Toyota Starlet 2020 launch in Africa

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Toyota South Africa has launched its new Toyota Starlet 2020 which is simply a rebadged Suzuki Baleno. This comes after the two companies announced in 2019 that they have plans to collaborate to acquire a financial stake in each other’s operations, as part of a move towards a collaborative development programme.

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Aimed at trendy youngsters, the new Starlet comes in at 3 995 mm, 1 745 mm wide and 2 520 mm worth of wheelbase and sadly, becomes a successor to the Etios.

The new Toyota Starlet can be had either with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission both driving the front wheels.

Lunching in three trims, Xi, Xs and Xr, the base trim comes equipped with a manual transmission while the remaining two trims can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission. 

Facts about Toyota Starlet 2020

  • Price: R258 500 (October 2020)
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol
  • Gearbox: 5-speed manual
  • 0 to 100 kph: 10.9 sec
  • Fuel economy: 5.1 L/100 km (claimed)
  • ​Power/Torque: 68 kW/130 Nm
  • Luggage capacity: 345 to 1 075 litres.

Toyota Starlet 2020 Performance & Efficiency

The 1.4-litre, naturally aspirated petrol motor is now quite an old engine, but with a proven track record of excellent reliability. Just don’t expect fireworks in terms of its performance. The power figure is decent, but torque is very low (135 Nm), which results in much rowing through the gears on uphills, even in an unloaded car. Due to the lack of turbocharger, you can expect even more lacklustre performance up on the Reef…

That being said, the gearing of the 5-speed manual (a 4-speed auto is also available) is quite smart. First and 2nd gear are quite short, so the car is nippy off the line, making the most of the available torque. Top gear seems quite tall and serves to lower the engine speed to around 3 000 rpm at the national speed limit, which is impressive. During a long-distance drive the Starlet proved admirably quiet and comfortable at freeway speeds.

Toyota starlet 2020 interior - digitrends africa
(Photo by Cornel van Heerden)

The Xi comes 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 range-topping Xr model comes with chrome door handles and side mouldings, rear privacy glass, front fog lights, LED and Projector headlights with daytime running lights, side-mirror mounted indicators plus a roof spoiler. 

The Xi model is equipped with 15-inch steel wheels shod with 175-65R15 tyres and a space-saver spare wheel. Xs and Xr variants feature stylish turbine-shaped 16-inch alloy wheels with 185-55R16 rubber.

Moving to the interior, the spec level is amped up courtesy of a digital speedometer with colour MID, leather steering wheel with telescopic adjustment, park distance control (PDC), reverse camera, climate control and push-start operation.

Cruise control is also provided.

The Xi and Xs variants feature a double-DIN audio system with CD/Bluetooth/USB/Aux functionality, playing through 6-speakers.

Xr models offer a feature-rich touchscreen audio system complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration for navigation, telephony and music-streaming services.

Traditional USB, Bluetooth and MP3/Aux compatibility remains.  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. 

Safety of all Starlet models comes courtesy of ABS, EBD, Brake Assist (BA) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Automatic transmission models also include Hill Assist Control (HAC).

Toyota starlet launch in Kenya

Toyota Kenya will be launching the new Toyota starlet 2020 at Toyota Nairobi show room on 27th Octomber 2020.

Toyota starlet 2020 Launch in Kenya
Toyota Starlet 2020 launch in kenya
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