Ace of Base: 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan

There was a time when no one out-weirded Subaru. Gonzo digital gauges, windows within windows, and a general Birkenstock image cemented them as the choice of the grains-n-granola crowd. These days, the cars still march to a different beat but appeal to a much wider audience. The company’s winning sales streak stands as proof.

For 2020, the Pleiades brand has tweaked its Impreza sedan ever so slightly … but that’s not why it stands as today’s pick. It is, so far as our research shows, the cheapest way to buy a brand-new all-wheel drive car in America.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Sportage LX

The Korean brand is no stranger to these frugal pages, stacking its Ace of Base trophy shelf by offering expressively styled machines packed with features that peg the value-for-dollar meter.

Kia’s Sportage has been around as a model name for nearly twenty years. Recently restyled with an atomic egg appearance, the compact crossover continues its missive of providing a tall-riding crossover for families who don’t yet want (or need) to move into a three-row rig.

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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 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 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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QOTD: Base, or Used?

Jack made several good observations in his post the other day, not the least of which was “The world of automotive pricing, like the world of wristwatch pricing, works on some bizarre rules which exist nowhere else.” This is true to the nth degree.

Moving metal fifteen years ago, I firmly recall an instance when the dealer bought several low-mile examples of a certain compact car that were a single model year old and of which we still had plenty new copies neatly lined up on the front row. Priced within pennies of the new units, us lads on the floor naturally steered customers towards the used cars because there was significantly more markup on them … meaning a higher commission.

This was all fine and dandy until the manager told us to cease and desist because he was catching heat from the Dealer Principal for not moving enough new cars. I will leave observations about putting the customer’s best interests first in the B&B’s capable hands.

Here’s today’s QOTD: given a budget, would you buy new or slightly-used?

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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 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 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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QOTD: Would You Ever Pay For A Stripper?

No nav.

No leather.

No premium or power nuttin’.

All yours for $12,800 before fees, tax, tag, title.

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  • FreedMike “Tanner Lee Hellbusch” is the best perp name I’ve heard in some time. Props to the police for this!
  • ToolGuy Road and Track are two different things. I will not track any of my road cars, and almost any single thing I might do to make a road car better on the track would tend to make it worse on the road. If I had a billion dollars today, I would buy and track an Ariel Atom (1,349 lbs), but never drive it on the road.[actually - Road, Track and Truck are *three* different things, but I digress]Will I miss the sound of lunatics driving performance ICE Mopars irresponsibly on public roads? No I will not. (Will the torque of performance Stellantis EVs get the maniacs in trouble even more easily? Probably.)Will I miss doing oil changes and pumping smelly gasoline? Nope.
  • FreedMike “…and that means you must also select the 10-speed automatic transmission. “If it’s the same 10 speed from the Mustang, avoid it like scabies.
  • 6-speed Pomodoro I'm not opposed to an EV, but I have no idea what one would have to have or look like to compel me to buy one. The three things I look for in a car are seat comfort, sound, and a stick shift. I generally think I'm waiting for at least the generation after the next generation for engineers to figure out what makes EVs worth driving. That puts us around 2030, so why worry about it? But who knows. Maybe Honda will ace the compact sports EV with an s600amp and pull me in.
  • THX1136 Agree with SCE, the cost alone puts me out of the equation. Would I like an EV Charger, sure but see previous sentence.