Editorial : November 20, 2008
It’s just not fair. I’m not too sure why we don’t get hot hatches over here, but it’s just not fair.
Take a look at the Ford Focus for example. Sure we have it, but over here, in all honesty it’s a box of fail (sorry Casey) compared to what already exists in Europe. At its peak the USDM Ford Focus was pumping out a whopping dismal 170 hp for the top of the line SVT motor. In Europe, they replaced the 2.0 liter 4 banger for a 5 cylinder turbocharged 2.5 liter which produces a very stout 225hp and 236ft/lbs in stock trim for the ST model.
Not only did they get the bigger motor, but the Focus also has a 6 speed and looks so much better (IMO) as well. It also returns miles per gallon figures of 30.4 with mixed driving. What are you doing Ford? We can’t even get the right version of the Focus over here for God’s sake, something we already have the groundwork for. Based on current conversion rates, the Focus ST would sell at around $22,850.
Next up is the Clio Cup, produced by the French manufacturer Renault. While it’s not turbocharged, as compared to the other hot hatches in this article, it still pushes out an awesome 200hp all motor from it’s 2.0 liter mill. While 200hp doesn’t sound incredible, it’s run through a 6 speed manual and returns 33.6 Miles per gallon. Based on current conversion rates, the Clio would sell at around $18,700.
Moving along is my personal favorite, the Vauxhall Astra VXR. We actually do get this vehicle under the Saturn Astra guise, but not exactly the way the Europeans do. In Europe it is powered by a 1.8 liter turbocharged motor producing around 237hp and driven through a 6 speed tranny. We don’t quite have that option yet, but I believe in the near future the motor from GM’s HHR SS might be powering the Saturn Astra Redline. I surely do hope so because the aftermarket for the Astra VXR in Europe is ridiculous. Currently the top of the line Astra retails for $18495. I suppose we will see what the VXR retails for if it ever comes to fruition in the US.