Part of what made the original Transformers toys so cool could have in part had to deal with the scale between certain Generation 1 series 1 Autobots and Decepticons. Optimus and the first wave of Autobots, and the Decepticon Seeker Jets all shared a scale that allowed for imaginary pilots. The "minibots" were kinda cool as the little brothers to the Autobots. And Megatron, Soundwave and his cassettes being to scale with the real world worked somehow given how cool they were portrayed in the cartoon and comic book. Later waves varied the scale, although if you consider the Insecticons and Dinobots to be "mecha" then they too fit in scale with those imaginary pilots. (Aside: Those pilots did exist in the pre-Transformers toys called Diaclone or Inchman in Japan, they were eliminated from the Transformers story arc when the bots themselves became the heroes and required no drivers or pilots.)
I migrated over to G.I.Joe collecting somewhere around the time of Transformers the Movie. So I really missed alot of what happened later in the Transformers G1 toy line but I was around long enough to see the introduction of Deluxe Insecticons and "gestalt" Combiner teams. I owned both the Arialbots and Combaticon teams. When I left Transformers it was basically a battle between Autobots and Decepticons. I totally passed on Generation 2 Transformers, where I was not pleased to see Megatron portrayed as a tank, although it makes alot more sense then being a gun if you really think about it. I vaguely remember the G2 Cyberjets and "Go-bots" hitting the dump bins at Kay Bee around the time of the launch of Beast Wars. Little did I suspect I would be such a fan of them and the jets from Kay Bee's exclusive Machine Wars. Maybe because they were new molds in the spirit of G1. I was never a fan of Beast Wars. When the series evolved into Beast Machines and the Maximals took on a more "Cybertronian" (futuristic) form and faced off against Vehicons, there were glimmers of the return of Autobots vs. Decepticons.
Then with Robots in Disguise we saw the Autobots return, but pitted against a mix of opponents including Predacons. I really loved the car brothers from RID. They were three sleek modern actual earth cars that very nearly matched the scale of the original G1 series 1 cars. I didn't really collect Universe/Classics/Generations as their release was really all over the map both scale-wise and release/date/order-wise.
So as I am currently rebuilding my Car Robots 2000 and RID collections, it dawns on me that the majority of the Movie Trilogy figures were also in scale with the RID and G1 cars. You may ask, why is this only dawning on me just now and not back in 2007. I think it is because the robot modes of the Movie Trilogy characters were so ... how should I put this... divergent from any past incarnations, that I really didn't think of Barricade chasing down Sideburn, but now that seems cool. I'm glad I stockpiled a bunch of Mechtechs deluxe class vehicles from the third movie from Family Dollar... I got to go home and open some toys ;) Or maybe I should pair up my already open cyberjets/machine wars jets and my G2 go-bots /RID spychangers to show how they are similar to the battle between G1 S1 cars and jets.