Right so for a new type of post (sort of)…a ‘5 things’ type post were I’m going to list 5, for this post it’s going to be car-related (surprise surprise), specifically my 5 favourite vehicles not available in the UK…
Mercedes GLK: Mercedes have missed a big trick by failing to convert the GLK to right hand drive markets; smallish luxury SUV’s such as the X3, Q5 and XC60 have sold amazingly well in recent years as buyers have downsized to smaller premium vehicles. The GLK brings MB quality and class to the sector and is suprisingly macho compared to rivals. The same range of diesel and petrol engines as the C Class can be found too, making the car quite efficient. Mercedes has claimed that the AWD models on the C Class platform cannot be engineered for right hand drive markets, but the next generation models will be reaching UK shores, so not a complete no-hoper.
Infiniti JX35/QX60: Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, has gotten off to a slow start in the UK. A small sales network and lack of widespread marketing/brand awareness has meant that the G and M saloons as well as EX and FX crossovers have sold quite badly, despite the introduction of diesel engines. But inn the US the brand is alot more successful, and last year introduced the JX35 crossover-with a practical 7-seat cabin and surprisingly nimble driving experience it has met rave reviews, as has the new Pathfinder which is very similar. However, Nissan UK have announced that the new Pathy won’t be coming across the Atlantic, and it seems neither will the JX (now called the QX60). If Infiniti’s sales were to take off the car would be a strong challenger to the Audi Q7 (with a diesel engine of course), but I would not hold my breath.
Cadillac ATS: During the ATS’ development the previous BMW 3 Series was benchmarked as the car to beat. This type of strategy can often backfire, but the new 3’er seems to have lost some of its sharp edge in exchange for some maturity, and as such the ATS has been winning road tests over in the States against very talented rivals. With a tech-laden cabin and seductive looks it would do well in the UK if it were not for some snobbery about American cars; most reviewers deride any car designed for the US market as soft and poor quality…curious when American reviewers do not appear to note any drastic difference. The one European built Caddy (the Saab 9-3 based BLS) was a complete failure, and helped contribute from yet another retreat from the UK and continent…but with a renewed product line up there seems to be an intent from GM bosses that Cadillac might finally crack the European market.
Ford Mustang: Ford’s muscle car has been a strong seller and perennial favourite in the US, and despite some bleak spots it has generally been a good car throughout the nameplate’s history. The current generation was launched in 2005 so is getting on abit, but is almost unarguably the best yet; slightly retro yet simultaneously modern, the ‘stang can be had in almost any flavour from entry V6 to the storming Shelby GT500, and all are very reasonably priced (relative to power on tap). Yes the interior is abit behind the times and there is a solid reat axle, but the car already has many fans on this side of the Atlantic…many have imported them too! Ford have announced that the next generation of Mustang WILL be coming to Europe (and the UK) when it launches sometime next year, albeit with a 4 cylinder engine only, so another win for buyers.
Acura RDX: Lastly we have yet another crossover, this time from Honda’s luxury brand Acura. The original RDX was strangely European in concept; essentially a luxury version of the Honda CR-V it came with a sprightly 4 cylinder turbo and great handling thanks to its SH-AWD technology. However it was pig-ugly and quite thirsty, so when Acura redesigned the car they included a larger (if more frugal) V6 petrol and smoother, albeit more anonymous looks. UK buyers after a luxurious smaller SUV/crossover are stuck with the usual European suspects, but the RDX would make an interesting alternative for anyone after what the RX offers buyers, but for a little less cash. Unfortunately Acura has no plans to enter the European market, especially given their flagging sales figures stateside, but rumours are the Lexus themselves will be launching a smaller crossover quite soon so maybe buyers will have another choice.
Well there ya go…not the most exciting list of cars but I’ve tried to include models which I think would be liked by UK buyers as well as myself!