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Cool cars you can’t buy in the US

What do Europe, Japan and South America have that we don't? Everything from a yakuza's favorite ride to souped-up supercars.

joal-mug
Joal Ryan
Toyota Century
1 of 20 Toyota

Toyota Century

In Toyota's native Japan, this luxuriously formal sedan has been a ride for high rollers -- and the notorious "yakuza" mafia -- since 1967.

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2 of 20 Toyota

Century of the (near) future

After launching an amazing concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota unveiled this amazing Century production model. 

With a modern hybrid drivetrain and updated tech cloaked in a reimagined version of the Century's famously upright traditional bodywork, this is the first all-new Century in 21 years.

cars_honda-s660
3 of 20 AFP/Getty Images

Honda S660

Japanese "kei" cars are small. This open-top, two-seater is small and turbocharged. 

Honda introduced the S660 in 2015; unfortunately for you, it's not for sale in the US or Canada. 

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4 of 20 Lynk & Co

Lynk & Co 01

This compact electric SUV from Lynk & Co, a new marque owned by China's Geely has been billed as the "most connected car in the world." 

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5 of 20 Lynk & Co

01-of-a-kind feature

The SUV's most distinct claim to fame is the world's first in-car share button. Press it to alert users on the 01's cloud that you're ready and willing to share your wheels. 

Right now, the 01 is only available in China. Europe's next up, but Lynk & Co says they're coming here eventually.

cars-fiat-toro
6 of 20 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Toro

This compact 4x4 pickup is all the rage in Brazil, and occasionally the subject of speculation about the automaker's intentions with regard to the United States. 

Sorry, small truck fans. Fiat Chrysler says it has no plans to bring the truck here.

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7 of 20 AFP/Getty Images

Lada 4x4

Formerly known as the Lada Niva, the Lada 4x4 is a famously rugged Russian off-road five-seater that's taken on Mount Everest -- and Vladimir Putin. 

The legendary model recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

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8 of 20 Land Rover

Land Rover Defender Works

The new year brought news that Land Rover's iconic Defender was coming back -- to the United Kingdom, the Middle East and North Africa. 

The off-roader is celebrating its 70th birthday with a limited-edition, V8-powered Defender Works version that Land Rover says will be the "most powerful and fastest" Defender yet. 

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9 of 20 Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Honda N-One

The seriously cute Honda N-One "kei" car was introduced in Japan in 2012, and we haven't stopped wanting one for ourselves since then.

Its adorable, round-eyed face is a thoughtful and endearing update on Honda's tiny N360 economy car of the '60s and '70s.

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10 of 20 Renault

Renault Twizy

"Is this the coolest electric car yet launched?" Top Gear once asked. We can think of plenty of more powerful and more opulent ones, but we're not sure we can think of a thriftier or cheekier EV than the Renault Twizy.

The zero-emissions wonder manages to seat two in tandem and boasts a payload of roughly 165 pounds. 

One hitch: While a Twizy can be had for as little as £6,995 (less than $10,000), the price tag doesn't include a mandatory battery lease. 

While you can't buy one in the US, you can rent Nissan's version of the Twizy in San Francisco, so we did just that.

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11 of 20 Renault

Renault Megane RS

New for 2018, this third-generation, turbocharged Renault Megane RS hot hatch adds two doors, and introduces four-wheel steering. A 300-horsepower version is due at end of this year. 

Since you can't drive one here, watch us take one out on the road

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12 of 20 Citroën

Citroen C3

Rolled out in 2016, this Citroën C3 is the latest take on a European favorite. 

We love its funky style inside and out, and again wish the French automaker offered us its toys in North America.

cars_daihatsu-copen
13 of 20 Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

Daihatsu Copen

Japan gets all the fun with this second-generation, two-door microcar. 

As with the earlier version, which was also marketed in Europe, the Daihatsu Copen features a retractable hardtop roof. 

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14 of 20 Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

Subaru Levorg

When we got a good look at this midsize sports wagon in 2015, we said the boxer-engined Subaru Levorg was a set of wheels "built for rally stages [but] suited for Ikea runs." 

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15 of 20 Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images

TVR Griffith

The UK's getting a good one with this bonkers revamp of the '90s British sports car. 

The new Griffith will hit the road running with a Cosworth-tuned 500-horsepower Ford V8.

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16 of 20 TVR

Like we said, bonkers

If you ask us, when it comes to the new Griffith, the side pipes are the coolest part of the whole package. Then again, maybe the coolest part would be if the car were sold here.

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17 of 20 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Noble M600

The Noble M600 isn't just made and sold exclusively in England; it's hand-built there. 

The carbon-fiber light and lightning-fast supercar capable of soaring up to 225mph is available -- for north of six figures, mind you -- in three variants: Coupe, Speedster and CarbonSport.  

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18 of 20 Volkswagen

Volkswagen Up! GTI

The spirit of the original Volkswagen Golf GTI is back -- but not those of us in the US. 

This sporty, turbocharged subcompact Up! GTI, a knowing nod the legendary 1976 Golf GTI, rolled out in Europe in 2017.

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19 of 20 Volkswagen

Volkswagen Amarok

It's the so-called "beast" we can't have. While Volkswagen has historically opted to keep the Amarok out of North America, the German automaker has filed a US trademark application for the Thor-esque-sounding moniker (which actually means "wolf" in Inuit). 

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20 of 20 Dacia

Dacia Duster

Though Dacia was long-mocked for producing cheap cars, the Romanian automaker, now a subsidiary of Renault, has the last laugh as Europe's fastest-growing brand according to London's Guardian. 

One reason for the new success? Its Duster crossover SUV. Ireland's TheJournal.ie called it "rugged" and Top Gear said it was "a good 'un."  
 

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