- Model: Toyota Starlet 1.4 XR
- Engine: 1.4 Litre 4-cylinder N/A petrol
- Power & Torque: 68 kW & 130 Nm
- Transmission: 5-speed Manual
- Fuel consumption: 5.1Litre / 100 km (Claimed)
- Price: R258,500
The exterior receives a facelift, smoother curves lines. The front-end showcases a new three-dimensional grille with a chrome strip bar flowing around the middle and into the headlight, boosting the look of the car. Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are fitted as standard on the XR model as well as 16-inch diamond cuts alloy wheels with black and silver contrasting. Sporty-looking spoiler fitted at the back with chrome beltline trim on the tailgate adding to the look of the car.
Interior and Practicality
Inside the Toyota Starlet XR, everything feels in place and well built. Although the massive use of hard plastic around the cabin, you would expect its squeaks and rattles, no. Every panel and trims feel pretty solid. Fitted with cloth seats which I found to be fairly comfortable (no complaints)with a blue and black theme. side airbags on both front seats and height-adjustable for the driver seat driver.
The XR features a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free control. And a leather central armrest with a very small compartment (Can hardly fit a phone). Also equipped standard with a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system boasting AM and FM radio with Bluetooth, USB MP3 playback, Android Auto, and Apple car play compatible. Other interior features include an electric window all-round, automatic climate control, 12V power socket, 1x AUX port, and 1x USB port.
Sitting at the back appeared to not be as comfortable as the front, especially for taller passengers with over 1.85m of height a bit of struggle can. Be encountered when it comes to headroom.
Fairly spacious with 339 Litres of claimed luggage capacity, the access to the boot space is a bit challenging because of the sink-in design, which requires you to lift your Bag high up to get in or out of the boot which can be a bit difficult of a heavy object. The boot space can be further extended by coding the rear seats to 40:60 splits.
As for safety the Starlet XR comes fitted with 6 airbags, 2 front airbags for both driver and passenger with side seat airbags, and side curtain airbags along with ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, central locking, ABS EBD with brake assist
How does it drive?
Powered Suzuki’s well-known K14B, a fuel-efficient 1.4L petrol engine that develops 68kW and 130Nm of torque and is paired to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. My test unit was fitted with the 5-speed manual transmission which was smooth and very easy to use.
This engine and transmission combination somehow felt much smoother and easier to operate than the one found in the Vitara Brezza/ Toyota Urban Cruiser. The figures may sound a bit shy but they do work for the Baleno, especially for its size and lightweight of just under a ton (915kg). The gear ratio is well between gears are well spaced, You may experience a bit of struggle when tackling steep inclines from time to time but a couple of downshifting will get you going without an issue.
After driving both in city traffic and on highway roads, I managed an average fuel consumption of 5.6L/100km which is very impressive, considering that Toyota, or should I say Suzuki claim’s the Fuel consumption at 5.1L/100km for the manual and 5.4L for the automatic transmission. This means the Baleno is very light on fuel.
Being a budget car you wouldn’t expect much from it. however, the Starlet somehow offers a very pleasant driving experience, given its price and amount of features available as standard. It’s definitely a competitive product in its segment and deserves to be shortlisted in the potential purchases list.
Pricing and Aftersales
Toyota Starlet 1,4 Xi (Manual) : R204 900
Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xs (Manual) : R215 200
Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xs (Automatic) : R235 700
Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xr (Manual) : R258 500 (Tested)
Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xr (Automatic) : R272 500
sold with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and a 3-service/45 000 km service plan.
Images: Toyota South Africa