7 Differences Between American & European Cars (Explained)

Variety, they say, is the spice of life, and it is quite clear in our everyday life how we make different choices for the same purposes.

For over a century now, car manufacturers have been manufacturing cars, and they never cease to impress and surprise their consumers with updated or new features.

The most notable cars on the planet are most often than not, designed and produced in either America, Europe, or Asia.

All these cars possess some distinct qualities and attributes that can only be linked to them in particular. In this article, we will be looking into the ways European cars are different from American cars.


1. American Cars Are Usually Bigger in Size Than European Cars

Some people believe that bigger is better, and we think that Americans are forefront proponents of this idea.

You must have noticed, even if you are not a car enthusiast, that the Chevys, Fords, or Chryslers you see are most often larger in size than the Benzs, Bimmers, or Volvos.

One major notion why American cars are built bigger than European ones is because America is a very large country with an exceptionally profound land mass.

The cities in America are typically large and spacious, hence they have wider roads that seamlessly accommodate big cars.

Jocularly, it has been suggested that, since American families love road trips, and they frequently engage in these trips, the need for bigger cars is self-explanatory.

On the other hand, European cars are smaller in size compared to their American counterparts. European countries are generally smaller than North American countries could perhaps be the reason why they build smaller cars.

The vague reason could be that most European cities were not built in these modern days, hence they were built with narrow streets and roads. So, if they (Europeans) produce cars that are big, they wouldn’t be able to fit them on their roads.

Overtly, these cars, whether American or European are designed and built to appropriately adapt to their host society.

Also, explore if you can drive and register European cars in the US.

2. European Cars Pay More Attention to Aesthetics Than Their American Counterparts

Another way American cars are distinctively different from European cars is in the area of aesthetics. American cars are surely beautiful to behold but European cars are more appealing to the eyes.

European cars are more sleekly and stylishly designed and built while most American cars favor practicality and utility. European cars pay attention to intricate beautification while American cars just want to run efficiently.

Some American cars look very nice and attractive but almost all European cars look fascinatingly gorgeous. American cars are notably

  • Stylish
  • Tough, and
  • Contemporary

They are built to meet basic vehicle standards.

On the flip side, European car manufacturers give more consideration to the overall design and other finer elements of the cars they produce.

The difference in aesthetics between American cars and European cars does not only reflect in their exteriors.

European cars more often than not have more sophisticated interiors because Europeans take pride in how their cars look and the way they a perceived by others. Americans on the other hand would settle for expediency and utility.

This difference between American cars and European cars could be said to stem from the differences in cultural appropriation of both continents.

Typically, European automakers are of the idea that the cars they make represent who they are, therefore they never stop working on intricate designs until perfection is achieved.

Ordinarily, a European car manufacturer would take pride in, and be more concerned about the car’s appearance. While an American car manufacturer would ordinarily be concerned with function and other factors.

This is one of the few reasons why European cars are more expensive than American cars.

3. European Cars Are Better Than American Cars in Terms of Durability and Longevity

Whether you are buying a car for the first time or you have been in the sojourn of the automobile business for some time now, we’d all agree on one thing.

You must consider the estimated durability of the said car.

Generally, European cars last longer than American cars, and also they usually have higher resale value than their American counterparts.

This may be why American cars aren’t popular in Europe.

This is so because American automakers use more plastic and fiberglass to make their cars. The materials used in the manufacturing process of American cars are relatively fragile, and this affects the longevity of American-made cars.

European automakers on the opposite side, use more quality materials in making their cars. European cars are fitted with a stronger part that is meant to last longer and pass the test of time.

This is evident when it comes to the resale value of an American car as against the resale value of a European car.

Overall, European car makers use high-end parts and intricate components to design and build vehicles, that in return have a long shelf life. Or road life in this case.

This is highly reflected in their cost and maintenance prices. Many unbiased online car review sites and magazines seem to be in unison with the notion that European cars are more durable than their American counterparts in their rating of both cars.

What’s more, European cars are also safer than US cars.

4. European Cars Are Better Engineered Than Their American Counterparts

European automakers are driven by the need of surpassing excellence and attaining perfection in their endeavor to produce first-rate cars.

American automakers on the other hand are more concerned with making affordable cars, but their consumers would have to sacrifice their comfort or convenience level to some extent.

In order to meet their set standard, European car makers spend a lot of time researching and conceptualizing fresh innovations for their automobiles.

They put in additional effort to achieve the desired results. High-end quality components are used to construct the mechanical parts of European cars.

This is proof seeing that European cars have more powerful engine variations in comparison to American cars.

American automobile engineers strive to keep the costs of their cars at a low or very affordable price for consumers.

Also, they do not spend as much time designing and crafting their cars as European car engineers do. The difference in their engineering ideologies is duplicated in their individual cost prices and maintenance estimates.

5. European Cars Often Enjoy More Excellent Gas Mileage Than American Cars Do

While you may savor the metastasizing feeling your big American cars give you, have in mind that your American car literally sucks up the gas. It is no news that American cars are not as fuel efficient as European cars.

Bigger cars have a higher tendency of gulping up gas since they are manufactured with a relatively uncontrolled or little-regulated thirst for gas.

American automobile manufacturers are always at the forefront when it comes to making voluminous cars, which in turn affects the cars’ fuel management system.

The majority of European cars are compact-oriented and they are designed and manufactured with gas prices in mind.

European cars offer more gas mileage than their American counterparts because they have smaller frames and internal components.

American cars enjoy the comfort of space, seeing that American cars are usually bigger, but then, they have to pay for that comfort with more budgets for gas.

However, it has been suggested that the reason European cars enjoy better gas mileage than American cars is because of the differences in gas prices.

This assertion goes further to state that the relatively high costs of gas in Europe played an influential role in how European cars were made from the beginning. That the high cost of gas in European countries caused or forced them to make cars that could efficiently manage gas to the optimum level.

It is necessary to note, however, that American automakers are working assiduously every year to bridge the gas mileage gap between their cars and that of their European counterparts.

Meanwhile, did you know that European cars only have one reverse light and the reason for it?

6. American Cars Have Less Speed and Handling Compared To European Cars

American cars are quite fast, they are faster than many other foreign cars from other continents.

However, inasmuch as American-manufactured cars are fast, overall, they give way to European-manufactured cars when it all boils down to how fast they go.

As far as speed is concerned, cars have been grouped according to where they are produced or manufactured.

The first group concerns those who do not want to spend too much money on the purchase of new or used cars but still want to go fast. These people are instinctively likely to go for American-made cars.

The second group consists of potential car buyers whose pockets are deep enough to not allow purchase price to deter them from going faster than the fast. These individuals have a higher tendency of resolving to buy European-made cars.

One reason that was stated as to why European cars are overall faster than their American counterparts is that America has a more stringent speed limit regulation.

Most countries in Europe however, enjoy a loose and less stringent speed limitation by the constituted authority. Hence, American automakers usually have that in mind when manufacturing cars.

European automakers on the other side have less to worry about as far as speed is the issue.

There is a saying that goes, to whom much is given, much is expected. However, in this case, it is, to whom much speed is given, and more handling is expected. And European cars have since been able to keep the balance in equilibrium.

Satisfactorily, European-made cars do not only excel in their need for speed but they also manage to outrun their American counterparts with better handling.

The justification of why European cars handle better than American cars at high speed still boils down to the Europeans’ use of high-end materials for qualitative engineering.

Needless to say, American car makers are consistently striving to meet up with the handling demand of consumers.

7. American Cars Mostly Have Automatic Transmission Shifts While European Cars Also Favor the Manual Stick Shifts

“Why go through that effort if you don’t have to? If the car will shift gears for you, why would you purposely put yourself through that effort?”

We stumbled upon the earlier stated question to find the differences between American and European cars.

We found out that another major difference between American cars and European cars is their transmissions.

While American cars generally favor automatic gear shifts, their European counterparts have a preference for traditional manual gear stick shifts. However, find out if rental cars in Europe are automatic.

American automakers have decidedly made driving easy with their adoption and application of automatic transmissions for their cars.

They systematically side with those who do not want to be stressed up when driving. Since you would just start the car, shift the automatic transmission to the desired designation, then step on the gas.

You only need to worry about steering the car in the desired direction.

European automakers, however, flow with the preference of their consumers. Overall, Europeans prefer their cars to come equipped with the traditional manual transmission stick shift.

They probably enjoy the feeling of power and control they get when switching gears manually.

Whatever their reasons are, for their different choices of transmission type, the bottom line is, American automakers have simplified driving through the use of automatic transmission shifts.

European automakers on the flip side have resolved to maintain the old tradition of the manual transmission stick shift, to give their consumers the nostalgic feeling of what a typical car is.

These differences are why European cars are so popular in America

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