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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tomica Subaru BRZ and Levorg




This is the first of many Tomica reviews that will be coming over the course of the year, ranging from newer castings to a few vintage ones.  Now since I profiled the Subaru 1:64 set from AeroPro there's a few models still missing and one of them is the BRZ.  The BRZ is always undershadowed by the Toyota 86 and that's no coincidence since both cars look the same.  Here Tomica is one of the diecast manufacturers to offer the BRZ, and if that's not enough how about this turbocharged Impreza-based wagon called the Levorg.







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The BRZ is Subaru's version of the Toyota/Subaru collaboration with the 86 and BRZ.  Despite taking longer than Toyota to reveal the exterior styling of the car (as a matter of fact for about a year Subaru toted around an invisible car that showcases the engine and drivetrain layout before the final version was unveiled) the end result was pretty much the same as the 86 with a few slight differences.  It is the only car in the Subaru lineup to offer rear-wheel drive and no all-wheel drive option.  The BRZ has a revised front bumper, different headlight layout, clear taillights, and more content inside ranging from navigation system to pushbutton start.  The engine is the same 2.0L DOHC flat boxer 4 that produces 200 horsepower and goes to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.  All of the hardware underneath is credited by Subaru while Toyota went for the styling and handling characteristics.









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The Tomica version starts out in the signature blue color with blacked-out 4-spoke wheels with a wider track than the narrower Tomica standard tires.  The front has a Subaru badge near the hood and a revised lower grille layout with standard-fare rectangular signal lights and round foglights.  The sides and rear look very familiar to the 86 though it lacks the 86 badges on the front fender vents, clear taillights instead of red versions, and a rather large decklid rear spoiler.  The base showcases the drivetrain layout and the exhaust system with most of the engine area covered off.  Tomica's signature doors open to a right-hand drive cockpit that has seating for four, 3-spoke steering wheel behind three-pod gauges, and a flat dashboard with controls in the center.  The downside of opening parts is the door hinges cutting off the ends of the dashboard.  The working suspension is a nice touch and does not affect the handling much.  If that's not enough there's a 2017 refreshed version coming in May alongside the 2017 86 now available by Tomica.





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On the other hand say you want practicality with performance then look no further than the Levorg.  Standing for LEgacy reVOlution touRinG it shares the same platform with the Impreza, Legacy, and WRX lines.  While most styling is based on the Impreza line the wagon bodystyle is unique to the Levorg and is shared with the Legacy wagon.  The powertrains consist of two turbocharged flat-4 motors, the largest a 2.0L that makes 296 horsepower through, unfortunately, a CVT automatic transmission (the only transmission offered) and through Subaru's all-wheel drive system.  Still this wagon is credited for being a super fast and affordable wagon with the hertiage of the WRX line.  However, I wish I could say the same for this Tomica version.





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It's a rareity to get such a bad casting out of the bunch, especially for Tomica, and we've lost things like dashboards and metal bases but still enjoy the cars, yet that is not the case for the Levorg.  For starters the standard Tomica rims look rather basic for such a performance car.  The front-end has the WRX's headlights, large grille with Subaru badge, hood scoop, and lower bumper with integrated signal and foglights.  From the side it looks like a standard 5-door wagon, while the rear with large taillights, rear spoiler and dual exhausts.  The rear and rear side quarter windows are blacked out for no apparent reason.  Here an opening rear hatch would work wonders because up front the hood opens up to reveal two large holes for the hood's J-hooks, leaving room for only the intercooler in the center and nothing else!  The interior is very similar to the Impreza with nicely laid out controls, 3-spoke steering wheel, bolstered front seats, and plenty of room in the rear for three people and cargo.  However, what a disappointment for a performance wagon to not offer a six-speed manual transmission that is used in the WRX!  Finally the base shows off the all-wheel drivetrain.





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These two had high hopes to be some impressive Tomica castings but in the end they felt underwhelmed: the BRZ thanks to the Toyota 86 that overshadows it and the Levorg for lack of proper wheels and underhood detailing.

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