RAC Cars News


The Best Cars That Never Made It To England

By raccars Published

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The UK has a stellar automotive history of its own, and a booming car industry to be proud of. Vehicles, such as the Morgan Three Wheeler or the Ariel Atom, are distinctly British and the envy of international markets. However, there are some cars that were available abroad that could have been a distinct asset to the UK's auto markets, but somehow were destined never to be sold here.

The Golf Country, for example, was a variant of the second generation of the venerable hatchback, capable of light off roading. It was a hit in central Europe's Alpine zones and could have gone down a storm in the Lake District or Scottish Highlands. Furthermore, the success of the crossover proves that its elevated ride height and rugged bodykit could have been a hit, even with school run mums.

The BMW M550d can outperform the M5, but its torque needs to be kept in check by the use of BMW's xDrive all wheel drive system. In its wisdom, the German firm decided that was not to be an option for the 5 Series in Britain, meaning UK drivers have missed out on the M550d's awesome, triple turbocharged performance. The Mercedes E63 AMG Estate 4Matic is also denied to British buyers for the same reason. Mercedes claims there's no commercial case for the extra cost of making the conversion, from rear to all wheel drive, available in right hand drive format.

The Ford F-150 Raptor is typical of the American penchant for all things bigger, and the F-150 Raptor is no different. Its wide track, 35 inch tyres, racing shocks and a 6.2 litre V8 with 411bhp are perfect for bombing around the desert landscape of the US and utterly inappropriate for British roads, but could be an awful lot of fun all the same...

The Ford Flex is similarly unmistakeably American. It looks like the seven seater love child of a Ford MPV and a Range Rover and has been available since 2008 in the US. Ford, probably correctly, decided that its enormous size and 3.6 litre V6 would struggle to find a niche in the UK market.

After eight years in production, Toyota has decided to phase out the characterful FJ Cruiser, a rough and tough SUV that could certainly have found a home in the UK, as a kind of alternative Land Rover Defender. Its excellent utilitarian features include a completely child and dog proof rubberised cabin, that can be cleaned with a sweep of the Karcher pressure washer!

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