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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hot Wheels Tesla Model X and Matchbox Fiat 500X




SUV's are all the rage today, especially in the U.S.  What started out as rugged off-road vehicles have turned to car-based tall wagons and now into sporter and alternative fuel versions.  The latest car companies to make SUV's comes from two that are small and normally do not have an SUV, but with increased demand for them both have to have one.







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Hot Wheels Tesla Model X

The star of 2015 for both Mattel divisions was the Tesla brand making a big entrance with the highly-praised all-electric Model S.  The car has a sleek coupeline while still offering loads of room inside with seating for seven (the two rear seats face backwards like an old station wagon of the 1960's and 1970's).  Plus there was a sizeable trunk at the front where the engine would normally sit.  Different models offer different battery and motor output and should the customer want to upgrade to a more powerful motor they can without changing out the car thanks to software updates.  The Model S is definitely more practical than the Model R, or Roadster, that was based on the Lotus Elise platform and offered no practicality at all.







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Today the Model X is Hot Wheels third, yes third, Tesla model and one that hopes to do two things: erase the bad reception of Hot Wheels version of the Model S that had a more sportier look and the controversial upslope front chin spoiler as compared to the stock and beautifully done Matchbox version.  The real Model X shares a lot with the Model S to the point that some wonder if it was worth the wait for this model: both have seating for seven, all wheel drive offered, same practicality, and price range.  Styling is very familiar to the Model S with headlights that now feature new LED running lights, a lack of a blacked-out faux grille replaced with a simple Tesla badge, and then Hot Wheels slipped on some sporty ground effects with a revised front bumper with larger lower air intake and vertical side scoops.  The Model X differs from the S in the side profile where the greenhouse is much taller to simulate an SUV.  Here you'll find more lower ground effects, new torqued wheels from Mattel that are used on all electric vehicles in the Hot Wheels range and look very good on this vehicle, and note the door handles front and rear that meet up with each other: the rear doors open upward like a gullwing, but unlike a gullwing the door's side panel can be adjusted to open even in a tight parking spot hence the falcon wing designation for the doors.






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The interior shows off the same look as the S with the large center touch screen to operate most of the car, digital gauge cluster, three spoke steering wheel, and vast sunroof that fills the entire roof area.  The rear seats now face forward and it seems like there should be more cargo space than the S; however, the rear seats are fixed because they need to be sturder in a crash since the complicated falcon wings lack the stiff body structure of a normal car-based SUV.  The lack of cargo flexibility and those rear doors that can malfunction and be slow to operate are the major criticisms for this car.  Out back the rear taillights, flared fenders, and charging port doors are also shared with the Model S, but the X has a taller and flat-faced rear with a rear spoiler on the rear hatch.  The look of this Hot Wheels Model X is way better than the Model S execution because here the X needs the upgraded look more than the S and plus there's no competition from its Matchbox relative.  Oh, and yes it has two electric motors, front and rear, battery pack on the floor, and yes it's really fast!






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Matchbox Fiat 500X

With the hype of the Fiat 500 brand returning in the past decade lots of diecast manufacturer's have gotten into the game, even Hot Wheels, but somehow Matchbox has not catched the fever, so this new Fiat 500 is long-overdue but even better its a model that is rugged (what Matchbox needs in their line) and so far no one else has done this casting.  Later this year you'll see more replica's of the 500X's platform mate the Jeep Renegade, yet Matchbox is the only company to have the 500X for now.  This is a major upgrade to the Fiat line where they've been stuck selling small 500 in the U.S. and the 500L looks awkward and not a true SUV.  The 500X enters the SUV segment with its own unique styling, again based on the 500 line, but with much more proper curves than the ungainly 500L.  Powertrains are shared with the Renegade and start with the 1.6L MultiAir turbo I-4 or the 2.4L SOHC I-4 that produces 180 hp. and 175 Ib-ft of torque through a 6-speed manual or 9-speed automatic transmission.  A front strut and rear multilink suspension is joined by an optional full-time all-wheel drive system, but don't expect this SUV to hit the really rough stuff that a Jeep can do.







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This Matchbox version looks odd from some angles and looks short on features, but a closer look reveals the excellent details that Matchbox is known for.  The dark green SUV has a roof rack that looks ready to haul additional stuff that the small cargo area cannot hold.  The front has large elliptical headlights, signal/running lights below, Fiat badge in the middle, and a lower bumper that is more rugged, but I added silver trim and foglights to complete the Trekking package look.  On the sides the multi-spoke wheels look right at home while the beltline nicely wraps around the wheels.  The roofline has that 500 arch to it despite giving up cargo space for style.  The rear has large taillights, 500X badge trim on the hatch, and lower bumper where I added the silver trim and reflector lamp details.  Thanks to so much information the base barely shows what this SUV is: does it have two or four wheel drive? is it an auto or manual transmission?  I guess its up to you and make your own decision.  The interior has a more traditional SUV layout compared to the radical layout of smaller 500's.  The steering wheel sits ahead of a dual gauge pod with digital center information, touch screen radio and HVAC controls in the center, and optional color trim inserts on the dash.  The shifter is more prominently placed on the center console, and now there's room for four people to sit comfortably.  However, the placement of the rear rivet post goes through the rear seat so Matchbox deeply tinted the windows to cover the interior.  It may look like it has no interior but it does surely have one.








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Both are vastly different in execution and are not likely to be big sellers but both are nicely done SUV's from Mattel in their own niche (for now) that no one else can claim.


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