These are cars most of us will probably never get the chance to drive, unless we are wiling and able to make an overseas trip. For various reasons, these vehicles will not be reaching US soil because some of them are limited editions, others are kept off American markets so to protect other brands, and some too expensive to import here due to the “chicken tax.’’ We’ll get to that eventually.
Check out nine awesome foreign cars you won’t be driving anytime soon.
The Alfa MiTo is a high-tech and very sporty car from Italian automaker Alfa Romeo. The MiTo has an award-winning 85 horsepower TwinAir engine that delivers very impressive fuel economy and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 12.5 seconds.
Fiat Strada Lumberjack Edition
Fiat makes a lumberjack – and that’s okay! (Sorry for the Monty Python reference, but we just couldn’t help it.)
The Lumberjack offers agility, versatility, cargo room, and is up to the task of tackling uncertain terrain conditions. While it is built for the rugged outdoor type, the Lumberjack’s interior offers lots of comfort with leather seats, height-adjustable steering wheel, and easy-to-read instruments.
Honda Civic Ti
The Civic Ti is a limited edition vehicle launched by Honda’s UK division and is very different from US Civics. The 5-door sports-inspired car has a leather steering wheel, AUX and USB ports for iPod, electric rear windows, and hands-free bluetooth.
Only 1,000 of these vehicles will be available to customers in the UK.
The Audi S1 is the brand that dominated the World Rally Championship in the 1980s. It delivers the power of a sports car – including great performances, handling, and 272.9 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2.0-liter engine can get the S1 from 0 to 62.14 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds and gets just over 33 miles per gallon.
Volkswagen Scirocco R
The first Scirocco debuted in 1974 and has delighted car enthusiasts with its agility, affordability, and confident styling. According to car critic and Boldride editor George Kennedy, there are older models of the Scirocco available in the US. But the Volkswagen decided against bringing newer models to the US for fear it could harm sales of the GTI.
French automaker Citroen has sold nearly 3 million C3s since the model first debuted in 2002. The latest C3 has a panoramic Zenith windscreen, an energy-efficient engine that offers low carbon emissions. The exterior has soft curves and is now available in Ink Blue body paint style, which expands the range in colors to nine. On the inside, the C3 has an instrument cluster backlit in white for a contemporary look and easier-to-read driving data.
The Cascada is a soft-top convertible from German automaker Opel. The word “Cascada’’ is Spanish for “waterfall.’’ The car is available in United Kingdom, Spain, under different names. It is planned to be launched in Australia and New Zealand eventually.
According to Kennedy, the Cascada is the inspiration for the Buick Regal and could inspire a Buick convertible.
Volkswagen Amarok Canyon
The Amarok Canyon is the second VW you’ll find on this list – but not in this country. The Amarok Canyon is too expensive to import, largely due to the so-called “chicken tax.’’ Nope, you’re not reading that wrong. Here’s a quick history lesson.
In 1963, France and West Germany imposed tariffs on imported US chickens. This ruffled feathers with President Lyndon Johnson who imposed a 25 percent tax on imported potato starch, dextrin, brandy and light trucks.
Tariffs on potato starch, dextrin, and brandy have since been lifted but the light truck tax remains in place.
Holden Ute SS-V
The Ute SS-V is probably the coolest and strangest vehicle on this list. Like the VW Amarok Canyon, this non-import is also a victim of the “chicken tax.’’
Holden is the Australian division of General Motors and the Ute is a variant of Holden Commodore, which was the basis for the Pontiac GTO during the 2000s and the Pontiac G8. Holden says its utes (utility vehicles) are not just built for work, but were also designed for pleasure. The Ute SS-V comes with automatic park assistant, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, and a 270 kilowatt 6.0-litre Generation IV Alloy V8 engine.
Before Pontiac was discontinued in 2010, there was talk of the Ute arriving on US soil. Unfortunately, that dream died with the Pontiac.