My thoughts on why European cars/drivers > Americans...


Active Member
Jun 5, 2004
'00 Mercury Cougar, '13 Ford Fusion 2.0l Ecoboost
What I think I learned from watching all these TG & FG episodes is that American cars suck compared to their Euro counterparts because these reasons: Road conditions, license requirements & pricing.

Now, I'm a Yank so I'm basing this on what I've seen from said programs & some other stuff I've seen & heard when watching the Discovery, TLC & History channels. So bear with me & feel free to correct.

Road conditions: Unless you live in California, the desert reigon States or the Midwest the roads are guaranteed to be shit. Poorly paved, pothole ridden & uneven. Here my State (Massachusetts), I believe the asphalt is supposed to be 6 inches deep to ensure a long life & less prone to frost heaves. Europeans are much thicker from what I heard, thus longer lasting, smoother roads. In my partiular town, and I'm sure others, they barely put 4 inches down (and I've measured). This causes pretty much anything to rip a chunk out & start a mess. A town will wait until almost 80% of the road is filled w/patch fill before repaving it. This leaves many roads that, if you have a sport suspension, undrivable if not leaving you driving like a drunk avoiding the holes & bumps. So Americans are used to cars that have soft, soothing, lulliby suspension setups to cushion the blows. My car is lowered w/a fully adjustable sports suspension plus I have front & rear strut tower braces and a stiffer rear sway bar installed. The roads I encounter do a horrible number on her and I have to drive slow & swerve everywhere, making me wish I had a big ol' truck to navigate around town.

Drivers Ed: It's pitiful here. So long as you walk in with $60 you can get a license. So everyone on the road is either too blind/handicapped to drive while the other half thinks they're Vin Diesel or Steve McQueen. So nobody knows how to properly handle a car and this drives insurance rates up. You can't be under 21 and buy a WRX/EVO type car without paying well over $250/mo for insurance alone. This is why they stuff V6's that only put out 170hp, or release pussy versions of European sports cars to help keep insurance down to hook the younger buyers. And when that kid goes & puts in a chip to unlock that extra 30hp the car gets wrapped around a pole because he doesn't know how to handle it.

Pricing: A car has to look good first and be built solid second in some peoples eyes here. Cheap plastics & materials are used so the car looks good now, but after riding on those crappy roads the rattles & squeaks will make themselves known. Having a tight, sportier suspension isn't going to cut it when you run the risk of busting an upper strut mount or blowing a tire on a pothole. Or worse yet, having to replace them every 20k miles. Now as of late cars are being detuned to push the MPG numbers up to help sell the car. 23-30mpg @ 220hp sounds better than 340hp @ 18-20mpg, especially when we're sitting in all our traffic. No need to have a fast car for that.

So, this is my insite to you on why Americans and our cars seem to suck compared to yours. Why is it you think we're so bad?
if you think your American roads are shit you gotta see our roads in Quebec.. it's the worst crap ever.. but alreast we have an excuse with our bad winters..
Re: My thoughts on why European cars/drivers > Americans.

Re: My thoughts on why European cars/drivers > Americans.

JScullin said:
So long as you walk in with $60 you can get a license.

Here you have to pay about 1400?/1700$ or more! (depending on how much lessons you need)

Here (asuming you don't have to pay for car related stuff, only liscence) it would be even less... somewhere like $50 CDN total..

that's if you take no lessons
Well, here you don't have a choice.
You have to take a certain number of lessons!

The test alone costs about 200?/240$.

here in good old alberta it costs $40 CDN to write the test. Driver training through the AMA is around $600, but there are cheaper places. The killer is the insurance. $7000/year for a male aged 16-18 :shock: :shock: it makes me so mad!! :evil: but if you are listed as an occasional driver on your parents insurance its cheaper.
you have to take lessons in Alberta? here it's recommended (you get your liscence fasteer + cheaper insurances) but you can not take them
I got my license in the Netherlands (48 lessons, passed on the 1st try) and that was tough.
I also got a US license, and getting that was utterly easy.
I didn't study for the theoretical exam at all, and the practical exam was a glorified drive around the block.
Now I don't know if any of this was because I already had a Dutch license or not.

The other thing about driving in the US is that for the most part, roads are straight, long and wide, which seems to lull most people half to sleep it seems.
Not paying attention is one of my biggest gripes I have with drivers here.

BTW, I wouldn't call Midwest roads good (definitely not compared to european roads), but they're not extremely bad either (at least not where I'm at).
Renesis said:
you have to take lessons in Alberta? here it's recommended (you get your liscence fasteer + cheaper insurances) but you can not take them

You don't have to take your lessons, but it is highly recommended! Also, if you take it,it lowers your insurance so that you pay the same amount a driver of 3 years does!
^^but even after taking them its still fucking expensive!!^^
per year I guess... It can't be per month it would be so fucking expensive! :shock:
it sounds about right for per month here in alberta :shock: :evil:

EDIT: oops i'm a bit dyslexic tonight
I pay about $150/mo for 9mo. out of the year. I have a flawless 9yr driving record.

Now my "parking" record...jesus. I could've bought a 2nd car w/what I've paid in various parking tickets. Let's just say I'll never live in Philadelphia, PA in this lifetime. The street signs tell you 5 different ways you can & can't park on the same sign.
Here it costs $100 CDN for the test. Education is over $600 by now where I live. It's like Renesis said, it's encouraged, you can get license 4 months earlier, and insurance rates are marginally better.
I live in Massachusetts too and I know exactly what you mean. I swear, the government is just fucking around with us. They repair non existant potholes and they scratch up the pavement on highways, so at anything about 40mph, the steering wheel has a mind of its own.

Insurance is killing me too, I had dreams of getting a Nissan 240SX as my first car. Instead, I have to drive a minivan now because the insurance would be too high and I'm shopping for a Volvo. Sucks sucks sucks.
I remember in early-mid spring I was going down I93 North, and in the high speed/HOV lane was a 4' x 2' pothole. What made this infinitly worse was the pothole was conveniently located at the apex of a semi-blind turn.

So here I come, puttering along at about 80mph when my eye caught site of this rift in the highway. It was the combination of instinctively trying to brake & avoid hitting it at full speed, trying to put it under the middle of the car between the tires & the realization that this took up the entire lane and there was no avoiding when I was almost forced into the wall.

The tire had caught the ridge of it and slipped in, jerking the wheel unexpectidly to the left. A quick correction, followed by the jolt of exiting the hole & having the wheel again jerked caused me to do a rather scary shimmy while trying to hold the corner & not sideswipe another car. The car behind me hit it full tilt & braked causing cars behind it to break & swerve. It was almost a bad scene.

The hole was there for the next 3 weeks before getting repaired. But there are still a few more just like it on some straightaways. But just leaving the road like that is deadly.