The electric car segment is growing thick and fast with new models being added all the time. In fact, with this rapid rate of expansion, there are more options than eve...
Let’s be honest: American cars rock pretty hard. They’re big and powerful, just the way the US likes its automobiles. Over across the Atlantic, motorists like driving long distances — so they want as much mpg out of their car as they can — and want to enjoy themselves while they do it. It’s all about the experience. Oh and they adore trucks and SUVs!
We’ve some awesome vehicles, including some real classics, from American companies throughout the ages. Best of all, these brands have decided their vehicles are too good to keep to themselves, although you’ll have to look a little harder for the more classic American vehicles. Seek and you will find.
Get ready for a blend of modernity and nostalgia as we take you through some of the coolest American cars to drive in the UK. We get the ball rolling with the ever-innovative Tesla and their Model S:
The Model S from California-based company Tesla earns Brownie points right off the bat, just for being all-electric. This five-seater, four-door saloon comes in Long Range and Performance versions. The Long Range boasts a range of up to 379 miles and the Performance follows in hot pursuit with 367 miles. Acceleration is out of this world, with 3.7 seconds for the Long Range and a blistering 2.3 for the Performance. Both are all-wheel drive.
The Model S is agile and handles well whether you’re in the city or on the open road. The light steering means equally light work behind the wheel. The Model S copes well with its bulk and the ride is comfortable but not too bouncy, despite the vehicle’s soft suspension. Tesla have built the car with safety in mind, too. The car’s low centre of gravity minimises the risk of rollover so you can savour its raw power with fewer jitters.
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The Camaro, a performance vehicle from Michigan-based Chevrolet — or ‘Chevy’ as they’re more commonly known — houses a 2.0 litre petrol engine and 6-speed transmission. You can go convertible or coupé. Horsepower: 275 (279 PS). Torque: 295 lb ft (400 Nm). It will take you from 0 to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds. These are just standard specs, mind. For major mind-blowing oomph, you can go to the high end of the range and a 6.2 litre V8 that delivers 650 units of each, plus 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
The Camaro is nimble and has light, direct steering. There’s a flicker of body lean, but not alarmingly so. The ride is smooth and well-balanced, with the suspension adapting suitably to country roads and motorways. The vehicle features airbags, an electronic stability control (ESC) system and other simple safety features, but for more driver-assistance features such as lane assist or parking sensors, you’ll have to upgrade.
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The Ford Mustang is the original pony car (a highly styled but affordable coupé or convertible with a sporty image) and came out in 1964. You can choose the punchy standard spec 2.3 litre EcoBoost petrol engine — 6 speed manual transmission, torque of 291 lb ft (450 Nm) and horsepower of 287 hp (291 PS) — or the powerful 5 litre engine that has 6-speed manual transmission or 10-speed automatic; 393 lb ft (533 Nm) torque; and 443 hp (449 PS). Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph ranges from 4.6 to 6.8 seconds and maximum speeds of 145 to 166 mph await you. Your engine choice will determine that, though.
This is a sweet, sweet vehicle. None of the bumps or imperfections in the road faze it, so the ride is comfy. The steering is well-weighted and responsive, creating little work but offering you lots of control. Cruise control, lane assistance and other driver-assistance features are standard, as are electronic stability control (ESC) and emergency braking systems. Just like the famous song, all you want to do is ride around in this one. Ride, Sally, ride, say we.
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Smooth lines, a bulky physique and an awesome presence: that’s the Challenger. This muscle car from Michigan-based Dodge starts packing its punch with a basic spec 3.6 V8 engine equipped with 8-speed automatic transmission, 305 hp (309 PS) and 268 lb ft (388 Nm) of torque. From there it powers through different engines, culminating in the 6.2 litre engine with 8-speed automatic transmission, a whopping 717 hp (727 PS) and 650 lb ft (880 Nm) torque. A Challenger can hit 199 mph if you ask it to, so hold on to your hat!
The car has excellent safety features, although some driver-assist functions, including adaptive cruise control, come in a package rather than as standard. Then it’s a case of enjoying driving the vehicle and, for all its raw power, the Challenger is less intimidating than you’d expect. The suspensions get tighter as you climb the range, helping to keep the car stable on the road as the engine size increases. The steering is ultra-fast, which makes it easy to manoeuvre and you can drive the car effortlessly around the streets — and in such a gorgeous vehicle, you’ll want to do plenty of that.
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You’ll have to trawl the second-hand car market in the UK to get your hands on this classic, but it’s worth it. The automobile industry hailed this 5.7 litre petrol-fuelled beauty from Michigan-based Chrysler as an example of all-American style when it first came out. The 300 C packs 363 hp (368 Nm) and 394 (534 Nm) of torque into its engine. Eight-speed automatic transmission keeps it company.
Despite slightly heavy steering and being a little on the weighty side, this vehicle is still relatively pleasant to drive and has decent acceleration. The ride is comfortable, although slightly intolerant of the bumps, and not too bouncy. The braking is good as well, giving you real confidence in the 300C. Driver-assist functions such as lane assist can keep you on the right track, but you’ll have to pay a little extra for them. It’s such a charming vehicle, though, that it might persuade you to do that.
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Does a vehicle get more American than a Wrangler from Ohio-based Jeep? You can choose two doors or four. Choose an entry level Sahara with a 2.0 litre petrol engine and you’ll get automatic transmission and 272 horsepower (276 PS) from it. This SUV also comes with four-wheel drive, of course, and has impressive acceleration for its kind, zipping from 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. Note that it’s a bit fuel-greedy, delivering around 24.8 miles before moving onto the next gallon.
The Sahara comes into its own off-road, as you’d expect. The visibility is fantastic. The steering, although slow on the road, serves you well on rocky terrain and stops you from injuring your wrists behind the wheel. You can also adjust your course easier. On regular roads, the Wrangler calls for more elbow grease to keep its sizable body under control. The vehicle is spacious inside and there are a whole load of driver-assist and safety features available, including park assisting, emergency braking, collision prevention and more. What a vehicle from the U-S-of-A.
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The 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was (and still is) a beautiful piece of automotive engineering and the ‘screaming chicken’ on the bonnet has engraved itself firmly into our memories. The Trans Am 400 had 3-speed automatic transmission, could whip up 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and deliver between 110 and 120 mph. Before, it performed even better, but Pontiac had to tone down the beast under the bonnet as the authorities took a firmer stand against emissions. The good news is this American classic from the seventies is still out there second hand. It’s forged a reputation for itself as a survivor.
Despite the TA 400’s big body, the car handles corners relatively well, with the front tyres gripping hard when you turn them. The car has a decent suspension, as Pontic began to compensate the downgrades in power with improvements in suspension to keep this one of the finest sportscars to ever come out of a US automobile plant. Want to hear some more good news? Fans of the Firebird Trans Am can relive the dream. We’ll be seeing a new Firebird in 2021.
The Corvette Stingray turned heads when Chevy decided to go consumer with it in 1963. Back in 1959, it was a racing vehicle. Today, we see a finely curved C8 model, available in 2LT and 3LT trims — and the engine is as brutal as ever, catapulting you from 0 to 62 mph in around 3 seconds. It’s a 6.2 litre V8 affair with horsepower of 495 (502 PS), torque of 470 lb ft (632 Nm) and a smooth 8-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission.
Driving the car is a blast. The steering is quick and the car feels safe and easy to control. It has plenty of grip on the roads, little body roll and the suspension tuning reinforces the stability, yet provides comfort without diminishing the Stingray’s agility. Of course, bumping this powerhouse into other vehicles or letting its speed work against you would be disastrous, not to mention highly embarrassing, so the car features parking-assist, cruise control and other useful assist features.
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The Ford GT is Ford’s supercar and sets pulses racing with a 3.5 litre V6 EcoBoost engine that the manufacturer has equipped with a monstrous 645 bhp. The carbon-fibre body is light, strong and aerodynamic; low, long and wide. Pair that up with the Herculean engine and this car really shifts: 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and a lightning-fast 216 mph if you command it to give you all it’s got.
When you’re behind the wheel, you feel invincible. The steering is heavy, but not über heavy, and is predictable, so you get the sense of being in control of this agile vehicle. The car grips the roads firmly, not frightening the living daylights out of you with lots of body roll, and the suspension is just soft enough to preserve the ride quality.
The GT is all about the drive, so the interior is minimalistic, and there’s only room for two people. Those two people will be more than comfortable, however. This car means business. This car is the business.
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The RAM 1500 Laramie, from Dodge’s truck division, is a serious pick-up truck. It’s strong — with a towing capacity for 3 500 kilos — spacious and nippy, hammering out 0 to 60 mph in a little over 6 seconds — smoothly so, too. The 5.7 litre engine gets behind the bulk with 400 horsepower (406 PS) and the transmission is 8-speed automatic to make lighter work of the gear changes.
The 1500 Laramie is in its element off the road, naturally, but despite its size — which might be cumbersome at a drive-thru— the vehicle gives a solid account of itself on the road as well. There’s a touch of body lean as you turn into corners, which changing the tyres would cure, but the pick-up truck is generally stable, surprisingly agile and the light steering makes it easy to drive. The ride is comfortable, thanks to RAM going with a less conventional rear-suspension setup. Safety-wise, the vehicle features six standard airbags and various driver assist functions are available, such as cruise control, lane assist and parking assist.
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Want the rumble of a power in an American muscle car? We’ve got plenty for you to choose from at Motors.co.ukSearch used cars