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Awesome Cars Not Sold in Britain... Yet!

There's a long list of awesome machines, including several classic SUVs and 4x4s, that we can't buy in the United Kingdom.

This section spotlights some interesting and popular vehicles never sold in Great Britain and the key reasons why some are banned.

Which Vehicles are Not Allowed in the UK?

In essence, it doesn't really matter whether you find these automobiles desirable or undesirable!

Under normal circumstances, you will not be able to buy certain makes and models in this country.

Here's the thing:

If the urge is strong, you could go through the process of importing a vehicle into the United Kingdom and drive it on our roads.

Most of the reasons behind the ban on certain vehicles relate to safety regulations - and some automobiles falling short of emissions standards.

That being said, the influence of major market trends may also be a "reasonable" explanation as to why they are on this A to Z list of cars never sold in the United Kingdom.

Acura TLX

Even though Acura may be an unfamiliar car name in Great Britain, it has been part of the luxury division of Honda SUV models since 2014.

Moreover, the Acura TLX lineup succeeds the older TL and TSX models and has become the flagship sedan since 2021.

Cars Unsold in the UK: Acura TLX Sport SedanPushing the Limits of Performance

The Acura TLX Premium Sports Sedan was designed in Los Angeles.

But, an official unveiling of the production version took place at the New York International Auto Show in April 2014.

The 2023 TLX version has a price tag around $40,000 in the United States.

Even so, Honda does not offer this saloon for sale outside of the American market. If they did, it could be a strong rival for the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.


Well, for a start, motorists living on this side of the Atlantic Ocean are missing out on a sedan that boasts an exhilarating 272-HP108 VTEC® Turbo engine.

Take another step up and drive any of the Type S levels for even more performance. In fact, they say the 355-HP126 3.0L Turbo V6, rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) is the most powerful Acura sedan ever built.

BMW 333i

There are some BMW car fanatics who still consider the E30 M3 as being an iconic racing machine. Yet, the 1985 BMW 333i is also an icon in itself - and even more rare!

With some special input from Alpina, they built only 204 units. Each one had the 197bhp 3.2-litre straight-six big-engined version of the European compact saloon.

It's true to say the United Kingdom, among several other countries in Europe, expressed a keen interest to import them. Nonetheless, the decision to limit exports of the 333i stayed strong and South Africa was the biggest winner.

BMW 745i

The German automaker produced two different models of the 745i. But, neither the turbocharged 3.2-litre nor the 3.4-litre, six-cylinder engine with 248bhp reached the shores of Great Britain.

So, why not?

Despite topping the range in continental Europe, the truthful reason that it didn't cross the English Channel was the difficulties they had converting it to right-hand drive.

But, they did make a right-hand drive version 745i available for the South Africa car market from 1983 to 1987. Even so, they only produced 209 units of the 286bhp 3.5-litre straight-six (borrowed from the M5 Sports Saloon).

Cadillac Escalade

There are six distinct Cadillac Escalades to choose from if you're living in the United States. So far, they're not being shipped eastwards across the Atlantic in any great numbers.

Why is that so I wonder? One reason could be the rivalry that it might cause with some of the Range Rover models and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

Pro Tip: The 2024 Cadillac Escalade is a Full-Size Luxury SUV that offers the first true hands-free driver assistance technology for compatible roads, called Super Cruise. In other words, you would be able to use it on more than 400,000* miles of compatible roads throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Chevrolet Suburban

There aren't many SUV manufacturers that are able to combine a large people mover (up to 9 passengers) with intelligent technology like the Chevrolet brand.

Cars Not Yet Sold in the UK: Chevrolet Suburban SUVTo prove a point, endearing customers who simply love their Chevy include:

  • Soccer moms
  • The Secret Service
  • Tony Soprano

So, now we're wondering why the Chevrolet Suburban has never been available for the UK car market?

In fact, the reason is simple... yet somewhat bemusing! It seems the famous US auto maker can't handle (or won't) the small demand for a right-hand drive version.

So, the challenge of navigating a Chevy on our tight roads, and then finding a parking space large enough to cope with a vehicle measuring 18 feet long, will remain a mystery.

Pro Tip: Check out our Chevrolet Suburban UK review and price for more information about this supersize Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

Citroën E-Méhari

Despite being better known for Citroen 4x4 models, the French car maker has produced about a thousand e-Méhari electric off-road subcompacts since its conception in 2016.

The styling resembles the original Mehari from the 60s, with some collaboration from Bolloré Bluesummer (a French electric car producer).

Citroën E-Méhari electric off-road subcompact SUV.Citroen says the e-Mehari is capable of reaching 199 kilometres (124 miles) on a full charge. Recharging takes around eight hours.

It has a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph) and it goes from 0–50 km/h in 6.4 seconds.

But the bottom line is this:

A fabric roof, and the atypical hose down interior, are features that do not bode well in colder climates.

Plus, the glazing components are a special challenge unless you live in a warm sunny country.

In other words, the Citroën e-Méhari could be the ideal jalopy for Mediterranean beach lovers. In fact, they seem to be concentrating the sales of e-Meharis (around €25,000 per unit) for the rental car market in the coastal resorts of Southern Europe.

Pro Tip: Last time we checked, they do not sell it outside of France. Even so, it set the stage for the weird looking Citroen Ami Pop - which has been selling in the United Kingdom since late 2022.

Daihatsu Copen Xplay

The Daihatsu Copen is a small two door convertible kei car with front-wheel drive and a front engine. So, it has restricted engine specifications and exterior dimensions. Nonetheless, its debut took place at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1999.

In fact, Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd permitted exports of the Copen convertible to the United Kingdom for six years (2003 to 2009). But, reserving the latest Copen for the Japanese market means it's become a bit of a missed opportunity for cult followers in the British Isles.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

You could argue that the sensible range of the Dodge spectrum would have to include the Neon and the Durango SUV. Whereas, the Charger and Challenger would have to end up in the muscle range.

Cars Never Sold in the UK: Dodge Charger SRT HellcatSo, which would you choose if you could buy them in the UK?

Many would choose the Challenger - perhaps for the way that it looks.

Even so, the Charger is similar in function - but it does so with two extra doors.

Moving along...

There is no denying that the Dodge Charger is a name with a certain amount of prestige and power.

If you could buy the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the United Kingdom, some of the awesome features you would get include:

  • A supercharged 6.2-litre V8 with 707PS.
  • All round independent suspension (with Bilstein dampers.
  • A supercar that weighs 2,057kg with huge 390mm discs.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Specification

Engine and transmission 6.2-litre supercharged V8, eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Power/torque 07PS (705bhp) @ 6,000rpm/881 Nm (650 lb ft) @ 4,800rpm
0-62mph 3.6 seconds
Top speed 196 mph

Ford Bronco®

In the United States, the Ford Bronco SUV experience comes in nine different trim levels. You can choose between the 2-door and the 4-door soft or hardtop models.

There are three choices of engines. and you can also practice your off road driving techniques through the Sasquatch® package.

Without any doubt, it is one of the few SUV models that oozes legacy and style. So, now we're asking the question of why they don't sell it over here in the UK?

The bottom line...

Well, it would certainly give the Land Rover Defender a stiff test, especially their Heritage Edition and Big Bend® versions.

Further competition comes in the form of the Bronco's removable roof panels and doors. That sure is one nifty way of turning it into a five-seat unconstrained SUV.

Pro Tip: Another section explains the principles used for classifying classic and historic cars in law and for the purpose of free taxation according to HM Revenue and Customs.

Ford Explorer®

The Ford Explorer SUV is another vehicle that we need to include in this list of 'unavailables'. Although, we should acknowledge the period when Ford were actually importing vehicles into the United Kingdom (1997 - 2001).

So, what are British buyers missing out on? For starters, we can't buy the seven-seat SUV that comes with petrol and hybrid power. We also lose the towing capacity (up to 5,600 pounds*) for pulling a boat or a big trailer on a road trip.

Pickup Trucks Not Sol in the UK: Ford F-150 LightningFord F-150® Lightning®

Out of all the vehicles unsold in the UK, this all-electric pick-up truck could be the most puzzling.

It's also fair to say that some would use it as a working vehicle, adding to the choice of vans and commercials already on the market.

The Lightning's EV platform means it can do everything to match the petrol and diesel-powered F-150s.

Ford® says the 2023 F-150® Lightning® has an EPA-estimated range of 320 miles and it goes from 0-60 mph in sub four (4) seconds.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

A recent revival of the Shelby nameplate took place in 2005. The result is a high-performance model of the fifth-generation Ford Mustang.

This particular fastback combines several features from the Mustang, Shelby, and GT500. In other words, there are very few venues (excluding track day driving experiences) where you would be able to open up the 5.2-litre V8 engine and travel from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.

Pro Tip: There is no shortage of used right-hand drive cars for sale in the UK. But, the cost of complying with technical and legal requirements (homologation) could be a reason for holding back on some of the powerful Mustang versions.

Honda N-One

The Japanese built Honda 4 wheel drive models have become super popular in Britain. But, their new retro styled N-One is not the most well known kei class example.

A few owners might say it displays some of the same funky looks as the new Honda e, their first all-electric urban car. Plus, look inside the stumpy bonnet and you will find a perky 54bhp 660cc three-cylinder engine with turbocharger.

Hyundai Palisade

It's difficult to dispute the success of Hyundai SUV models in the United States. A winning combination of keen pricing and liberal cabin sizes has become standard.

Hyundai Palisade LX2 PESo, how does the Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy LX2 PE compare to some of its rivals and predecessors?

Well, even though they call it "mid-size", it's a little bit bigger than the Santa Fe SUV.

But here's the kicker:

It seems the South Korean giant operating as Hyundai Motor Company view this size issue as a primary factor for withholding the Palisade from the UK market.

Potential reasons could certainly include being too big, its 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine, and the fact that there is no hybrid or diesel-powered engine version available (yet).

Hyundai Veloster N

Full disclosure for adding Hyundai's Veloster to our A to Z list of cars never sold in the United Kingdom. In fact, they did sell around 2,500 in Britain during a four year test period.

In spite of that, the outcome of slow sales was a cessation of this niche coupe over here. In addition, after introducing the Hyundai Elantra N and the Kona N in 2022, they stopped making the three-door Veloster hatchback.

Isuzu 117 Coupé

The list of Isuzu SUV models seems endless. But, this 117 coupe was one of the first Japanese cars with a Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) engine. It was also the world's first diesel-engined sports car - as well as the first from Japan with electronic fuel injection.

But, it was the Italian automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who claimed the accolade for the styling of the Isuzu 117 Coupé - a compact Gran Turismo type 2-door fastback.

Cars Not Yet Sold in the UK: Isuzu 117 CoupéDespite its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, they never sold it in Europe or the UK.

In the end, the multinational automobile manufacturer replaced it with the sporty Isuzu Piazza 3-door liftback in 1980.

So, it's fair to say adding any of the original high-speed touring cars to a list of rare and collectible vehicles will not be a misplacement.

The incredible reign of the Isuzu 117 Coupe started in 1968 and it lasted for several decades until it finally ended in 1981.

Imagine what might have happened if they had increased the number of units sold (86,192)! It could have rivalled several other classic coupes, such as the Ford Capri and the Toyota Celica.

Pro Tip: Another section overviews the Isuzu 4JJ1 engine specifications and explains why this Japanese auto manufacturer is world famous for producing a lineup of internal combustion engines (ICE) that are definitely built to last.

Kia Telluride

The Carnival, Sorento, and the Telluride rank among the biggest Kia 4x4 models available anywhere in the world.

But, despite being called a mid-size SUV (stateside), a length of almost five metres (196 inches) could be why it's unlikely to go on sale any time soon in the United Kingdom.

Taking that into consideration, there is no shortage of owners who wouldn't dream of giving up the benefits of seating for up to eight people, Dual Panoramic Displays, and 20-inch wheels.

Lada 4x4 Urban

Yes... Lada is still going strong! What's more, AutoVAZ (formerly known as VAZ and founded in the Soviet Union in 1966) has since built more than 20 million Ladas.

Vehicle owners in the United Kingdom registered more than 130,000 Ladas in the 1990s. So, why do some of them remain unsold in the present day?

Cars Never Sold in the UK: Lada 4x4 UrbanYou could say they're not recognised as being the most "cheerful" motor car to own. But, they are very cheap to buy.

There are those that still view the Lada 4x4 Urban as a weird kind of mash-up of the old and the new.

For example:

  • The wheel size is telling me "new car".
  • Yet, the A-pillar thickness definitely says "old car".

The official Lada 4x4 review promotes them as having comfort, style, and good off-road capabilities. These qualities are an important part of city driving and in bendy streets. The French Groupe Renault bought the Russian Lada brand in 2017.

Lada 4x4 Urban Specification

Engine and transmission 1.7-litre straight-four, five-speed manual, four-wheel-drive
Power/torque 62PS (61bhp) @ 5,000rpm/129Nm (94 lb ft) @ 4,000rpm
0-62mph 17.0 seconds
Top speed 88mph

Mazda Cosmo 110S

In fact, Mazda released their first car in the United Kingdom via Normand Garages in 1967. Since then, the Japanese car company has become a family favourite for a range of Mazda 4x4 models and crossovers and a few SUVs to boot.

By coincidence, Mazda also started producing the Cosmo in 1967. The first of which successfully launched the Wankel (rotary combustion) engine.

Mazda Cosmo 110SFor the most part, the Mazda RX-7 actually made the rotary engine famous. But, their Cosmo 110S sports coupe helped to launch its technical prowess.

In case you were wondering:

The Cosmo had a twin rotor motor that was capable of producing 110bhp. Hence, the "one hundred and ten" number in its title.

In 1968, the Cosmo 110S came to Europe to compete and actually raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Today, the exponential classic car age requirement has seen this prized collector's item increase in value. Some of the reasons behind its collectability include its rarity and it measures less than 117 centimetres high.

Besides, there are very few Mazdas that can claim to have herringbone and leather chairs, a Nardi wheel, and an original wooden gear knob as a selling point!

Mazda CX-9

In fairness, it wouldn't take much for the Japanese manufacturers to start bringing the Mazda CX-9 3-row mid-size SUV into the United Kingdom. They are already producing right-hand drive versions for Japan and for buyers in New Zealand.

Not only does the CX-9 tower above the Mazda CX-5 and the CX-60, these seven-seater SUVs would give the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Kia Sorento a good run for the money.

Mercedes-Benz GLK

This compact luxury crossover SUV first came out in the open at the Beijing Auto Show in 2008. Following on, the GLK-Class (Geländewagen Luxus Kompaktklasse) has become a firm favourite with Mercedes-Benz 4x4 aficionados.

It's fair to say that it competes with the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. But, they failed to offer the GLK with a steering wheel located on the right-hand side. Hence, sales in the UK as well as Australia are pretty much nonexistent.

In the end, you could also argue that they overcame these "wrong-sided" driveshaft issues by launching the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV and Coupe models from 2015.

Pro Tip: Check out another section for the full range of van models that Mercedes-Benz currently sells to keep business moving in the United Kingdom.

Nissan Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

The odd name wasn't the reason that it never saw the light of day in Britain. Instead, its outlandish styling, and costing double the Honda NSX, were ultimately the biggest deal breakers.

Nissan Skyline GT-R

There was a time when £80,000 would buy you a throaty Skyline GTR (moniker Godzilla) to thrash around the English countryside. But, it no longer meets EU noise regulation adopted by the United Kingdom.

Nissan Z

The Z comes with a limited-slip differential (LSD) and either a six-speed manual gearbox or a nine-speed auto. It's also more affordable than one of its main rivals - the Toyota Supra.

But, failing to meet emissions regulations is the principle reason cited by Nissan for not sending its latest Z sports car to continental Europe nor the United Kingdom.

Renault Espace

Renault's vast car range gained yet another expansion in 2014 with the unveiling of the reinvented Espace MPV-crossover. However, they considered the UK market as being too small to build them with the steering wheel on the right-hand side.

In other words, UK buyers have missed out on a practical 7-seater that some experts say competes with several other executive estate cars, including the Volvo V90 and the Audi A6 Avant

Renault Twingo

Even though Renault called it a day with UK Twingo sales back in 2019, there's still some perplexity as to why they're not offering the electric version over here.

The Twingo E-Tech is a good alternative to the Renault Zoe. It's cheaper, and it has an EV range up to 273 kilometres (170 miles).

Pro Tip: Check out our section titled "Electric Cars for Beginners" to learn which EVs are available in 2024 and how to find the best electric vehicle to suit your particular lifestyle.

Suzuki Alto Lapin

Suzuki has been manufacturing the Alto Lapin 5-door hatchback kei class car (also marketed as the Mazda Spiano) solely for the Japanese market since 2002.

Suzuki Alto LapinIn fairness, the boxy shaped Lapin (adopted from the French word 'rabbit') has been a roaring success with female buyers.

But, in the face of it, very few Japanese cars from this light motor vehicle category actually make it past the shores of East Asia.

Key takeaways...

The power comes from a 660cc three-pot engine and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox.

Without being too boxy, the upright styling mimics the Suzuki Jimny in many ways. They both share some focus on town driving and the Lapin comes with the all-important birds-eye view camera for parking.

Pro Tip: Check out the exciting range of Suzuki 4x4 and SUV cars and find out why they meet the lifestyle expectations of drivers UK-wide and beyond.

Toyota 2000GT

One of the reasons for manufacturing the limited-production (351 built) front mid-engine two-seat sports car was to rival some of the best in Europe during the late 1960s.

Nonetheless, it took the starring role of the Toyota 2000GT convertible (one of only two topless models) in the classic James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" for many to realise it was missing from sales lists in the UK.

Decades later, the Toyota 2000GT is without doubt one of the most valuable revered classic cars still held in esteem around the world.

Toyota Century SUV

The comprehensive lineup of Toyota 4x4 models and SUV cars has its fair share of full-size luxury vehicles and limousines as well - created mostly for the home-grown Japanese market.

Toyota Century SUV InteriorBut, Toyota has chosen not to export their closest rival to the Mercedes S-Class - the Century SUV.

It's true to say that they did export a few models from a previous generation between 1997 and 2017.

So, why did sales of the luxurious Toyota Century SUV flagship underperform outside of Japan, and especially here in the United Kingdom?

Yes... it's expensive (around £135,000). But, it boasts a 425bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine and it has a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Buyers generally accept that the Toyota Century is not so much about speed and performance. Instead, it's a niche vehicle built with luxury in focus. To prove a point, the massage seats in the rear and hand-crafted cabin were developed with chauffeur driving in mind.

Toyota Previa LE Supercharged

It is easy to describe the Toyota Previa LE Supercharged in the same vein as many of the other models in the large Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) range.

But, take a peek under the hood, and you'll find a supercharged 2.4-litre petrol engine. Combine this with all-wheel drive (AWD) and you have a superior juggernaut that can haul up to eight (8) people.

In the mid 1990s, Toyota decided to make the advanced technology and performance of the Supercharged model available in the United States - but not the United Kingdom. The reason? Creating stiff competition for Chrysler cars and SUVs could be the answer!.

Volkswagen Saveiro

There is a long list of VW SUV models for UK business owners and private users to choose from. But, the one that looks like a Polo pickup isn't one of them.

List of Unsold Cars in the UK: Volkswagen Saveiro Coupe UtilityThe Volkswagen Saveiro (one of the popular two-door coupé utilities) gets its roots and popularity from the Volkswagen Gol subcompact car.

Besides a spacious open rear loading bed, the two and five-seat Saveiro Pickups available, include the:

  • Cross
  • Single Cabin
  • Double Cabin
  • Extended Cab

The powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox are proving to be a winner overseas (especially Brazil and St Martin). But once again, the lack of right-hand drive versions available means the Saveiro seems destined to remain beyond our shores.

Related Information and Help Guides

Pro Tip: The main section contains information on the popular trend of buying 4x4s and SUVs with expert tips explaining how to determine the best model for your budget.

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