10 Cars You Can Buy in North America, But Not the U.S.
Audi A1 Sportback
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North America is a big place, and despite what some geographically-challenged among us would like to believe, it does not consist solely of the U.S. Canada and Mexico have vibrant automotive markets as well, and unlike the U.S., they have some different regulations and restrictions on what can be sold there.
There are some vehicles in Canada and Mexico that you can't buy in the States — even some automakers that aren't present in the U.S. We had a look at what you can buy in our neighbors to the north and south and picked the 10 coolest cars and trucks that you can get there, but not here.
Audi A1 Sportback, Mexico (above)
You can get all kinds of cool stuff in Mexico, including cars like this Audi A1 Sportback. Smaller than the A3, it's Mini-sized, and available in this four-door Sportback version. It comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder making 122 hp or a supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-liter, making 185 hp. Despite its size, it comes with all the style and quality of larger Audis.
Audi S5 Sportback, Mexico
We get the Audi A5/S5 here in the U.S., but we don't get the Sportback version, a four-door hatchback that's meant to counter the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The S5 Sportback has a 2.3-inch-longer wheelbase than the S5 coupe, and all that extra length goes to backseat legroom. Think of it as a junior S7, powered by a 333-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and sporting all-wheel drive, Audi MMI and far more style than the normal S4 sedan can muster.
Chevrolet Tornado, Mexico
Want to see the coolest pickup truck you can't buy in the U.S.? It's the Chevrolet Tornado. Built off of a front-wheel-drive subcompact sedan platform engineered and manufactured in Brazil, it's powered by a 105-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Despite its tidy dimensions and less than robust power, it manages to rate a load capacity of more than 1,600 pounds and has useful items like cargo box steps in the fenders, intermittent wipers and tons of accessories.
Ford EcoSport, Mexico
While the U.S. has just started to discover subcompact SUVs like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V, foreign markets have had them for a while. Mexico's Ford EcoSport, designed and built in Brazil, is based on the Ford Fiesta and powered by a 145-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The front-wheel-drive baby SUV uses a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. Ford has considered bringing this car to the U.S., but may be waiting to see how the category does before committing its own model.
Ford Ranger, Mexico
We've got the new Chevrolet Colorado, but the midsize truck a lot of enthusiasts want and miss is still not coming to the U.S., but it's in Mexico. The new Ford Ranger is available there, but don't feel too bad as options are limited: it comes only with a four-cylinder gas or diesel engine, manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. Still, it can carry nearly 3,000 pounds of payload and ford water that's 31 inches deep, so we'd call it cool.
Kia Rondo, Canada
Remember the Kia Rondo, the seven-passenger compact tall wagon that almost presaged the crossover craze? Kia stopped importing it to the U.S. in 2009, much to many die-hard fans' disappointment, but it never actually died; it's still available in Canada and has even been updated. Featuring a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, seating for seven and tons of room inside, it starts at the U.S. equivalent of more than $17,000, not including a destination fee. One wonders if it might not be successful in the U.S. in its current, less awkward-looking form.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Canada
Small, tall-wagon-style compacts are popular around the world, and Canada gets two: The Rondo is the bargain, and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is the more luxurious one. For a starting price of more than $25,000 USD, you can pick up this tall five-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive compact with a standard 208-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission. Think of it as a CLA with a lot more headroom and all the luxurious style and amenities of its bigger siblings.
Nissan Micra, Canada
While Nissan doesn't go any smaller than the subcompact Versa in the U.S., it goes one level tinier in Canada, importing the city-car-sized Micra as something of a Mini-fighter. The base models are an astonishing bargain: A new Micra S starts around $8,000 USD, and includes a 109-hp four-cylinder, a five-speed manual transmission, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and not much else. Still, for a brand-new, stylish city car that gets a converted 27/35 mpg city/highway and can be customized like a Mini Hardtop, that's a steal.
Peugeot RCZ, Mexico
This one's really unusual. French automaker Peugeot hasn't sold cars in the U.S. for a couple decades, but it's still a big global company with a full line of cars and trucks in Mexico. This is the most interesting: the RCZ coupe, a front-wheel-drive sports coupe packing a 200-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and styling straight off its 2009 concept-car inspiration. It may not be the fastest sports coupe ever made, with a zero-to-60-mph time of about 7.5 seconds, but its looks can stop traffic.
Volkswagen CrossFox, Mexico
Volkswagen's lineup in Mexico is full of unusual stuff, but the CrossFox is one of its more unique vehicles. Take one VW Fox city car, about the size of the Nissan Micra, but add a more robust, high-riding suspension, plastic fender flares, modest skid plates and a roof rack. It's powered by a 101-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels only, so you won't be doing much off-roading; it looks more capable than it actually is