10 Awesome Cars That You Can't Buy in the United States

By: Jack Sackman

The United States is often thought of as the premier automotive market in the world – with the “big three” automakers, the city of Detroit (aka ‘Motor City’), and legendary cars ranging from the Corvette to the Mustang. But the truth is that there are a number of really amazing cars that Americans aren’t able to get their hands on. Believe it or not, some cars are not available for sale in the U.S.A, due a number of different factors, including economics, environmental concerns, and/or safety issues. But whatever the reason, the following 10 cars are not available in the United States, despite the outcry from auto enthusiasts or collectors.


10. Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser has a sizable cult following among people who love sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Many truck enthusiasts also love the Land Cruiser. And in Asia, this vehicle is one of the top selling models manufactured by Toyota of Japan. Within the classic looking frame and rugged body is housed a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that provides plenty of pick-up and torque. The Land Cruiser also boasts four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission. However, while it’s a hit in the Japanese market and beyond, you won’t find the Toyota Land Cruiser on American streets. That is because this vehicle’s airbags, ABS brakes, and headlights do not comply with U.S. roadway requirements. Until Toyota invests in making sure the Land Cruiser meets American road safety rules, it will be sold only in foreign markets.

9. Porsche Panamera Diesel

There’s a certain segment of Porsche collectors in the U.S. who would love to get their hands on the Panamera Diesel. After all, the car is renowned for its comfort, speed, and efficiency. Also, having a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine in a luxury sedan enables the Panamera to reach 62 miles per hour in six seconds flat, while returning an estimated combined fuel rating of 37 miles per gallon. Unfortunately that same diesel engine does not comply with U.S. environmental laws. The emissions produced by the Porsche Panamera Diesel make it unfit for U.S. sale. For these reasons, the Panamera Diesel is one of the few Porsches that you cannot get your hands on within the United States. You’ll just have to travel to Europe to drive one.

8. Volkswagen Scirocco R

Have you ever heard of the Volkswagen Scirocco R? Neither have we. That’s because this VW is not available in the U.S. – or Canada for that matter. This fact is a bit of a shame, since with nearly 280 horsepower and all-wheel drive, the Scirocco R is an impressive vehicle indeed. Not only does this car have a beautiful exterior and interior, but it also has ample speed and great driving performance. Consistently rated a top drive by European automotive magazines, the Volkswagen Scirocco R is often likened to a street racing car, with it bolstered seats, racing-inspired steering wheel, and instrumentation singled out for praise. Unfortunately, a dispute over an import tax levied by the U.S. government on this car is keeping it out of the American market. Volkswagen has refused to make the car available for sale in the U.S. until the tax dispute is resolved. A similar situation is keeping the Scirocco R out of Canada as well.

7. Audi RS3 Sportback

If you’re interested in a hot sport hatchback, look no further than the Audi RS3 Sportback. This is a cool compact car that automotive critics and drivers both love. Although small, the Audi RS3 offers a feisty 367-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbocharged five cylinder engine that packs plenty of punch. That engine also provides torque-vectoring Quattro all- wheel drive, and offers a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox for people who really like to drive. A lowered suspension and optional 14.6-inch carbon-ceramic brakes ensure it sticks and stops while climbing windy passages of the European Alps. Sadly though, the RS3 Sportback is another casualty of U.S. environmental regulations. It doesn’t pass emissions mustard with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, and so is blocked from the U.S. market.


6. Mercedes-Benz Unimog

You want a heavy hauler, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is the vehicle for you. Proudly German, and one of Mercedes’ coolest and biggest trucks ever, the Unimog is the gold standard transport truck within the European Union. Looking like a pick-up truck on steroids, the Unimog is used to haul everything from industrial equipment to vegetables harvested from farms. Yet despite its durability and versatility, the Unimog has never been sold in the United States. For decades it’s been adored outside of American borders, much to the chagrin of U.S. manufacturers and industry who would love to be able to use the Unimog themselves. After all, there are few tasks or terrains that the Unimog’s torquey clean-diesel BlueTec engine, massive payload, and towing capacities, and all-wheel-drive configuration cannot handle. But, the Unimog does not comply with U.S. safety standards in terms of its brakes and suspension. So it’s denied entry.

5. Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition

This car is so awesome, it looks like a drag racer, but with extra attitude. Awkward name aside, the Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition is a vehicle that turns heads just about everywhere it goes. Named after a famous German race car circuit, this 14-unit special edition boasts a taut suspension, and more carbon fiber than the standard model. Its 1,500-pound build means that with an Audi-sourced, 380-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, it can hit 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds. Impressive! This car has also set speed records throughout Europe and is a fixture on the German Autobahn. Yet it has never been sold in the U.S., owing to the fact that it violates more than 30 safety protocols currently on the American books. It also has terrible fuel economy and is a massive polluter. Still, it looks pretty damn great.

4. BMW Alpina B4 Bi-Turbo Convertible

What’s cooler than a convertible BMW? Not much, we agree. And among cool convertible Beamers, the Alpina B4 stands out. Sleek and handsome, this exquisitely designed BMW provides huge performance to its owners. It has a 3.0-liter inline six engine that has been configured to crank out 410 horsepower. Also, the car’s brakes are bigger and subtle aerodynamic elements such as the front air dam aid in its sleekness and performance on highways. The cabin is also well appointed and has plenty of technology to offer. So what is keeping this particular BMW out of the United States? Price, mostly. Executives at BMW feel that the starting price of $65,000 would be too prohibitive for American consumers, and that it is not worth the cost to ship the cars to American markets. So they offer Americans more affordable convertible choices and leave this car for the high rollers in Europe and Asia.

3. Subaru Levorg

You might think that every model of Subaru is available in the United States, but you’d be wrong. Fans of all-wheel-drive Subaru’s will know that the Levorg is one car that is not for sale stateside. Which is too bad, because the Levorg offers all the versatility and sportiness of a Subaru WRX, but wrapped in the shape of a station wagon. Yet, Subaru only sells the Levorg in the Japanese-market. It is not sold anywhere else in the world. Why? We’re not quite sure. What we do know is that the Levorg comes with a variety of optional engines and interior trims, and the car can be outfitted with a huge variety of STI parts. Maybe one day, the good folks at Subaru will decide to share this car beyond Japan and give Americans a chance to own it and drive it. Here’s hoping….

2. HSV Gen-F GTS Maloo

What is the HSV Gen-F GTS Maloo, you ask? Why it is Australia’s most powerful production car, of course. And this vehicle is highly prized by a segment of car collectors. The car has unique paint, bigger brakes, and a revised front end in the highly prized special 250-unit edition. Of course, the 577 horsepower engine that cranks out 546 pounds of torque makes this car special too. A supercharged, 6.2-liter engine from General Motors is responsible for the car’s performance. And this vehicle is viewed as highly collectible by many car lovers. Unfortunately, it has been deemed too powerful for U.S. roads, and is viewed as a safety hazard. For this reason, Americans are forced to admire the HSV Gen-F GTS Maloo from a distance. What a name though.


1. Honda Civic Type R

Honda lovers and street racers alike would love to get their hands on the steering wheel of the Honda Civic Type R – a car that has taken on an almost mythic quality in automotive circles. Widely loved in Asia and coming to European showrooms, the Civic Type R, or “CTR” as car aficionados call it, offers 275 horsepower pumped out of an all-new 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder turbo charged engine that is driven with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission complete with adjustable dampers. Wow! Someone call the producers of the Fast and Furious franchise! Yet the Civic Type R is not, nor is it likely, to ever be available in the U.S. The reason is simple – it is viewed as an illegal street racing car. That and the fact that many of its components do not meet U.S. safety standards. Oh, and the diesel version of the car violates American emission laws. But other than all that, the Type R is an extremely cool vehicle. And we’re sure that Vin Diesel would love to take it for a spin.