7 Ways European Cars Are Different (Know Before You Go)

Cars designed and manufactured in Europe have a noticeably higher level of differences. These differences are quite visible in the interior and on the exterior.

The reasons why European cars are built differently from American cars stem from various factors and such factors, including the type of roads, different safety and emission laws and regulations, and different fuel prices.

In this article, we’ve examined the ways European cars are different from American cars.

1. You May Have Noticed That Cars in the U.K. Drive on the Left Side; Why Is That?

On an average day, it is common knowledge that cars normally drive on the right side of the road.

However, what would be your reaction if you were asked to drive on the left side of the road instead? That would probably seem bizarre right?

Well, that is the case with some European, Asian, African, Caribbean, and South American countries. But the U.K. is the most notable of the countries that drive on the left-hand side.

The historical reason why many European countries drive on the left side was mainly to keep the sword hand free.

In medieval Europe, when people rode on horses, they depended on the left side of the road.

This was because they did not know if they might meet a foe on the way, hence, they needed their sword hand to be free (people are right-handed more often than not).

However, in 18th century Britain, traffic congestion in London made authorities pass a law. This new law would now allow all traffic on London Bridge to keep to the left in order to avoid regular collisions experienced in the past.

This law was later included in the Highway Act of 1835 and was embraced by the whole of the British Empire.

From the short history above, one can see the reason why many European countries are used to driving on the left side.

Americans on the flipside are used to driving on the right side and would find it very uncomfortable if not impossible to drive using the left side.

Hence, a difference in driving culture is one reason American cars aren’t popular in Europe.

2. Are the Pedals Reversed on European Cars?

Since many European cars drive on the left side and have the driver’s side on the right side of the vehicle, you may have popped up this question before. Whether the pedals of European cars are reversed as well?

Although European cars drive on the left and the driver seats on the right side of the car, the pedals are the same as the known pattern.

The pedals in European cars are not reversed as some people might think, they are arranged in the usual and regular pattern that we know.

On the right side is the gas pedal for acceleration, the middle pedal is for the brakes, and the pedal on the left side is the clutch for manual transmission cars.

You may heave a sigh of relief because you do not have to relearn or practice how to use revered pedals if the case were so. Do not be overjoyed because the pedals are just one of the other things that could be reversed in European cars.

The gearshift, for example, is on the left side of the driver’s seat. This means that you have to employ the use of your left hand to change gears.

Here are some tips on how to adjust to driving on the right side of the car on the left side of the road.

  • When you are seated on the right side of the car, you would need to operate vital driving mechanisms like the gear shift with your left hand.
  • If you permanently rest your left hand on the gear shift, at least for a while, this would help greatly.
  • The driver seat and gear stick may have switched places, but remember that the pedals remain the same. Therefore. The acceleration, brake, and clutch maintain their normal positions.

3. What Side Is the Gas Pedal on in Ireland and England?

In Ireland and England, cars are driven on the left side of the road, therefore the steering is on the right side.

However, the pedals remain in the same pattern as in left-handed cars. The gas or acceleration pedal is on the right, and the gear and handbrake are usually operated with the left hand in Ireland and England.

So, if you have been worrying or wondering about where to find the gas pedal on cars in Ireland or England, you need not ponder, as they both have the same pedal layout as their American counterparts.

Normally, one would think that since the European cars in Ireland and England are driven on the left side of the road, and the driver seat is located on the right side, every other driving apparatus would be reversed.

However, this is not the case with European cars, as the gas pedal and other pedals are positioned in the same manner as other American and Japanese cars.

This is quite reasonable and rational seeing that if it were not so, most people, especially foreigners would find it very tasking to adapt to the new driving environment.

As it is already a back-breaking to adapt to driving on the left-hand side while seated on the right-hand side of the car.

Also, explore the reasons European cars are better than Japanese ones.

4. European Cars Are Smaller in Size When Compared to American Cars

Another way European cars distinctively differ from American cars is their size. Usually, European cars are smaller in size in comparison with their American counterparts.

This is especially so because most roads in Europe are slim and not as wide as roads in America.

Most European countries lack substantial land mass, and that is something that America is blessed with.

Therefore, European car manufacturers take this into cognizance. Hence, they have to build cars that can appropriately fit the kind of roads available.

Narrow roads are the reason why most European cars are smaller in size than cars made in America.

Meanwhile, you should know whether European cars use special gas.

5. European Cars Have High-Quality Interior With Unifying High-Level Technology

When it comes to high-quality interiors in cars, generally, European cars are at the forefront of the list. That’s one of the reasons European cars are so popular in America.

Also, European car brands are known and revered for their phenomenal technology, as they consistently strive to be at the top when it concerns technological advances or innovations.

Whether it is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class’ luxurious leather bucket seats or the graceful hand-stitched seats of the Mini hatchback.

European cars have proven time without number that they effortlessly excel when it comes to crafting first-rate interiors that exude style and class.

Always there to compliment the plush interiors of European cars is the high-level technology employed by European car makers.

Whether it is a Rolls Royce or a Bimmer, expectedly, the presence of high-end technology welcomes you when you step in.

European automakers are renowned for spending a lot of time and putting a lot more effort to pull off ground-breaking technological innovations.

This is overtly evident in how European cars are designed and manufactured, and even the most cynical of cynics would agree with this.

European automakers tirelessly work to make the best technologically advanced cars, and they get gratification from the cars they produce.

6. European Cars Are More Generous With Speed and They Have Solid Handling

Ever wondered why European cars are overall faster than their American counterparts? If your answer is yes, that is you probably have not heard of Autobahn.

In European countries, automobile owners enjoy very lenient speed limit laws.

For example, the Autobahn is the federally controlled-access highway system in the European country of Germany. This German highway system has no mandated speed limit for some vehicle classes.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen all share the same German origin. The point here, therefore, is for you to see reasons why European cars are faster than American cars in general.

American automakers, however, have to consider the speed limit laws here as they are stricter than those in Europe.

Speed limit laws are tough in America, and for this reason, American cars are designed and built with stringent speed limit laws in mind.

Complementing the fastness of European cars is their superb handling. Most European cars also handle better than their American counterpart, thanks to the logical thoughts of European automakers.

Since they put in so much effort to build very fast cars, they would not want these cars to roll over in the slightest of turns.

Hence, they prudently engage themselves in some serious engineering to make sure that their cars have excellent handling while at speed.

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

7. European Cars Rack up More Fuel Economy and Gas Mileage Than Their American Counterparts

European cars also are different in that they cover more miles per gallon than the average American car.

This could be attributed to the high standard and price of gas in Europe, it could also be because many European cars are diesel-powered.

Normally, diesel burns slower than gas, and many European-manufactured cars use diesel engines.

Again, larger cars have a higher tendency of gulping up more fuel because their body mass makes them heavier. American cars are renowned for being bigger in size compared to European cars.

From the above reasoning, you would agree that European cars have an edge over their American counterpart in terms of fuel economy partly because of their cultural difference.

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