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1982 Holden Camira #1

Sharing the Platform: Ups and Downs

Fiat uncompromisingly unveiled 124 Spider, a two-seater roadster based on Mazda MX-5 platform, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Totally European appearance and some significant exterior changes have defined the Italian version in new color shades and sportier lines. Commonly, sharing the automotive platform is rather an each-way chance, resulting both the successes and failures.

Successes

Fiat 124 Spider and Mazda MX-5

Though 124 Spider and MX-5 Mazda Miata obtain the same basic platform, it’s not difficult to get they seemingly look like twin cars. However, a keen car enthusiast surely notices some crucial changes Fiat made to avoid such twin-looking from its sibling model. It comes to the exterior changes first and foremost. No one can deny the fact Miata offers sportier and much sharper shades though Spider features the key differences regarding its reversed styling in terms of longer overhangs and larger headlights. The sister cars do differ in the dimensions and weight: 124 Spider is a bit heavier, longer and wider providing more cargo space than MX-5. Besides that, Fiat features a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine and produces more HP (actually 160) than Mazda which obtains 2.0-litre Skyactive power engine.

Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ

Being near-identical sister cars, Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ sports cars share the modified Impreza platform and feature the same drivetrain. The car experts can notice the GT86 looks more aggressive while the BRZ offer a plainer, purer appearance. As for the interior design, Subaru offers a simpler inside look than a Toyota model, with its red-leathered Alcantara design. The same pricing, the same paint palette, almost the same technical specs (Toyota is a bit lighter, BRZ is a bit faster – but Gosh, a bit!). The only differences are in the driving details.

Renault Twingo vs Smart ForFour

First-gen Smart four-seat model shared his platform with Mitsubishi Colt and actually faces the sales failure. New-gen ForFour Edition model with a manual gearbox and completely changed interior is based on all-new Renault Twingo Platform, a rear-drive and rear-engined hatchback. Cooler or cheaper, that is the question. Twingo produces 90bhp with the lowest price of £11,965 while the ForFour with the same bhp will cost you £12,160.

Mercedes-Benz GLA and Infiniti Q30

The Los Angeles Motor Show opened the doors for QX30, a new Infinity compact crossover. The automotive novelty is based on Mercedes-Benz MFA platform (GLA and A-Class models are built on the same powertrain architecture too). Q30 four-door hatchback shares not only the platform but the same engine – it comes to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 208hp.

Failures

Saab 9-3 and Cadillac BLS

Having proven to be an absolute marketing failure, sharing the platform between Sweden 9-3 Saab and Cadillac BLS model looks like not a better idea for sales. GM-owned BLS appears as a slightly restyled 9-3 compact four-door sedan for the European market, with Caddy’s turbocharged V6 engines producing up to 250bhp and a Saab gearbox.

Aston Martin Cygnet vs Toyota iQ

Luxury Aston Martin Cygnet, an eco-friendly restyled model in two Limited Edition versions, failed on sales. Being based on the Toyota iQ platform, Cygnet differs slightly from a pumped-up compact Toyota city car in terms of legendary AM interior only. Too much pricey (roughly $50,000) for such a famous V12-powered name, isn’t it?

Volkswagen Routan vs Chrysler Town & Country

If dealing with Chrysler Town&Country Edition model, one can hardly fail to notice some familiar Routan traits in terms of basic appearance, the design shapes and original basic engine. In fact, the VW seven-passenger van is based on the previous-gen Chrysler model, featuring, however, the new drivetrain and 3.6-liter V-6 engine. The Routan was discontinued after only several sales years.