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Image differences between European cars and American cars

As stated by George Bernard Shaw, Britain and America are two countries separated by a common language. This may be the case but having lived in America for five years there are some noticeable differences, one of which is the types of vehicles that are driven.

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Even when talking about the vehicles there are lots of differences, with words like the bonnet (hood), boot (trunk) or the estate car (station wagon), not even thinking about driving on the wrong side of the road and steering a right-hand car.

Most Europeans drive manual cars whilst Americans have a preference for automatics. The style of cars are also very different, American cars tend to be larger and more square because size and appearance matters in the States. Americans have a fondness for muscle cars such as the Mustang, as well as pick-up trucks for example the F-150. Both of these vehicles are rarely if ever seen in Europe. Europeans tend to prefer smaller, rounder cars such as the Smart ForFour. These are much more practical in the busy urban environments where parking is limited and roads are narrow.

The American obsession with pickup trucks is something not many Europeans understand. These huge vehicles that do minimum miles per gallon aren’t practical in Europe but in America they are used to haul things, load up the bed of the truck for work use and also to be ‘cool’. The younger generation that drive trucks use them as a symbol of hyper masculinity ‘I’m a big man, I’m strong, I drive a truck’. They then tend to be lifted four inches and have another $10,000 put in to them for accessories. The bigger the better! The older, working generation uses the truck for more practical uses such as hauling a boat or driving along country roads.

In Europe however cars are very different; the roads are smaller and rarely straight so a smaller car is easier to manoeuvre. Also the distances people travel is shorter so there is no need for a comfy cruiser, all they need a car for is to quickly get from A to B. Possibly the biggest factor is the price of fuel, they are a lot higher in Europe compared to America so the miles per gallon is very important to the European, the higher the better which is why cars are marketed on their efficiency. According to globalpetrolprices.com the price of fuel in the United States on 4th July 2016 was £0.51 per litre whereas in England it was £1.12. There also isn’t the idea to impress by driving a bigger better car like there is in America, Europeans just want a car to reach a destination quickly and efficiently, they don’t have to show off and impress.

In the US I drove a Ford Focus 2.0 manual which was quite a step up from the Ford Ka in the UK and fellow US students were amazed at my choice and the economical 35 mpg. I happily drove my car knowing that economy was music to a student living on a budget.

posted by: Abigail Lavallin 08 July 2016

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