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Strippers!

Oh please, get your mind out of the gutter. Sorry, we’re not talking about exotic dancers, but if it’s any consolation we are talking about cars that have the, shall we say, bare minimum of standard equipment.

The concept of strippers has seemed to become very nearly obsolete these days. Indeed in the subcompact and compact ranges, cars that were once considered purely entry level vehicles, it is now possible to get levels of comfort and high end features that were once the province of luxury brands only. Likewise, there once was a time long ago when pickup trucks were purely utilitarian, before Cowboy Cadillac entered the lexicon.

The steady march upmarket notwithstanding, there are some bottom line budget folks out there that still want the absolute cheapest new car available, or don’t care if the pickup truck they’re filling with manure has 8-way power leather seats. Automobile Magazine took a look at the stripper marketplace to see what was still out there for the purely penurious. Using the four creature comforts we’ve now learned to take for granted: air conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors, they went searching for the cars and trucks that lacked the most.

The feature least likely to be missing was air conditioning. Of the 33 vehicles on the list, only 11 could be had with no A/C. Seems like people like to keep cool no matter the cost. Next are power locks with 13. That's why some people can’t even remember the last time they stuck a car key into a door.

The feature most likely to be missing is power mirrors, with 21 appearances on the list. You’ll need to roll down your crank windows (second most common economy feature at 19) or fiddle with a joystick to adjust your view rearward.

Sorting by category, it’s clear that pickups are the main domain of the stripper. Of the 10 vehicles missing three or all four of the amenities, six are pickups. The remaining four include three subcompacts and the Jeep Wrangler Sport.The Jeep is an interesting case. The argument could be made that the Wrangler doesn’t really belong on this list at all. The exclusion of niceties has far less to do with cost-cutting than it does with the popular rock-crawler’s stated mission. Who needs the extra weight of those goodies on the Rubicon Trail? Air conditioning and electric windows don’t have much purpose when the doors are off, do they?

The three subcompacts utilize the lack of creature comfort content to do battle at the lowest end of the price spectrum. The Hyundai Accent and Smart Fortwo are both in the low 13’s, while the Nissan Versa rings the till at a miniscule $11,770.

Check out the full story at Automobile Magazine, and when you finally crack open the piggy bank to buy one of these cheapos, complete your research at AutoBuying101.com’s Research Autos section.