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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kinsmart Alfa Romeo 147 GTA and 2002 Toyota RAV-4 2-door





Here is a few red Kinsmart vehicles that are compact and were never sold in the U.S., the Alfa Romeo 147 hatchback and the two-door RAV-4.






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Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

The 147 is Alfa Romeo's smallest car in the lineup between 2000 and 2010 sharing family resembalance to the larger 156 line.  The lines are rounder while the V-shaped grille stll remain and on GTA models the added air scoops inside of the headlights improves on the look.  The GTA is the high-performance model of the line that features larger lower scoops in the front bumper, larger wheels and retuned suspension, revised rear bumper, and a 3.2L DOHC V6 247 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission.  The car was eventually replaced with the Giulietta that had mixed reviews on the front-end styling and did help create the short-lived Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans in the U.S.






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This red car looks very sporty in this color and with the faved V-shaped grille of Alfa's, but other area's look rather flat.  In addition to the grille with silver horizontal bars up front is the inner side scoops next to the round tri-headlight setups and a larger lower grille in the bumper.  On the sides the car looks like any typical 3-door hatchback with no signs of this car being a high-performance model, while the 5-hole wheels (an Alfa tradition) look rather flat in the silver color and the tires have too much tread for such a high-performance vehicle.  At the rear is round taillights, Alfa badging, and a lower bumper diffuser with dual-tipped exhaust that enhances the otherwise plain rear-end.  The base underneath shows off a few driveline details up front and a continuous line of the exhaust system.  Also another nice touch is the black Euro plates up front and in the rear.  The interior features seating for four in ribbed seats, with the rear seats occupied by luggage to hide the pullback motor.  As a nice contrast the dashboard is black to the otherwise gray interior with a rather tall black shift lever in the console.  The dashboard is a simple layout with detailed center controls and large gauges behind a 3-spoke steering wheel.  The 147 GTA looks nice, but for a performance model it looks too lame for this Kinsmart model (a few other diecast manufacturer's have capture the proper look of the GTA model).






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2002 Toyota RAV-4

Wanna know one of the most common small SUV's in diecast?  Yea, sure Jeep Wrangler is one of them, but other than that the RAV-4 has been the most common.  Sort of.  When I mean that I mean that any RAV-4 diecast model is made by a brand that does not sell much of diecast in the U.S. so finding one is a bit of a surprise.  In a future article I will profile two RAV-4's from SunnySide in the first-generation model, and also the Majorette RAV-4 convertible.  Kinsmart went for the second-generation model as a two-door as opposed to a few other brands that went for the four-door.  For 2002 the RAV-4 smooth out those awkward kinks of the first-generation with more mature styling and a better engine, while still offering that rugged SUV style that made the first-generation one of the most popular SUV's.  The difference for the U.S. is that the two-door is no longer offered, but in other countries it was still offered.  This was the last-generation before the RAV-4 went for a rather odd long-wheelbase third-row SUV before returning to its roots in the current fourth-generation.  The engine is a 2.4L DOHC I-4 that produced 158 horsepower through a 5-speed manual transmission.  The SUV is based on the Corolla and Carina platform with some Celica sharing in between.






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Starting off with a sporty red color the RAV still keeps the side graphics that were featured on the first-generation model.  The 5-spoke wheels look appropriate and odd at the same time considering these wheels were shared with the 1999 Power Wagon concept.  The front-bumper sticks out further with a larger grille and turn signal/foglights on the ends.  The large headlights are up on the hood and sit between the center black grille with Toyota logo.  The SUV has a smooth side profile with roof bars to give it more of an SUV look.  The rear has rounder taillight/signal light, and reverse lamp details with a right-side opening rear hatch and a spare tire cover with the RAV4 name on it.  As the base shows it has four-wheel drive system that is a more light-duty system than, say, a Jeep.  The interior, like the 147, has a black dashboard against a gray interior.  There is seating for four with the rear seat siting higher and offering luggage to hide the pullback motor.  The smoother dashboard still has that sporty feel with a 3-spoke steering wheel, tri-pod gagues, center stack with radio and HVAC controls, and the 5-speed shifter and parking brake on the center console.  While I have never driven the two-door, I have driven a 5-door 5-speed 2001 RAV-4 in the past and while it feels good to row your own gears the clutch was a tad bit sensitive so care was taken to smoothly release the clutch at launch without stalling.







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Whether SUV's or hatchbacks these versatile vehicles are great for the city and open roads, and despite their age these two are much sportier basic vehicles than what is currently offered on the roads today or in the future.






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