One of the best cars at its most basic is the BMW 2-Series coupe, specifically a 228i with no options that BMW weirdly didn’t have a picture of. Outside of the M cars, It’s probably the last way to experience BMW as the ultimate driving machine. No tech, no variable steering, nothing. Just a small RWD coupe and manual transmission and head for the twisties.
We asked readers which cars they thought were the best in their most basic trims. These were their responses.
1LT C8 Corvette Stingray — the extra stuff in the higher trims is cool but man (if you can) bag one of these for $60,000 ... anything beyond the LT2 behind you is superfluous.
Suggested by: MaxLat
370z base. It has the exact same motor, but you can spend a few thousand on better brakes and an LSD and still come out under the price of the Sport trim.
Suggested by: Jason Celi (Facebook)
I know it’s not out yet but the Lightning Pro is shaping up to be one of the best base EV models for just under $40k.
230ish mile range, which could be more unloaded as it sounds Ford tested it with 1,000lbs in the bed.
Four doors and 4WD. The Pros are going to be a hot commodity imo.
Suggested by: Shift24
I’m going to make the case for my current vehicle, a Golf SportWagen and I’m sure some people will disagree with me.
I think it’s a car that’s a practical choice vehicle. You don’t buy it expecting sports car performance. You don’t buy it expecting luxury comforts. You buy it for what you are getting for the money, and you get a lot at the base price point. The base trim comes with things you don’t expect, like heated side mirrors and rain sensing wipers with heated wiper fluid jets.
The base doesn’t come with leather heated, all-power seats with several adjustments or a heated steering wheel. It doesn’t come with a huge infotainment screen or the or the emergency braking and sensor suites. That’s okay, because if that kind of thing was really important to you, you’re probably looking at bigger or more expensive vehicles anyway.
Suggested by: Mehphisto
Most Hondas are great as base models. The essential goodness is baked in; the rest is just trim and features. You can go get the most basic Honda of any given model and not feel like you sacrificed anything for performance or safety.
Suggested by: Jared Kamen (Facebook)
Every full size truck.
You can get all the functional options (engine/trans/wheelbase/towing/etc.) on the base model, so all those higher trims are doing is converting it into a luxury sedan and making it more likely to break.
Suggested by: FrankenCamry
I would say in terms of features and amenities Hyundai/Kia base models came with more technology and features like a base Camry vs a base Sonata. The Sonata has more features same for Civic/Elantra/Corolla the Elantra had more features available in their base model.
Suggested by: Christopher Shim (Facebook)
The only trim offering a manual is the base model.
Transmission notwithstanding, the Impreza is an entry-level car, and higher trims have a disproportionate effect on the MSRP, quickly overlapping with higher market segments.
Suggested by: smalleyxb122
It ain’t sexy and it sure ain’t fast, but some say ... the Toyota Tacoma 2.7L 4-cylinder is the most reliable engine ... in the world.
Only available in SR trim, RWD, and apparently at the moment only in white. Access cab and six-foot bed, what else do me and the mutt need for a weekend of camping or household chores?
(Automatic is mandatory, sadly.)
Suggested by: Daddio
I don’t want to be that guy but Miata is a damn fine vehicle in its base model trim. The whole modus operandi of the vehicle is simple and light. Therefore the best version is going to be the simplest and lightest.
Therefore, the base line Miata is the most Miata Miata.
Suggested by: Death_To_Rev_Hang