based on Toyota’s 2001 concept Sport Utility Vehicle is one of the latest new
castings to appear in the First Editions line.
The Toyota RSC “Rugged Sport Coupe” debuted at the 2001 Chicago Auto Show.
According to information on the Toyota’s website, the RSC was developed by CALTY
Design Research in Newport Beach, California. The vehicle was developed as
a combination of a sports car and off-road utility vehicle, aimed at attracting
the young new-car buyers. The four-wheel drive concept is based on the RAV4
platform, and features a sparse racing-car type cockpit, integrated GPS receiver
and carbon-fiber racing seats. The rear seats also fold down to increase
the rear cargo area. The vehicle, if developed as a vehicle in the regular
line, will be marketed at an affordable price to the target consumer market.
The dimensions of the First Editions model appear to closely match those of the
Toyota concept. The diecast body is painted silver enamel and sits over a
black plastic chassis. The relief on the body is faithful to the prototype,
with all body panel lines and small details represented. Even the side window
trim is represented, although it is silver and not highlighted in black as on the
full sized vehicle. An interesting choice in the design of the model is the
multi-color tampo printing of the body marker lights and taillights instead of a
paint mask. While this is an attempt to match the intricate design scheme of
the lights on the real car, it might have been a better choice not to try to simulate
it with tampos, as the effect does not work well. There is also the problem of
keeping the tampos aligned, as the passenger-side taillight on my example was both
out-of-register and off-center. The detail on the underside of the chassis
is good and seems to be accurate. The interior appears to be gray plastic
with good detail, but it is difficult to see again due to the glass formed of dark
smoked plastic. The headlights and rear cargo lid are part of the window
component. While the Toyota herald is tamped on the nose, the ubiquitous Hot
Wheels flame logo surprisingly is nowhere to be found.
What is most notable upon seeing the Toyota RSC is the appearance of a new
wheel design. A modified version of the standard five-spoke face has been
introduced on the construction tire. This is a welcome change to the saw-blade
hub construction tire, which has been in use since the original construction tire was
retired some years ago. It is one of at least three new wheel designs that are
to debut this year. The model currently is manufactured in Malaysia.
Overall, the Toyota RSC is an excellent visual representation of the actual
concept vehicle. The model should run well on the track - the center of gravity
is good, and the construction tires always track well due to the thin center ridge
being the only surface to touch the track. The model doesn’t do anything for me
except fill a spot on the First Editions roster, but it certainly isn’t a poor effort
by Mattel. Hopefully the next variation will feature clear glass so the interior
detail can be appreciated.