The Cars Aren’t Always Better On the Other Side

The only real complaint I had was the relative lack of torque down-low. I know that’s something you get used to after you get over the initial “this isn’t my car” round of stalls, but on the numerous parking lots and hilly intersections, I would’ve appreciated a bit more lower-down oomph. The little turbocharged 1.4-liter engine was good for 138 horsepower in total, which was adequate for the small i30. Its boost came on smoothly and gradually once you got going, but it didn’t offer much help to get you get going. 

How would I fix my biggest issue with the i30 N-Line? By buying one at home. The United States’ version is the Elantra GT N-Line, which features a slightly larger 1.6-liter turbo four⁠-cylinder good for 201 horsepower. That’s right: We get the more powerful version with a bigger engine. (Thankfully, it it comes with a manual here, too.)

These aren’t the only cases where we here in the U.S. get the better stuff, either. We didn’t get the faster, better Ford Fiestas for many years, but Europe lacked the Mustang for much of that time, too. Newer laws are quieting down a lot of the cars in Europe, too. Every now and then on Nürburgring industry pool test session videos, you’ll hear or read someone assume that the really good-sounding car must be the version destined for America by sheer merit of loudness. 

That’s not even getting into the neat USDM things that are more common here, particularly larger trucks and cars. and make it a hell of a lot easier and more comfortable to do things like fetch project cars. This was the land of the land yacht, too, if big, comfy broughams are your preferred road tripper of choice. As with the Elantra GT N-Line, bigger engines tend to be the norm over here. Not everywhere got the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that’s in my current daily driver, a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, yet it is a huge improvement over the smaller engines that were offered worldwide. 

The next time I bemoan the fact that I couldn’t buy a Toyota GR Yaris or a Honda E, tell me to stop for a second and remember that we get our own cool stuff. The unobtanium factor will always be there, but it’s not as bad as you probably think it is. 

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