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European cars in the US?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Rusty Chainsaw, Jul 15, 2005.


  1. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    Well, the big move is on, and I will be touching down in the US on the 5th September! :D Got a nice place all arranged (finally), so things are coming together nicely!

    One thing I was wondering about though... obviously there are places where you can get imported Japanese cars in the US, but is there anywhere that might import European cars? Much as I like the Chryslers and Dodges of this world, and I will indeed probably end up with one when I first get over there, I do prefer the tidier handling, nippiness and practicality of smaller Euro hatchbacks. Plus, there'd be the added kudos of driving something rarely seen on US roads!

    I realise there'd be issues with getting parts and finding garages who know what they'd be doing with it, but I still think it might be a fun thing to investigate. Anyone got any ideas? :)

    Russ :bassist:
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I guess you can get all German brands, except Opel/Vauxhall (GM) and European Fords - e.g. VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz. But AFAIK it'll cost you. Parts and service shouldn't be a problem.

    I don't think Renault and Peugeot are available, same with Fiat.

    Also, I don't think you can get TDI engines, since the US diesel isn't suited for those (not sure if this is correct - I just heard that somewhere).
     
  3. Most of what JMX stated is correct. TDI is available on a few VW models and one or two Mercedes. I think you'll find that what is offered here varies a bit even within specific models. The average European car costs a bit more, but they are not prohibitively priced.

    Mike
     
  4. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    I've heard that American diesel is rather dirty and only really suitable for agricultural and commercial vehicles. Of course, we're used to comparatively clean, low-sulphur diesel here in Europe. I guess I'm not surprised that Citroen and Renault aren't trading in the US right now, I doubt they'd do much business because of the somewhat anti-French sentiment that seems to be prevalent out there. It would be nice to see some Italian stuff like Fiat and Alfa Romeo over there though.

    Russ :bassist:
     
  5. Ericman197

    Ericman197

    Feb 23, 2004
    Iowa
    I wouldn't bother. The closest you're going to get to a 'real' European car is a Cooper Mini.
     
  6. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    I guess the thing for me is, it's all well and good having a big car that goes fast in a straight line, but I guess I've become very used to having a car that is "chuckable" and actually takes corners well without losing composure, and, in my time in the US, I haven't been in a car that can do that!

    Can anyone suggest a small, hatchback US car with "European"-style handling that I could look into when I get out there? I'm sure there must be some! :D

    Russ :bassist:
     
  7. Hmm, not sure. To reiterate a bit of what's been said, sure you can buy European-brand cars in the US, but they're pricier and not the type of little cars that I assume you're talking about. But like Eric said, have you considered a mini Cooper?
     
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    well, there's the Honda Accord and Civic coupes. Ford Focus. Saturn also do a coupe.

    We had a Volkswagen Jetta, it was a great car but the parts were stupid expensive.
     
  9. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    Not as small as a Mini... :D Thinking more along the lines of something Ford Focus-sized. And not a coupé, a hatch... need something with room to get bass cabs in and out of! :)

    Russ :bassist:
     
  10. Well, the suitability is a judgment call, but it's your vehicle, so you can make it. Yes the fuel has a higher sulphur content, but this is supposed to be remedied by 2006.
    The "anti-French" sentiment is largely overexposure of a minority. Please don't let the stereotypes be your guide. Renault was offered here in the 80's and didn't fare too well. Most likely someone doesn't want to loose their shirt while trying to relaunch a brand in a newer market.

    You're thinking of the 1960's/1970's. American taste and European taste differ, but there are "sporting" cars avaialble here.
    "Chuckable" is very subjective and highly dependent on what you're used to. With that in mind, you may not find a car to your liking.
    Ummm. You've mentioned wanting a diesel and a sporty hatchback. As stated, VW model are available here with the TDI engine. Try the Golf TDI. Other hatches (non-diesel) various Golf models, the Audi A3, Mini Cooper, Honda Civic Si,and the Ford Focus. There are probably others, but the hatchback is unloved in the US market (witness the BMW 318 of the early 90's and the Mercedes C230 that I can't seem to find on their website).

    Bottom line: American cars have a different flavor, but I believe you can find something that you'll enjoy.

    Mike
     
  11. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The Focus is available here as a hatchback
     
  12. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  13. Intrepid

    Intrepid

    Oct 15, 2001
    Miata, MR2 Spyder are all chuckable cars. Depending on year Miata, they weigh in around 2200-2400lbs. The MR2 sits at about 2200lbs. The older 1st gen MR2 also sits around 2300lbs and can be had for real cheap. A Honda S2000 sits around 2800lbs, but packs 240hp@around 9krpm. That's said to be a very good handling car. A Honda Civic hatchback is also what I'd consider chuckable at around 2300-2400lbs depending on year. The Integra can also be had and its around 2600lbs. You can grab a Type-R for about 15k. It's FWD rather than RWD like the previous cars. You can also pick up old Mk1/A1 VW GTi's or the Mk2 as well. Mini Cooper is an AutoX favorite around here as well as various Bimmers like the M Coupe and M3, but those are heavyweights. And we also have the Evo, and STi, which is you watch WRC you may enjoy. They're about 300lbs heavier than their WRC counterparts though. If you have money Corvette and the Lotus Elise are also very good handling cars. You could pickup various RX-7s or even a 240. The choices for 'chuckable' cars made right here in North America are tremendous. No need for importing. Plus thats hard to do and expensive.
     
  14. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    I'm not really after a diesel, since petrol prices there aren't nearly as crippling as they are here, even with the recent rises, hence the extra MPG from a diesel in terms of cost, unless you're doing many, many miles, is negligible. I just want something that's fun to drive, with room in the back for a couple of 4x10"s! Oh, and cheap, since I'll be buying secondhand to begin with (no US credit history - no car loan!). :D

    Russ :bassist:
     
  15. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland

    +1!

    FWIW I just spent a week in NY playing with my Dad's S2000. I simply LOVE that car. In all my time driving high performance vehicles there are only two cars I was completely happy with in their virgin factory state: The Ferrari 360 and the S2000! Think about that for a second. I've driven some of the fastest, best engineered cars on the planet: Viper, Corvette, M3, Boxster and 911 GT3 to name a few. Many of these I've had on racetracks, not simply on the street. The ONLY two cars I would not change a thing about were the $150,000 Ferrari and the $30,000 S2000. The S is simply perfect the way it is.

    Depending on where you live, what your needs are and how much money you have there are lots of choices. An S2K wouldn't work for hauling bass gear but its a great auto-x and track day toy. Despite what Europeans think of Americans we don't all drive V8 powered wannabe NASCAR machines. Some of us actually follow the logic that "Its not how fast you drive, its how little you drive slow" and like cars that reward this line of thinking.
     
  16. Then the other hatches I mentioned are worth looking into. Another possibility is the 4 door "sport wagon" body style. This will open up the options to include a few Subaru models, Mazda, another Focus, etc.

    Mike
     
  17. Intrepid

    Intrepid

    Oct 15, 2001
    Can you own two vehicles? American living style makes this very practical. Get something like a Cherokee and haul music gear around. Then buy a Miata or whatever.
     
  18. Nice, but read the bolded portion. Hauling bass gear is one of Bionic's requirements.

    Mike
     
  19. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    A 318Ti might be good. You could fit a single 410 in one, maybe two if you strapped the second in the passenger seat. They are fairly cheap, quite reliable (except for the infamous E36 suspension problem, read up on this before buying ANY E36 BMW) and they are awesome handling little things if you know what you are doing behind the wheel! The sport suspension package is very tight and connected, and there was an option M package in 96 or 98 that added the M3s front air dam and other bits. The air dam is actually helpful because it generates a bit of downforce over the front wheels which helps eliminate understeer when turning in at high speeds without trail braking.

    I almost bought one as my track car about a year ago, every time I have to service my M3 I wish I had. Then I let that 3.0L loose on a twisty stretch of blacktop and think "What service bill?" :)