The new 2020 Toyota Starlet is here to replace the aged Etios
Toyota SA on Monday unveiled its new Starlet hatchback.
Built in collaboration with Suzuki (look closely and you'll notice that it's basically just a restyled Baleno), this fresh sub-B segment contender replaces the brand's popular but aging Etios in the battle against the Volkswagen Polo and Renault Sandero.
With its distinctive front and rear styling, the Suzuki-based Starlet is available from launch in three different guises.
First up is the entry-level Xi model that rides on 15-inch steel wheels and comes with a generous cache of standard features making it particularly good value for money. Electric side mirrors, a multi-function steering wheel, six-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth streaming and manual air-conditioning are all included in the sticker price. You also score an onboard computer plus electric front and rear windows.
The mid-level Xs has the same features but ups the visual ante with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Building on the Xi and Xs models, the flagship XR derivative sets itself apart visually with chrome-licked door handles and belt-line accents, a roof spoiler, rear privacy glass and an upgraded lighting package that comprises of LED projector headlamps, front foglamps and daytime running lights.
The cabin has also been enhanced with the addition of a leather-wrapped steering wheel with telescopic adjustment, automatic climate control plus a touchscreen infotainment system offering both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration for navigation, telephony and music streaming services. This system also offers an integrated reverse camera that takes the teeth out of tight urban maneuvering.
Other niceties exclusive to the XR include cruise control plus side and curtain airbags.
In terms of powertrain, all new Toyota Starlet derivatives come bolted to the same 1.4-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine pushing out 68kW and 130Nm worth of torque. This motor can be mated to either a five-speed manual or, in the case of the Xs and XR models, a four-speed automatic transmission. Manual Starlets will reach 100km/h in 10.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 180km/h. Their automatic siblings are slightly more lethargic, registering 11.6 seconds across the 0-100km/h dash and a top speed of 170km/h.
Good fuel economy is crucial these days, and Toyota claims the Starlet achieves between 5.1 and 5.4 l/100km, depending on the variant, meaning its 37-litre fuel tank should, on paper and in optimal conditions, provide an effective range of around 700km.
All Starlet models are equipped with safety and security equipment which includes active electronic aids such as ABS, EBD, Brake Assist (BA) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Automatic transmission models also include Hill Assist Control (HAC).
Xi and Xs models are fitted with driver and passenger airbags, while the XR variants, as mentioned before, also feature curtain and side airbags. Two ISOFIX points and a security system are provided across the board.
Pricing for the new Toyota Starlet range is as follows:
Starlet 1.4 Xi MT: R204 900
Starlet 1.4 Xs MT: R215 200
Starlet 1.4 Xs AT: R235 700
Starlet 1.4 XR MT: R258 500
Starlet 1.4 XR AT: R272 500
All come standard with a three-services/45,000 km service plan and a three-year/100,000 km warranty.
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