Monday, February 16, 2009

Top Ten Cars That Should Be Available In the States...

...but aren't.

This comes from driving 1800 kilometers last week in a Nissan Note, a 5-speed diesel that got 40 mpg over a week of mountainous roads and chaotic Palermo traffic (it's like a demolition derby except you don't actually hit anything but your mirrors).  Even with a lead foot, we sipped gasolio (diesel) as daintily as a debutante at a high tea.  At 150 kph.  With a decent ride yet.  A little understeer but it's front-wheel drive.  But I digress.

A Nissan Note.  Ours was black.

At the same time I hear that we are giving 5 billion to GM to keep making stupid cars no one wants.

So here we are, in no particular order...

1)  Mercedes A-class.  Who says you can't have luxury in a small package?  Average mpg is 45.  With tiptronic shifting and autoassist parallel parking.

2) Fiat 500 (the new one). Super cool-looking in a retro way, very reminiscient and faithful to the original so-ugly-it's-cute 500.  Autostrada ready. Sips gas (15.9 km/l, or about 37 mpg).

3) Alfa Romeo Mito.  Sweet.

4)  Citroen C1.  Yeah, it means lemon in French, but these are really sweet little cars.  The C2 and C3 get honorable mentions.  The rollback top on the C3 is reminiscent of the 2CV.

5)  Peugeot 206.  Holy crap.  46 mpg in diesel.

6)  Lancia Ypsilon. Fifty mpg in diesel.  Five-Zero.  And it's cute.

7)  Toyota RAV4  D4-D.  Diesel.  Over 40 mpg. Cheaper than a hybrid Highlander and better mileage.

8), 9), and 10).  Diesel Mini Cooper, Diesel Smart (70 mpg), and Diesel VW Polo.

From the Irony Department:  You can get this car, a Ford Focus, in Italy.

Better looking than ours, of course, and available in Diesel.  22.2 km/l, or 52 mpg.  Bring them here, geniuses, and maybe you won't have to ask for billions in bailout money as a result of your incredible inability to see 24-36 months into the future.  Isn't that why you get paid the big bucks?

Frustratingly optimistic,



Mark Ritz said...

This is a great list, Darren! I have seen many of these cars when I was in Europe (and read about them in US magazines as well) and it frustrated the hell out of me that the over-paid mucky-mucks at the Big 3 think we don't want/need cars like these.

Maybe that's why I haven't owned an American car (except my pickup) in many, many years.

Bryan said...

Its kind of frustrating to see some great things happening over there, but we've been so...stupid.

I want that 206. And that C1, and C2.

I love tiny, nimble, quick cars. What a twist it would be if Citroen and Peugeot managed to break into the markets here...

Jeff said...

All super cars (I've driven most of them). The inside of that Lancia is waaaaay too funky though. I looked into buying a Fiat 500 to bring back to The USA when we move home...but a big problem is complying with the US NHTSA safety regs. All of these cars would have to be completely modified to meet our US safety to bottom. Way too expensive for their respective manufacturers to produce a special US compliant model. It totally sucks. I can bring home a 20 year old car, in which case it is considered a "collector" and does not need to meet US code. But anything more recent has to be certified by the NHTSA (and already be marketed in the US). That Ford focus sold over here in Yurp is a fantastic example of the Big 3 idiocy. It's a fantastic car...the diesel especially, and they don't sell it in the USA. Numbskulls, all of 'em.