The new Toyota Starlet

Launched in September 2020, the Toyota Starlet was met with rapturous applause and instantly cemented itself within the highly-competitive B-segment in the passenger car market. It's combination of stylish good looks, traditional hatchback layout, comprehensive specification level and impressive frugality at the pumps, earned the Starlet top marks amongst customers.

The new Starlet promises to deliver even more, on all fronts. The front styling ups the visual ante with sleek headlamps, unified by a sleek chrome 'brow' and prominent lower air dam - creating a signature Toyota look. Wide-mounted fog lamps replete with C-shaped trim, add to the overall appeal.

The side profile echoes that of the outgoing model, with well-proportioned elements and surface detailing. Blacked-out A-pillar and chrome waistline trim, draw your eyes across the silhouette, which terminates in a sloping roofline with sporty roof spoiler, including a high-level brake light. The body-coloured side view mirrors now also feature built-in turn signal lamps.

The aft view features stylish two-piece rear light clusters and a broad, chrome tailgate garnish which completes the sporty yet elegant profile.

A revised interior design features swooping accent lines and multi-hued detailing, with a large centrally-mounted infotainment screen and easy-to-read instrument binnacle. Here designers focussed on creating a stylish design while maintaining excellent ergonomics.

The upper facia incorporates a striking, metallic grey surround, which extends from the centrally-mounted ventilation outlets to the passenger-side air vent. Below this, the dark blue panel trim echoes the door panel trim - creating a cohesive interior design.

New front seats feature an improved contour focussing on lateral and shoulder support, additional bolstering and two-tone accents to complement the interior. A centre console with adjustable centre armrest aids front passenger comfort, while the interior is equipped with multiple cup and bottle holders for added convenience.

The rear seats feature enhancements too, with improved thigh and shoulder support. Spaciousness and comfort remain a hallmark of the new Starlet. A 60/40 split seatback provides the option to expand the 314-litre boot space and create even more utility.

The sporty, three-spoke steering wheel includes matching grey metallic inserts and a 'flat-bottom' edge, large Toyota insignia and conveniently-placed steering switches - to provide the perfect driver interface.

The newcomer also gets a boost in performance with the adoption of a larger 1.5-litre K15B engine (as employed in the Urban Cruiser), replacing the outgoing 1.4-litre mill. This enhances performance by 9kW (for a total power output of 77kW), while the torque receives an 8Nm amplification to take it to a max of 138Nm. The 1.5-litre engine employs a traditional 16-valve layout and VVT-i to offer a great balance of torque, willingness to rev and fuel efficiency.

Performance figures clock in at 11,2 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint with the top speed registering 175 km/h. Despite the increase in performance, the fuel index remains low, ranging between 5.4 and 5.7 l/100 km while CO2 emissions check in at 127 to 133 g/km.-MOTORPRESS