By on August 14, 2018

It’s a gearhead fantasy nearly as old as time itself. We know some vehicles offered around the world are not for sale here in this country, thanks to a myriad of safety and emission rules which are incomprehensibly different depending on where one lives. Not to mention the varying tastes and style preferences of the motoring public around the planet.

Doesn’t keep us from wanting what we can’t have, though. Is there a specific new car on sale today — but not available in this country — that gets your motor running?

The Peugeot 508 sedan saloon shown above is not one of them, at least for this author. A car such as that is only desired by an individual with such a deep love of all thing French that they also keep garlic-flavored toothpaste in their medicine cabinet. But hey, at least it looks interesting.

This Fiat Fullback Cross is not an angry American football player, despite its name. Rather, it is a diesel powered, manually shifted quasi-pickup with power going to all four wheels. The interior looks alright as well and — again — four-wheel drive and manual transmission.

The Citroën showroom is a bit of a wasteland to these jaundiced eyes, but at least the micro-hatch C1 looks like something, as does the C3 Aircross. I’m just not sure what they look like. One definitely won’t lose them in a crowded parking lot.

Peugeot also serves up the tasty 308 GTi, powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline powered mill that cranks out 272 horsepower. A six-speed manual apparently keeps things on the boil. It is, however, decidedly not a 205 GTi from the ’80s. Nevertheless, we’re talking about new cars today. A 308 it is, then.

And this is without mentioning all manner of other European marques and the gear they get down in Australia. What brand-new car would you select from abroad?

[Images: PSA Group, Fiat]

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51 Comments on “QOTD: Having European Dreams?...”


  • avatar
    NG5

    Alpine A110 and Honda S660

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    The Toyota Land Cruiser Utility (diesel with manual, two-door, short-wheelbase model) and another vote for the Alpine A110.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I really don’t follow what’s available in other countries, but not available in the U.S. Why get upset about what one cannot have?

    It’s doubtful that those vehicles are any better than what is here, except for perhaps style or “just because” one cannot buy one.

    Other than Japanese cars, anything European is more expensive and the maintenance costs are usually atrocious, so just buy a Chevy and forget about it!

    Truth be told, my comment is a medical-related thing – I really don’t care for anything “exotic” or unobtainable since I can’t drive like I used to due to my eye issues, but yes – I do still dream “what if…” or “if only…”.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I don’t quibble that, for many people, “just by [pick low-worry vehicle here] and forget about it!” is the right choice, but I find it to be an odd one for someone on a car blog. Isn’t this largely a website for people who _don’t want_ to just forget about their car?

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    If it wasn’t for dieselgate, the US may have been treated to Skoda.

    Think VW sedans as fastback hatchbacks, and SUVs, but keenly priced and with an image not unlike Volvo of the 80s-90s.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Agreed. I’d be down with Skoda. While in London about 10 years ago I talked with a number of Skoda owners. To a one they said Skodas were less expensive and more reliable than their VW-branded counterparts. And how about a Skoda Yeti for SUV-obsessed Americans?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Another vote for the Skoda Yeti.

        What about a Fiat Panda? Much more ‘user friendly/utilitarian’ than many of the ‘city/urban’ vehicles sold in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Make mine a Skoda Rapid Spaceback, please!

      Actually, after just watching an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage where he drove somebody’s Mazda Autozam AZ-1, I got to thinking of which 25+ year old unobtanium cars I’d like to see gracing my garage. Maybe THAT should be the next QOTD. I’m thinking something small, hatchback and sporty…Fiesta XR2i, Peugeot 205 GTI, Polo GT…something along those lines.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, we are getting the Arteon, which is a coupe-ish liftback, but you know it’ll be priced high.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      A friend of mine had a couple of Skodas. Well, still has, I think. When we talked a couple of weeks ago, he really wanted an HR-V. Complained bitterly about Skoda’s lack of durability and overall poor quality that limits said durability. He had suspension parts break in rather benign driving (well, says he).

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    The Peugeot 308 is an excellent car. I recently had the pleasure of driving one (non-GTI) and was impressed with the build quality feel and the handling characteristics.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Currently we already have approx 110% of Euro cars that would sell in the US with any kind of minor (to major) success, let alone general appeal.

    The regulatory differences are nothing to speak of. Except US Lemon Laws are.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      CARB certification is a big hurdle since each powertrain variant must be certified. CARB and CARB compliant states account for such a high percent of import sales that the manufacturers only certify a limited number of powertrains to control expenses of certification.

      I did look at Audi A3 a few weeks back. 30 variants in the EU. 4 offered in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s a much tougher process to certify in the EU. For the US, emissions are stated, no proof required. How do you think VW and others pulled off so much fraud on the CARB?

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          Whether it is tougher or not in the EU is not the point.

          CARB would not accept EU certification and would require their own certification of the drivetrain. this means additional expense without guarantee of enough additional sales.

          And my understanding is that the ECU mapping designed to recognize testing scenarios also was used in the EU to bypass accurate emission measurements.

        • 0 avatar
          NutellaBC

          That’s totally untrue. Emissions testing in the US and especially California is way stricter than the EU ( I am from the EU, I worked for a german manufacturer in the US ;-) ) plus you have the much longer warranties in the US, up to 150K/15 years. No even going into crash test standards.
          There is a reason why European cities have on average twice the pollution level as US cities !

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yet most if not all of those 30 variants meet Euro6. There is certainly room regulation for improvement.

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          Actually the regulations themselves are mostly OK. It is the administrative fiefdoms (in California sometimes down to the municipal level) and non monetary trade barriers imposed by these local regulations represent that I see as the problem.

          Ideally the 1st world could get together and set reasonably achievable emission criteria and follow those rules.

          Almost every drivetrain aftermarket item legally sold in California needs CARB approval.

          Catalytic converters and O2 sensors maybe twice the cost and I am not sure they are that different from the non approved ones.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yeah wouldn’t be nice to take any EU compliant car, simply put it on a boat and sell it in the US? The reason you can’t, isn’t the fault of the US, or the CARB.

            If it runs clean, no deception, what’s the problem?

            Either way, if sales potential is low, even just for a particular drivetrain, don’t expect an EU automaker to go to any trouble for you.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Dacia Sandero

  • avatar
    7402

    BMW F21 – the 1 Series two-door hatchback.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’ll take the whole Renault lineup, please. Midsize minivans (MPVs over there) like the Grand Scenic are much more practical and sexier alternatives to uninspired compact crossovers, and their sub and compact hatchbacks are downright sexy.

  • avatar
    relton

    How ’bout the new Bentley Continental GT? Available in Europe but not in the US until late 2019.

    At least there is hope in sight.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Skoda Octavia wagon.
    Also, Dacia Duster, to bleed the CUV price bubble.

    • 0 avatar
      cardave5150

      I just spent a couple weeks traveling around, and saw Skoda Octavia’s everywhere. I really liked the Skoda Superba, also available as a wagon. The Dacia Duster was a good-looking crossover. Saw some really funky-looking Peugeot, Citroens, and Renaults. The Arteon is very handsome. But those Skodas…..

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Off the top of my head, the Honda N/ Kei box, and the Toyota Mark X RWD Camry alternative. The Toyota Tank, a modern xB, is very cool. The Honda N-One is another Kei car I like. Of course, the S660 already mentioned is one of the sweetest fruits we are forbidden from tasting. We can get the Acty pickup here, if not brand new, but its my favorite in its class. Likewise, lots of Daihatsu products are interesting. I like the Land Cruiser pickup sold in some markets, its much more desirable than the poser Tundra we get.

    Moving beyond the Japananese, I think a lot of the forbidden fruit is sexy and desirable, including the PSA cars mentioned. How they’d do in this market, however, doesn’t give one much hope.

    Its not that they aren’t good enough, I think they are, they’re just an unknown commodity and the market for established cars is drying up, no reason to think they’d do any better. As far as their crossovers, well, I’m just not that interested in the whole genre.

    I’m definitely not one of those “we don’t NEED another brand” or “just buy a ____ and forget about it” guys. I’m all for greater variety and choice, and I wish new entries success should they try their hand here.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The truck you refer to as “FIAT Fullback Cross” is sold in Mexico as the RAM 700. The base, regular cab version starts at the equivalent of USD11,600.00.

    I would like one very much, please.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    A brand new 70-series Toyota Land Cruiser, the kind you see all over places like Botswana. Options include a winch and water purifier. Options do not include cup holders and rear seat entertainment.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    How about that Mercedes pickup or the VW one?

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Is it correct to say that with the exception of the odd sportbrake the following European brands sell their entire range of cars in the US?

    – Jaguar
    – Land Rover
    – BMW (do you get the 1 series?)
    – Audi (do you get the A3)
    – Mercedes
    – Volvo
    – VW

    Clearly then there is a trend. If it’s a premium car or French it sells in the US. If not forget it?

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      Partially correct. Using Audi as an example most models are sold in the US but only with limited powertrain choices. Again the A3 as an example. We can get the A3 sedan or convertible with only the 2.0L TFSI engine and either in FWD or AWD. That is it. In the EU there are over 30 A3 choices when drivetrain combo choices are taken into account.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      You can’t get the Jaguar 3.0 diesel, which I think is quite a bit nicer than the 2.0.

      The makers you mentioned may sell the range of bodies, but not all the powertrains come to North America.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      Defender, 1 Series, A1, A-Class (for now), B-Class, V40, and any number of small Volkswagens are all absent from US market. Plus, as you mentioned, the wagon variants of several otherwise available models are not sold here.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    Whenever I am in Europe, I admire the VW Scirocco. If a car existed here with the looks of the Scirocco and the running gear of the GTI, I would be interested.

    I am a past Scirocco owner, but that was decades ago.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      This was going to be my first pick as well. Although the car is pretty outdated by now. The most recent ones were based on the MKV Golf, right?

      I like the Seat Leon Cupra. Took me a while to figure out what the logo was, as I had never seen a Seat in the before, so to speak.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I’d want a W204/W212 Mercedes with a 2.1L diesel if those were available in the US. Seems it would be a reliable, efficient and durable car for long term commuting, with a little class to boot, which I think is lacking in Mercedes’ current lineup (they all look like a Hyundai with a poorly imitated Benz grille stuck on the front).

    It’s the more pedestrian engine, but in-line Mercedes diesel engines are hard to kill and I drive leisurely anyways. I don’t like fast, I like leisurely.

    I don’t know about now, since most of their lineup has everything twin turbocharged and probably a lot more emissions/efficiency voodoo as does everyone else these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      I have rented an E class with the 2.1 in the UK. I didn’t like it at all, it had massive turbo lag and was somewhat agricultural. It wasn’t a responsive or refined engine at all.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        My brother runs a taxi business in Munich and I have driven the current E-Klasse E220d which I believe has the 2.1 Diesel engine. My experience was different from yours. I found the motor to be amazingly refined and quiet and very responsive. The motor did not sound dieselish at all.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t have a use in the world for European cars whether they’re in Europe or not but a Land Cruiser 200 done up without the Lexus interior (and the Lexus price) would speak to me.

    Toyota Australia sells ’em for two Rav 4s instead of three.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is the manual 3.0 diesel Everest a valid answer? If I were to go trucky, I’d want a manual and I’d go for the diesel so I could see what all the fuss is about.

    When I first read about the Everest I was having dirty thoughts.

    How about a variation of the question: what vehicles currently offered in the US would you take from a foreign market with the right drivetrain configuration? For instance Mazda offers manuals on its topmost trims as close as Canada. Servicing should be easier as the parts are likely already shared.

  • avatar
    ar_ken

    For manufacturers to feel worthwhile to bring in their cars, we have to actually BUY them NEW. We got Fiat and Alfa Romeos back, Fiats for a few years now, but aren’t we having a deathwatch for Fiat already?

    Sometimes I feel a lot of the people who wants all these forbidden fruits are the same ones that wants a brown diesel AWD manual wagon for 15k used.

  • avatar

    Can’t help thinking that the Peugeot 3008, Citroen C3 and C3 aircross and the Renault Megane (RS) and Espace would do well in the U.S.

  • avatar
    Lex

    I’d love a Hilux with the 2.4D engine and 6 speed manual.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Why do our esteemed editors consider this openly racist statement acceptable:
    “…French that they also keep garlic-flavored toothpaste in their medicine cabinet. ”

    Why is it OK in America to stereotype Europeans but not other races?
    Double standard much?

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