Why do the Europeans get all the cool toys?

After waiting eagerly for the funky little Ford Fiesta to hit North American soil, I got to thinking; why are all the cool cars in Europe?

Ford Fiesta – Credit: Ford Motor Co.

It’s not the we don’t have “cool” cars here, just that they are so much cooler across the Atlantic. And you might think it’s just a case of the grass always being greener, but I think it’s more than that.

European-designed vehicles are more modern, more brash, more ballsy. They have attitude and character. Our North American models are just plain boring sometimes. And with names like Qashqai, Juke, Yeti, and Jazz, how could those Euro models not be cool?

Less severe emissions standards and front-crash rating systems (because if you hit someone on a crosswalk in England, clearly they won’t be hurt the same if you hit them in New York State) mean their cars are just more stylish and often much faster on the road with higher horsepower — even in the same models we have here.

While we are slowly seeing more Euro- and Asian-bred vehicles make the transatlantic jump, they’re often leaving their sense of cool with them on their home soil.

Granted, when the GT-R made the journey it brought all the cool right along with it and then some, but that’s the only exception (unless you’re a die hard Cube fan, in which case you should never admit to it, ever).

It’s not a very scientific observation by any means, but it is one that deserves some looking into. Why is it that the North American counterparts of major manufacturers think that the North Americans are such boring people? Sure we’re worried about fuel efficiency and the planet, but then so is the next guy from Rome.

There’s really not that much difference between us all, save for the cars we drive.

  1. Yes.. and no.

    Yes, the Ford Focus RS five million is available in small quantities in the UK and not at all in the US (we don’t even get the ST), but the vast majority of cars on the roads are either diesels or small pot versions. There were LOADS of new Fiestas on the roads but almost all of them were the 1.2L versions.
    Just about every euro-barge limo on the road was fitted with a small diesel.
    If the Fiesta and new Focus do well (and I sincerely hope they do) it will prove that Americans will pay a little more for a nicer small car. That’ll build a case for bringing over the hooligan versions.

  2. The majority of small cars over here are smaller engined, and diesel has seen a surge in popularity – but that's all down to fuel price. Currently a litre of unleaded costs 118.9 pence in the UK (about 170 cents), so fuel bills quickly add up by the end of the month. Most of that cost is fuel tax, and then there's the emissions-based road tax system.

    And yes, performance compacts are very popular over here – but that's because we can't afford to run big coupes with V6s and V8s under the bonnet.

    But I do agree, the design of European mdoels does seem to be more extravagent and daring than the US equivalents.

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