Toyota Starlet 1,5 Xr MT

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CAPE TOWN – Toyota’s B-segment hatchback has loved appreciable success on the native market since its introduction a few years in the past, however the 2022 mannequin 12 months replace of the Toyota Starlet has introduced with it plenty of enhancements that can little question additional its enchantment amongst these searching for an reasonably priced however distinctive compact runaround.

The place it suits in and what it goals to do

In essence, the Starlet is the Toyota-refined model of Suzuki’s Baleno B-segment hatchback and kinds the fourth prong within the firm’s B-segment line-up, alongside the likes of the Rumion MPV, City Cruiser compact crossover and Yaris. Whereas the broader mechanical strokes of the 2022 mannequin are similar to the mannequin it replaces (a lot of the platform and ancillaries have been carried over in revised kinds, for instance) it offered Toyota with a possibility to enhance upon areas of the outgoing mannequin that had met with blended reception from some corners. Particularly, a reasonably fundamental connectivity/infotainment system, a 1,4-litre engine that wished for some further energy and sure dynamic traits.

Toyota Starlet

A extra purposeful look

Clearly, a automobile’s mid-cycle refresh brings with it the chance to inject some aesthetic verve and the Toyota Starlet is not any totally different. Whereas the outgoing automobile sported a well-resolved design, it was somewhat conservative. The up to date Starlet, with its extra rakish sheet metallic and components comparable to extra horizontally-pronounced grille and headlamp remedy, sportier entrance air dam and hatch-mounted lens garnish to lend the brakelamps a broader and extra purposeful kind have gone some method to lending the beforehand safe-looking compact hatch a bit extra visible influence. A set of 16-inch alloy wheels in an eight-spoke design spherical out the updates to this Xr and Xs fashions.

Contained in the Xr mannequin, along with plenty of revised trim panels and patinas, essentially the most attention-grabbing change needs to be the up to date infotainment system. A bigger 9-inch touchscreen interface now options; its a crisp show upon which smartphone mirroring (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a rearview digital camera and different sub-systems will be simply accessed.

Toyota Starlet

A pinch extra punch and poise

Whereas completely serviceable and mechanically sturdy, the earlier Starlet’s naturally aspirated 1,4-litre petrol ‘4’s 68 kW and 130 N.m had been on the modest facet of the output spectrum. The up to date Toyota Starlet ushers within the 1,5-litre K15B engine from the City Cruiser. Mated with a five-speed guide gearbox, this unit develops an extra 9 kW and eight N.m of torque for whole outputs of 77 kW and 138 N.m. Whereas these will increase could appear modest, in a automobile as gentle because the Starlet they do equate to some welcome further grunt and the bigger engine appears much less burdened and extra refined than its forebear at motorway speeds. We didn’t handle to emulate Toyota’s 5,5 L/100 km claimed gasoline consumption on our mixed-condition drive, however the indicated 6,4 L/100 km is frugal nonetheless.

Our drive alongside Cape City’s Southern peninsula additionally highlighted a few of the adjustments which have taken place beneath the Starlet’s pores and skin. Whereas the earlier automobile was a cinch to pilot, it did have a few quirks that hampered it considerably; specifically a clutch that tended at chunk excessive on the pedal and trigger some lurch when altering gear shortly and a chassis that most popular a extra leisurely strategy. To this finish, Toyota has put in a brand new hydraulic clutch meeting that’s simpler to modulate and helps easy quicker shifts out. Revisions to suspension geometry and improved torsional rigidity at connecting hardpoints has additionally had a marked influence on dealing with. The physique roll and slight vagueness on the entrance have made method for a grippier feeling nose-in when cornering and lateral lean has been reined in neatly, making the up to date Starlet really feel extra agile and composed when tackling twistier sections of highway. A welcome inclusion throughout the Starlet vary is the addition of hill-start help throughout the vary.

Toyota Starlet

Loads of equipment and worth

Automobiles comparable to Starlet reside or die by the worth proposition they symbolize and the most recent Xr fares nicely on this regard. Along with the abovementioned up to date infotainment system, this mannequin additionally options the likes of rear parking sensors, computerized local weather management, electrically folding wing mirrors, cruise management and keyless entry and ignition as commonplace. The Xr additionally packs in such helpful security options as Isofix, ABS with EBD and stability management. Consider a 3-service/45 000 km service plan and 3-year/100 000 km mechanical guarantee at this mannequin’s sub-R300 000 sticker value – to not point out a broad supplier and servicing community – and the Starlet represents nice worth in its section.

Toyota Starlet


Whereas there was little to complain about within the earlier Starlet, it’s heartening to see Toyota has addressed a few of its powertrain and dynamic shortcomings whereas injecting a bit extra visible panache and tech right into a sensible and reasonably priced little bundle.



Mannequin: Toyota Starlet 1,5 Xr MT
Worth: R294 900
Engine: 1,5-litre, inline-four petrol
Transmission: 5-speed guide
Energy: 77 kW @ 6 000 r/min
Torque: 138 N.m @ 4 400 r/min
0-100 km/h: 11,2 seconds
Prime pace: 175 km/h
Gasoline consumption: 5,4-5,7 L/100 km
CO2: 127 g/km

Article written by Gareth Dean

Possessed of a pointy tongue and a jaundiced eye for many issues motoring, Gareth is CAR’s strolling anomaly. Schooled in Bristol, UK, skilled as a recreation ranger and with an unhealthy habit to Wikipedia, he’s an inexhaustible reserve of enjoyable, attention-grabbing details…