I've noticed that when I mention certain cars that are commonplace here in the UK the majority US based Jalops bemoan the fact they can't get them in the US - and how they'd love to be able to get them.

In the main these seem to be diesels, hatchbacks (in particular hot hatches), wagons and anything French. So I asked on Oppo what cars you can't buy in the US and got a load of responses. I've driven and owned most so here is my rough guide to Euro cars you can't get in the US and what they're really like.


Low and entry Spec Mercedes - You want the A Class. It's a groovy little car that looks good, drives good and is unbelievably good as the A45 AMG. You don't want the B Class. It's a horrid mini Minivan, a bit like the Fiat 500L is to the standard 500. You DO want the C Class. It's great looking and good to drive. The 2.1 litre diesel sounds like a tractor but goes OK. The C 63 AMG, particularly in Black form is flipping epic.

BMW E36 Wagon - I've just bought one, a 323i SE Touring. It's brilliant. BMW were remiss not to have sold it. The E36 M3 was OK but has a pretty poor image in the UK. I don't know how the language translates, but as a chavs car. That's a trashy person in the US I think?

Audi RS6 Avant - What the hell is Audi thinking. It's brilliant, although IF you get the E63 AMG or CLS63 AMG then you're not missing out too much. The RS6 is super fast and super thirsty, and will cost a fortune to keep on the road (5 year old versions are the most expensive mainstream car in the UK in terms of reliability and service costs) and the steering is a bit wooden.


French cars - What???? And they wonder why they're in the financial shit. OK, to start, the French cannot build big cars. They depreciate super fast and fall to pieces soon after. But small French cars are awesome. Citroen DS3, Renault Clio 200 Turbo, Renault Megane 265 - all fantastic. You are missing out big time. You DO get Infiniti which is kind of French/Japanese but more boring than a washing machine. Huh, makes no sense. The Renault Zoe electric car is cheap and good to drive but has a range of 80 miles which is no good in the US.

Honda Accord Wagon - You know what it looks like. It sells well and it clogs our roads up because pensioners drive them at 40mph through towns, and 40mph through villages, and 40mph on the motorway. You don't get the Honda Civic either. They are EVERYWHERE and driven from ancient people through to young people. The last version looked great, the current version is a bit bland and they drive pretty smooth, although not with much in the way of vim. Not quite as good as a Golf.

VW Golf GTD - Good heavens. The GTD is a direct product of high fuel prices and punitive personal tax allowances. It has evolved since the Mk4 into something rather wonderful that has the GTI's spirit and, almost, speed but with an extra 20mpg.

Any old VW diesel - The early ones were shit. The TDis were OK from 130bhp and up. I once owned a Passat TDi 110bhp and it was dog slow. My brother had a Golf GT TDi with 130bhp and it was great. Both returned over 50mpg (UK). Modern VW diesels (also in Seats and Skodas) are the best in the business and should be in the US.

Skodas and Seats - WHAT???? OK so Seats are a bit 'meh' but Skodas are cheap, funky VWs. The best is the Yeti (photo at the top of the article). It's brilliant, super cheap and would sell by the truckload in the US - guaranteed.

Alfa Romeos - You're not really missing out there. Until Alfa make some decent cars their range is crap, although their followers are fanatical. The new 4C looks awesome though and costs £45,000.


Jaguar XF Wagons - They are brilliant. They are only available as a diesel in the UK which is a shame because the V6 petrol engine is a peach. The forthcoming XFR-S Sportbrake looks mega. I drove the saloon last week and it's my new favourite Jag.

Diesels in general - I personally don't like diesels. Aligned with an autobox the lag means it takes a second or so to even move after you've out your foot down. They return more mpg than petrol but take away the economic benefits and a petrol with similar power will always be the better car. Sometimes a diesel can be good. The Range Rover SDV6 3 litre turbo diesel is fantastic and the Golf GTD is great. But generally don;t just want one because you can't have one. Most are rubbish.

Hot hatches - I've driven the Vauxhall Astra VXR, Renaultsport Megane 265, Volvo V40 T5 and Golf GTI. They are some of our best homegrown cars. That the US cannot get them is a travesty. You must lobby congress to make them force manufacturers to sell them in the US.