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10 Most Underrated European Cars You Can Buy In America

HotCars logo HotCars 7/2/2022 Michael De Kock
© Provided by HotCars

Taste varies from person to person. Where one prefers to eat sweet treats, another prefers savory muffins. Where one likes romantic comedy movies, another is all for action and fantasy. This kind of difference in taste is apparent within the motor industry as well regarding cars from different territories – such as Europe.

European cars are considered slightly more premium than cars from the rest of the world - as manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have proven. This is mostly due to the reputation the companies have accumulated over the many years they have all been in business. That being said, with the massive influx of models from all corners of the world, some European models –​​​​​​​ like the Jaguar XF – get overlooked due to the sheer number of other options available within the same segment. Due to this, those models may become unappreciated and relatively rare, leading to potential discounts or better options.

So, in this automotive climate of niches and the over-saturation of certain types of vehicles, there are still some European models which get overlooked. With that, here are 10 of the most underrated European cars available on the US market.

VW Arteon

The VW Arteon debuted in 2017 and was the replacement for the Passat CC – a more stylish version with swooping lines and only the best engines. The Arteon is the best-looking car in the VW line-up. In Europe, it is even available as a shooting brake.

The Arteon is available with the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 in three different tunes for the US market, with the top-spec R-Line producing 280 hp and being fitted with all-wheel-drive. All Arteon trims are fitted with an 8-speed automatic.

Related: Why We Love The 2022 Volkswagen Arteon

Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF has been around since the S-Type was discontinued in 2007. The first generation XF was a gorgeous car, and Jaguar built upon that success with the current XF, which uses aluminum body panels instead of steel.

The XF is a fantastic option as it features relatively powerful 4-cylinder engines producing either 250 or 300 hp. The XF was recently updated and now features the latest technology in the Jaguar Land Rover range of vehicles. Definitely a great European option in the US.

BMW 230i

The new BMW 2-Series coupe is a fantastic compact sports car. While the M240i is the most desired one, the entry-level 230i is just as good. Fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 255 hp, the 230i is a nippy little rocket.

The 230i is rear-wheel-drive as standard – unlike the 2-Series Active Tourer – and can only be bought with an 8-speed automatic. The current generation 2-Series is only available as a coupe, with BMW having dropped the convertible with the previous generation.

Related: The Best Features Of The 2022 BMW 230i

Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 may be the smallest of the crossover/SUVs in the Scandinavian automaker’s line-up, but it is one of the coolest models they have ever made. The XC40 is available as either a mild hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or fully electric.

The mild-hybrid is fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged i4 and a 48V electric starter motor, while the plug-in hybrid is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged i3 and either one or two electric motors. Finally, the fully electric XC40 is available with either one or two electric motors, the latter of which produces 400 hp.

BMW X2

The BMW X2 was introduced in 2017 and is the coupe-styled version of the X1. While it shares the X1’s platform and most of the interior, the exterior is quite different. The body is sleeker and the car sits lower to the road, giving a sportier look – like a lifted 1-Series instead of a lowered X1.

The X2 is front-drive as standard, however, xDrive is available on higher-tier models such as the xDrive28i – which is sold in the US. The best part about the BMW X2 is the BMW roundels on the C-pillars near the tailgate, which is reminiscent of the legendary E9 coupe.

Related: Why We Love The 2022 BMW X2

Range Rover Velar

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The Range Rover Velar is the mid-range offering from the British luxury off-roading brand. The Velar is larger than the Evoque but remains smaller than the Range Rover Sport. For many years, the Velar was the best-looking of all the Range Rover models and sub-models, but most have now adopted the same design language.

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The Velar is available with a few choices of engines, from a 2.0-liter turbocharged i4 to a mighty supercharged V8 in the Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition mouthful. The Velar is a more stylish alternative to the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Porsche Macan.

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace is the British brand’s first fully-electric model and is not a bad attempt at it. Fitted with two electric motors – one at each axle – the I-Pace has standard all-wheel-drive and the combined output is 400 hp and 513 lb-ft of torque.

The I-Pace is fitted with a 90 kWh battery which results in nearly 300 miles of claimed range, although it is slightly less than that in the real world. The I-Pace is a great choice and doesn’t just look like a normal SUV with a big battery pack. Jaguar even created a racecar called the eTrophy to compete in electric races.

Related: 2022 Jaguar I-Pace: Costs, Facts, And Figures

VW Jetta

The VW Jetta is the German equivalent of the Toyota Corolla and is essentially the sedan version of the excellent Golf. The Jetta is fitted with the same engines as the Golf, meaning that the top-spec Jetta GLI produces the same 228 hp as the Golf GTI.

The Jetta is currently in its seventh generation and is better than ever. In the US, the Jetta is mostly powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4, mated to an 8-speed automatic powering the front wheels only. The Jetta is a great practical, family-orientated European sedan.

Mercedes-Benz GLB

The Mercedes-Benz GLB is one of the smaller SUVs in the line-up. Other than the great utilitarian styling, the GLB’s party piece is the fact that it is a seven-seater. The GLB shares its platform with the GLA, meaning the same engines apply.

The US model line-up is limited to the GLB250 but offers the car in either front-drive or all-wheel-drive formats. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 221 hp, going through an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GLB is a great and stylish people carrier from Europe.

BMW M550i

The BMW M5 is the ultimate version of the 5-Series and is one of the best sports sedans on the market. While the M5 is usually the more desired model, BMW does offer a toned-down version – or a scaled-up version of the regular 5-Series – ​​​​​​​called the M550i.

The M550i is fitted with the non-M version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 found in the M5, but it only produces 523 hp. The M550i is fitted as standard with xDrive and is a more comfortable alternative to the hardcore M5 – which is why the M550i was the chosen starting point for the Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo. The M550i is an underdog within the sporty sedan segment and thanks to the excellent performance, it is an underrated European car available in America.

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