By Khulekani Dumisa
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Yes, the new Toyota Starlet is based on the Suzuki Baleno and comes to replace both the Toyota Etios and (possibly) the Yaris in Mzansi.
Upfront, the all-new Toyota Starlet spots a v-shaped front grille (in Toyota-specific finishing) with centrally-mounted Toyota insignia. These are joined by two vertically-arranged headlamps with chrome inlay. A trapezoidal lower air dam is flanked by stylised fog lamp housings in higher models.
The side profile features contour-following upper and lower crease lines which are complemented prominent wheel arches for a wider stance. Finishing off the exterior design are colour-coded exterior mirrors.
At the rear, large LED tail lamps with red and translucent accents dominate although the stylish chrome garnish strip and trapezoidal indent in the lower bumper section also ensure that the Starlet looks the part.
The Xi model is equipped with 15”-steel wheels and a space- saver spare wheel. Xs and Xr variants feature turbine-shaped 16”-alloy wheels.
The Toyota Starlet comes in three flavours, the Xi, Xs and Xr. This follows the symbols used across Toyota’s other passenger-car ranges. Toyota says, despite serving as the entry point to the Starlet range, the Xi model is generously specced, featuring air-conditioning, electric power steering, dual 12-volt power outlets, electric windows, tilt-adjustable steering column, 60/40 split rear seats, power-adjustable side mirrors and remote central locking. The Xs model adds alloy wheels to the ensemble.
The flagship Xr models receive a more rounded package, comprising chrome door handles and side mouldings, rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, LED + Projector headlamps with daytime running lights (DRL), side-mirror mounted indicators and a roof spoiler. Inside of the Xr, the spec level includes a digital speedometer with colour MID, leather steering wheel with telescopic adjustment, park distance control (PDC), reverse camera, climate control and push-start operation and cruise control.
A chunky Toyota three-spoke steering wheel incorporating steering switches and cruise control (where equipped) sets the car apart from the Baleno. Other than that, the centre of the dashboard adopts the same V-shape of the Baleno housing the infotainment and air conditioning.
Xi and Xs models feature a double-DIN audio system with CD/Bluetooth/USB/Aux functionality, playing through 6-speakers. Xr models offer a touchscreen audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Traditional USB, Bluetooth and MP3/Aux are also on offer. Reverse camera monitoring is also embedded within the infotainment system.
All Starlet models are also equipped with the Toyota Connect telematics system which includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and complimentary 15Gb data. Once linked to their profile, customers can manage their vehicle via the MyToyota App.
The interior keeps the same space as Baleno and based on our experience with that car, the interior is of good quality, has space and is comfortable.
All Starlet models come with safety and security equipment which include 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 (D+P) airbags, while the Xr variants also feature Curtain and Side airbags (C+S). Two ISOFIX points and a security system are provided across the board.
The Starlet is powered by Suzuki’s frugal and naturally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine which makes 68 kW and 130 Nm and comes paired with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Consumption sits between 5.1 and 5.4 l/100 km depending on variant. The car gets a 37-litre fuel tank and provides an effective range of over 700km on a single tank.
The new Starlet is priced as follows:
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xi: R204,900
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xs: R215,200
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xs AT: R235,700
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xr: R258,500
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xr AT: R272,500
Prices include a 3-services/45,000 km service plan as well as a 3-year/100,000 km warranty.
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