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Here Are Some Interesting Mexican Cars I Spotted in San Diego

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2017

One of the interesting treats you get when you spend a lot of time in San Diego, as I have recently, is that you get to see a lot of Mexican-market vehicles that aren't sold in the United States. For instance: I was in San Diego over Thanksgiving, and I saw two different very recent Land Rover Defender 110 models with Mexican license plates -- like from the 2013 or 2014 model year. This is a car I won't be able to drive in the United States until 2039 -- but someone else can drive it in the United States, right in front of me, with a Mexican license plate. Here are a few of the other interesting vehicles I spotted in San Diego over the last few weeks.

(Old) Ford Fiesta

(Old) Ford Fiesta

Although we've gotten the Ford Fiesta in the United States since the 2011 model year, it's been sold in foreign markets for decades. The vehicle pictured above is the fifth-generation Fiesta, which was sold in Mexico from 2003 to 2010, where it was undoubtedly offered with a wide range of underpowered engines. This is the least exciting kind of Mexican car; the one that totally blends in unless you know exactly what you're looking for.

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

Meanwhile, this is the most exciting kind of Mexican car: a brand-new Ford Ranger. The Ranger hasn't been sold in the United States since the 2011 model year, despite pickup enthusiasts clamoring for a new one -- but foreign markets have received this Ranger ever since then. It seems no matter where in the world I go, I can't escape these Rangers, as I see them in practically every country I visit -- except, of course, the United States. Oh, and the Ranger is the vehicle on the left. The vehicle on the right is a wonderful example of some Southern California local automotive culture.

Nissan Platina

Nissan Platina

The Nissan Platina is a tiny little subcompact car that's worse than a Nissan Versa. Sold in some markets as the Renault Symbol or Renault Thalia, it was apparently deemed too small and unprofitable to come to the United States. But by virtual of Renault's ownership of Nissan, the Platina is sold in Mexico as a Nissan; the Nissan brand is tremendously strong south of the border. According to Wikipedia, the Platina offers a wide variety of small 4-cylinder engines, none of which send this thing from zero to 60 in under 11 seconds.

Toyota Avanza

I first laid eyes on the Toyota Avanza a few weeks ago when I visited Dubai, as the taxi service in Dubai is split between about one-fifth Avanzas and four-fifths Camrys. I had never seen the Avanza before, but I love it: It's an awkwardly styled hatchback that sort of looks like a minivan. Apparently, it's on sale in Mexico, as I happened upon this one in Coronado, California, near San Diego. Engines are, once again, rather abysmal -- and every time I see the oddly tall Avanza, I get the sense I could just push it over with enough force.

Volkswagen Vento

In the U.S. Volkswagen world, the Jetta and Golf are the smallest models. But globally, Volkswagen offers several vehicles that are even smaller -- and the most popular is the Polo hatchback. The Vento you see above is effectively a sedan version of the Polo, offered in countries with a hankering for small, cheap cars -- but with a taste for sedans over hatchbacks, like the United States and unlike Europe. The Vento is a common sight on the roads around San Diego, and it offers all of 103 horsepower with no larger engine option. Yippee!

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here Are Some Interesting Mexican Cars I Spotted in San Diego - Autotrader