It used to be that buying a base model meant accepting a vehicle that offered only the bare minimum amount of equipment, sort of a blank slate meant to be customized with options or used as an incentive to kick shoppers up to more expensive trim levels. While it is still possible in some segments of the auto industry to locate stripped-down base models (especially when ordering pickup trucks), in general most modern entry-level models now offer a healthy number of features.
Let’s take a look at 10 Chrysler base model cars, trucks and SUVs and examine what they have to offer buyers who are looking to get in on the ground floor.
01. 2011 Ram 1500
The 2011 RAM 1500 full-size pickup – also known as the Dodge Ram – offers a fairly basic base model that aims to maximize value for those seeking a no-frills work truck. The base Ram 1500 ST trim provides a bench seat with vinyl upholstery, an easy-to-clean vinyl floor, tilt steering, air conditioning and a CD player. 17-inch steel wheels are also included with the regular cab truck, and roll-up windows and manual door locks are the order of the day.
The 2011 Ram 1500 base model is motivated by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine which has been tuned to provide 215 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Backed by a four-speed automatic transmission, the Ram 1500 turns in fuel mileage of 14-mpg in stop and go driving and 20-mpg on the highway.
02. 2011 Dodge Dakota
The 2011 Dodge Dakota ST trim represents the mid-size pickup’s base model. Unlike its larger Ram sibling, the entry-level Dakota’s equipment list skews a bit more towards the comfort side of the spectrum, offering up cloth seats, fog lights, air conditioning, tilt steering and a CD player. The Dakota ST is only available in the Extended Cab body style, so it provides seating for additional passengers in the rear along with front buckets and a center console for the two forward occupants.
The 2011 Dodge Dakota ST offers a 3.7-liter V-6 as its base engine, providing drivers with 210 horses and 235 lb-ft of torque. The rear-wheel drive entry-level Dakota is shifted through a four-speed automatic transmission that helps the pickup see fuel mileage that is rated at 15-mpg in the city and 20-mpg on the highway – almost identical to the full-size Ram 1500.
03. 2011 Dodge Avenger
The 2011 Dodge Avenger has seen a series of revisions to its styling, drivetrain and features in an effort to make it more competitive in the mid-size sedan category. As a result the base Avenger Express trim level is now loaded with equipment, including power windows and door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, a CD player with an AUX-in feature and a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes. The Avenger Express additionally offers 17-inch steel wheels.
Under the hood, the base 2011 Dodge Avenger Express is outfitted with a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Also capable of generating 166 lb-ft of torque, the unit is yoked to a four-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the Express shows as a competitive 21-mpg around town and 30-mpg on the highway.
04. 2011 Dodge Caliber
Like the Avenger, the 2011 Dodge Caliber compact crossover also uses the Express moniker to denote its base model. The Caliber Express comes with features such as a CD player with both AUX and USB inputs, satellite radio, power windows and door locks with keyless entry, cruise control, Bluetooth, heated side mirrors, air conditioning, a folding rear seat, tilt steering and even a cooler cup holder for keeping beverages frosty while out on the road. 15-inch steel wheels are also standard.
The 2011 Dodge Caliber Express base model comes with a four-cylinder engine that generates 158 horsepower from its 2.0-liters of displacement. Also offering up 141 lb-ft of torque, the small motor is matched with a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the crossover is rated at 24-mpg in city driving and 32-mpg during highway cruising.
05. 2011 Jeep Wrangler
The base model 2011 Jeep Wrangler SUV provides a healthy dose of the off-road features and capability that most Wrangler buyers are looking for. The Wrangler Sport trim offers a redesigned interior layout that is more attractive compared to past models, and it also comes with cloth seats, an MP3-capable CD player featuring six speakers and 16-inch wheels. The Sport is additionally outfitted with electronic stability control and Jeep’s Command-Trac four-wheel drive system which offers a low-range transfer case for tackling tough terrain.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport comes with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that offers up 202 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of torque. This output is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel mileage for the off-road vehicle comes in at 15-mpg in city driving and 19-mpg on the highway.
06. 2011 Jeep Liberty
The 2011 Jeep Liberty Sport presents compact SUV buyers with the most affordable edition of the vehicle. The Liberty Sport offers a comprehensive list of standard features, including air conditioning, tilt steering, a folding rear seat, a CD player with an AUX input, satellite radio, keyless entry and cruise control. On the outside, the Liberty Sport provides heated mirrors and 16-inch wheels.
The 2011 Jeep Liberty Sport packs V-6 power tucked between the front fenders. Its 3.7-liter, six-cylinder mill is good for 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque, and the base model features a four-speed automatic transmission. The rear-wheel drive Liberty Sport turns in fuel mileage numbers of 16-mpg around town and 22-mpg on the highway.
07. 2011 Chrysler 300
The 2011 Chrysler 300 has been significantly redesigned for the current model year, which means sweeping changes have also been made to its base model in terms of equipment and styling. A host of new features are offered on the least expensive Chrysler 300 model, including Bluetooth connectivity, LED running lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The vehicle’s entertainment system now accepts iPod, USB and SD card inputs, while dual zone climate control and a power driver’s seat are also included free of charge.
The base model 2011 Chrysler 300 also gains a much improved entry-level engine: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that churns out 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels by way of a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the revamped Chrysler 300 is rated at 18-mpg in stop and go driving and 27-mpg on the highway.
08. 2011 Chrysler 200
The 2011 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan replaces the departed Chrysler Sebring, and the base model of this four-door family car has been given a solid list of features in order to help smooth out the transition. Air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, a CD player that incorporates an AUX input as well as a tilting and telescoping steering wheel are all offered as part of the entry-level Chrysler 200 LX package.
The 2011 Chrysler 200 LX base model’s engine is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder unit that provides drivers with173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. This output is channeled by a four-speed automatic transmission, which helps the sedan reach its fuel economy rating of 21-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway.
09. 2011 Chrysler Town & Country
The base model 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is aimed at family vehicle shoppers looking for a premium minivan experience. The Town & Country Touring trim offers a DVD / CD multimedia entertainment system controlled via a 6.5-inch touchscreen and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Also included are a power driver’s seat, the Stow ‘n Go cargo and seating management feature, 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows front and rear and rear-seat air conditioning.
Powering the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country is an all-new V-6 engine. Displacing 3.6-liters, this motor is good for 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and it makes use of a modern six-speed automatic to help squeeze out fuel economy figures of 17-mpg around town and 25-mpg on the highway.
10. 2010 Chrysler Sebring
The 2010 Chrysler Sebring’s base model Touring trim offers a number of items that most mid-size sedan buyers are looking for, including air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and door locks and a CD player that includes satellite radio and an AUX input. The Sebring Touring also comes with 16-inch steel wheels and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
The 2010 Chrysler Sebring Touring comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine under the hood. Tapped to produce 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, the base model Sebring motor is capable of returning fuel mileage rated at 21-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available on the entry-level Touring trim.