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.
Ace of Base: 2019 Golf Alltrack S 1.8T
This variant of the Golf family inhabits a grey area in which it’s not quite a crossover but is also not quite a station wagon. VW will still happily sell you one of those, sans this model’s taller suspenders and black over-the-wheel trim. The Alltrack is kinda like a SportWagen that’s clomping around in dad’s big boots.
As always, we’re suckers for a good wagon. Let’s see what it has to offer in base S trim.
QOTD: What's the Most Overpriced Non-luxury Vehicle in 2019?
Though much of the luxury vehicle segment is immune from the depressingly practical concept of “good value,” the less aspirational vehicles of the proletariat are not so fortunate.
Today we discuss overpriced non-luxury vehicles for sale in 2019.
Ace of Base: 2019 Dodge Durango SXT RWD
America. It’s generally thought of as the country where everything is bigger and customers get a lot more for a lot less. Take the price of fuel, for example, or the portions at any all-you-can-eat buffet.
Viewed in that light, this base model Durango should have an American flag on the hood and pictures of bald eagles stitched into the seats. This is a lot of truck for less than $30,000.
Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Fiesta S
One of the advantages when getting rid of (or leaving) something is the propensity to use up supplies on your way out the door. Moving out tomorrow? Better drink all that beer in the fridge. Trading the car in this afternoon? Let’s drive around to burn off the remaining fuel we put in the tank last week.
It would seem the Blue Oval subscribes to this theory as well. With all of its cars headed to the glue factory, some base models have actually gained features while keeping their sticker price steady.
Case in point? The Fiesta S, now with air conditioning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.