Here are the coolest cars you can import next year.
Thanks to the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, it's illegal to import a vehicle that was never federalized in the United States until it is 25 years old. With 2023 just around the corner, we wanted to take a look at all of the cool foreign vehicles that can finally be imported legally. The 2022 list included some standouts like the EK9 Honda Civic Type R, Holden Commodore, and Ford Puma, but this year promises to be even better.
As always, be sure to check the manufacture date, as vehicles built later in the calendar year will not be legally importable until then. So if a car were built in December 1998, it wouldn't be legal until December 2023.
Let's start with the big one. When most young gearheads hear Nissan GT-R, they think of the current R35-gen supercar, but those who've had a little more experience, follow automotive pop culture, know their JDM legends, or simply play a lot of video games, will know the Godzilla nameplate dates back to the R32-generation. Those same know-it-alls will know that the R34 is a god among mortals in the car world. But even the non-GT-R versions were great, and now those lesser variants are about to be legal to import in 2023.
JDM Nissan fans have been able to import the R32 and R33 generations for a few years now, but this is the first time the R34 has been available outside of a few MotoRex cars. The non-GT-R Skyline used an RB25DET NEO inline-six engine producing anywhere from 153 to 280 horsepower. Unlike the GT-R, its power went to the rear wheels only.
Next year in 2024, the R34 Skyline GT-R will be legal, and Godzilla will wreak havoc in America, but until then, a regular variant could be just the base car you want for an epic JDM drift weapon.
Another year, another Mitsubishi Evo. Several of our importable vehicle lists have feature versions of Mitsubishi's hottest sedan, the Lancer Evolution. This year, the Evo V (five) is importable. The Lancer Evo V features the same 2.0-liter turbocharged 4G63 four-cylinder engine found in the Evo IV, but the turbocharger was improved to produce more torque. Power stayed the same at 276 hp, but the torque increased to 275 lb-ft. A big wing, iconic styling, and all the rally-bred performance you could ever want make the Evo V an icon worth owning.
Did you know Honda used to apply its hot Type R badge to more than just the Civic? The Honda Accord Type R debuted in 1998 with a 2.2-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 209 hp. Power went out to the front wheels via a slick five-speed manual transmission. Importing an Accord Type R will make you the unique star of any JDM car show. Honda fans might also enjoy the Prelude Type S, a Japan-only special that bumped the four-cylinder's output to 217 hp.
The first car on our list to not hail from Japan, the 3200 GT was one of many Maserati models that the US wasn't able to enjoy in its full glory. Though we received its replacement, the Maserati Coupe, it was hampered by the single-clutch F1 transmission that feels ancient by today's standards. The 3200 GT is worth importing for several reasons. First, it was offered with a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission, not the wretched F1 box. Second, it used an interesting 3.2-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 365 hp. Finally, it came with those then-high-tech LED taillights that were never offered in the US market.
This pick is sure to ruffle some feathers, but hear us out. Want to grab everyone's attention at the local Cars & Coffee? Show up in a Fiat Multipla. Known as being one of the ugliest cars ever produced, the Multipla has reached the point where it is now ironically cool. Fiat's engineering was impressive here, as the Multipla could pack six passengers and their stuff in a compact package. It's an oddball conversation piece that the whole family can enjoy together.