Top 10 Cars We Want In The U.S.
by William Sprecher
There are plenty of vehicles distributed around the world that aren’t available in the United States. Even with consumers clamoring for them, some will never have a chance to sprint through the curves of California’s Highway 1, which is a great loss, indeed.
There are two main reasons why these and many other cars are not sold here. For one, a strong Euro raises MSRP enough to make them less attractive to consumers, and two, we have an extremely competitive and diverse auto market that makes new investments expensive and sometimes risky.
To be considered for this top ten, a vehicle cannot, or will not, be sold in the U.S., and it must be within a reasonable price range because, let’s face it, distribution isn’t the only thing keeping you from owning a Pagani Zonda
2009 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
This might be one of the most stylish and elegant small cars available in the European market. Mercedes has done a nice job fitting their classic look and upscale feel into this pint-sized, slightly minivan-ish package – the A-class is one foot shorter than the current VW Golf
. It is available with six different four-cylinder engines, three of which run on diesel and make around 53 mpg.
2009 Peugeot 207 GTi
Since Peugeot’s brief and lackluster U.S. gambit, the company has been hard at work to revamp its European brand. The 207 GTi does well to show how far they have come since their departure from our shores over 15 years ago. With a stout 172 horsepower and a combined 33 mpg, the 207 GTi makes for an efficient package. For now it looks like Peugeot wont be leaving the safety of the European market so we will just have to make due with the original, more powerful Volkswagen GTI
. Boy, do we sound needy.
2009 Vauxhall Corsa VXR
This petite pusher comes in as one of the most fuel-efficient, yet fun-to-drive cars on this list. Sporting Recaro seats, blue brake calipers and 182 horsepower, the Corsa VXR still manages a combined average fuel economy of over 35 mpg. Despite only being available in Europe and Australia, those looking for its U.S. equivalent can find it in the Mini Cooper S
2010 Opel Insignia OPC
Say hello to Opel’s 325 horsepower, turbocharged Audi S4
killer. Those fortunate enough to get their hands on this European-only powerhouse get a 2.8-liter V-6 to play with which scoots to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission will deliver this Audi stomping power through an all-wheel-drive system with an electronic limited slip differential.
2009 Holden Sportwagon SS V-Series
In this country, sport wagons are few and far between, which is why the Holden Sportwagon SS V-Series - made from the same bone crushing kit as the Pontiac G8 GT – makes us tremble at the knees. With a 6.0-liter V-8 powerplant producing 362 horsepower, this awe-inspiring Australian will not only rocket you to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, but will also do so with a trunk full-a dingoes, mate! The SS V-Series is only on sale in Australia but closest thing to this piece of practical muscle is the soon to be released Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon.
2010 Audi RS6 Avant
In the world of twin-turbocharged sport wagons, Audi is king. If you’re thinking of disputing this, check out their 580 horsepower RS6 Avant. Available only in Europe, the 5.0-liter V-10 sends its power through Audi’s signature Quattro All-Wheel Drive system and is capable of shifting 100 percent of the engine’s might to the rear wheels. With nearly 60 sq-ft of storage space, the RS6 Avant is the most practical super car on the market in Europe. To get anything close to this level of storage space in a car with more power than the sun, you’ll have to look to the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate.
2009 Alfa Romeo Brera
Alfa Romeo has been called the sexiest European car company by some, and we wouldn’t necessarily disagree. The silky 3.2-liter Italian V-6 pushes out 256 Pomade-powered horses through an optional all-wheel drive system. We don’t think any car on our shores can match the greased up, smooth talking Alfa Brera.
2010 RenaultSport Megane
There seems to be a trend emerging, and while the RS Megane is the fourth small hatchback on our list (hint hint, American manufacturers), its red brake calipers, over-sized center exhaust and yellow seatbelts means it does anything but blend in. Its 2.0-liter 250 horsepower engine comes with either of the two ‘Sport’ or ‘Cup’ trims, the latter sporting a limited slip differential for improved grip. If this is anything like the outgoing RS Megane R26.R, we are sure that European buyers won’t be let down. Few U.S.-bound cars can match this French fire-breather, but a similarly focused package can be found in the MazdaSpeed3
2009 Volkswagen Scirocco
As the inventor of the original hot-hatch, Volkswagen knows exactly how to push our practical performance buttons. This amazingly aggressive coupe-esque hatchback with its low-slung front end, sharp lines and wide flowing hips is a modern take on the original VW Scirocco. But unlike its predecessor, it won’t be available in the U.S. Those across the pond get to choose from five different engine variants including a 55 mpg 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel engine and the 265 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine from the Audi S3. While not as practical, the 265 horsepower Audi TTS
with its equally impressive power numbers and unique appearance is the next best thing.
2009 Ford Focus RS
Now, we know what you are thinking, but this car could not be further from the tame Ford Focus sedan found stateside. Linked by name only, this European variant has been built around an entirely different rally-bred chassis and produces 300 horsepower from its turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. While we’re a heartbeat away from the release of the Ford Fiesta
, we can only dream of getting this stunning piece of kit in the future.