Base Model Car Comparisons: The Base Line

I always like to evaluate and buy the base model cars with the low MSRP. It isn't that I do not like electronic suspension control or sun roofs, it's that I usually don't want to pay extra for them.

As an example, for many years, perhaps still, Chevrolet would not let you buy cruise control in a base model Cobalt or Malibu. You had to upgrade to at least the 1LT, or maybe the 2LT in order to get a fundamental necessity like cruise control and usually the LT was thousands more than the base. It came with other nonsense I didn't want to pay for. Chevy would taunt and goad you into stepping up to more money or they wouldn't let you have the fundamental goodie you needed.

So I never bought Chevys. I liked them, I just didn't buy them.

Hondas in contrast, always came pretty well equipped. I bought the Civic LX in 2008. The base model. It came with stick shift and cruise control and AC and a lot more. I always thought Chevy marketing was missing the boat for that reason.

Now recently, I stepped up to a 2015 Civic Si. Just the reg'lar Si, no add-ons. But the regular Si includes everything already and it was just $20,800. Nice interior, sun-roof, big engine, cruise control, great radio and what have you. No upgrades. Just the base Si. It's even a coupe.

When I read car reviews in Car and Driver or Motor Trend for example, the reviews don't mean anything to me because they are always reviewing cars with exorbitant costing additional features that inflate the base MSRP and that I mostly don't want to pay for, so I get no sense of the actual car with the base motor. I'm thinking Camaro or Mustang or Fiesta or Corvette. It might be an expensive electronic suspension add-on or big engine feature or anything. It's because the manufactures provide a costly model to the reviewers to test for free, so that's all they test.

I would prefer they would review and compare just the base models of whatever line they are reviewing.


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