first ever car which was also a 1987 Nissan. Probably could have sold it for $50,000 by now if I was living in this fantasy world where used up 37 year old Nissans sell for the same price as a new Versa. I wish a link was here so all of us can check out this treasure among junk 200SX. The only way this car is even remotely worth that kind of money is if there are illicit substances hidden somewhere in the frame that, as part of the sale, you have to drive across the border and "make a delivery." Otherwise, get that thing off of my lawn.
  • Sobro Needs moar Roots.
  • ToolGuy BIDEN LINKS
  • RHD Questions? None, no, not really. Interested in some random Hyundai? No, not at all. Yawn.
  • Formula m Alfa-Romeo had the great idea to unveil my all time favourite car at the world expo in Montreal. Never built or Sold in North America. The called it the Alfa Romeo Montreal. Never even sold in North America.