The new Suzuki-built Toyota Starlet is set to launch in South Africa very soon (we broke the news at the start of the month) and we’ve laid our hands on local pricing.

Interestingly, our sources suggest the Starlet will replace both the Etios hatchback (which has gone out of production in India) and the XP150-generation Yaris in South Africa. The latter, though, is yet to be confirmed.

Scheduled to hit the market on 21 September 2020, the new Starlet will arrive as a rebadged Suzuki Baleno, imported from India where it’s built by Maruti Suzuki and known as the Glanza. The Baleno-based model is one of a number of “joint projects” between the two Japanese automakers.

So, how much are you looking at here? Well, the Starlet range will comprise five variants at launch. The base Xi model (with steel wheels) will start at R204 900, offered exclusively in five-speed manual form.

The mid-tier Xs (riding on 16-inch alloys), meanwhile, will be priced at R215 200 when fitted with a manual gearbox and R235 700 when specified in four-speed automatic guise.

Finally, the range-topping Xr trim level – which is tipped to include items such as a touchscreen and reversing camera plus extra airbags (taking the tally from two to six) – will likewise be available in manual and auto form, priced at R258 500 and R272 500, respectively.

Interestingly, the three-strong local Baleno range runs from R221 900 to R274 900, so the base Starlet undercuts its GL-badged Suzuki sibling by some R17 000. We’ve yet to see detailed specifications, however, so there may well be some standard equipment differences (and it's not yet clear whether Toyota will match Suzuki's four-year/60 000 km service plan).

Power for the SA-spec Starlet will come from Suzuki’s K14B engine, a naturally aspirated 1,4-litre petrol unit sending 68 kW and 130 N.m to the front axle via either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. So, exactly like the Baleno, then.

Like the Suzuki, the Starlet measures 3 995 mm long, with a width of 1 745 mm and a wheelbase of 2 520 mm. The most obvious differences between it and the Baleno on which it’s based are the tweaked grille design and slightly different front bumper.

As a reminder, the outgoing Etios hatch range starts at R191 800 and runs through to R221 500, so the new Starlet will plug that gap quite nicely. The Yaris line-up, however, kicks off at R264 200 and tops out at R327 700, so if it leaves the local line-up there’ll be a fair jump to the R369 100 entry-level Corolla hatch (a space to be filled with crossovers, perhaps?).

Toyota’s Starlet badge, of course, dates back to 1973 when the original was introduced. The fifth and final generation went out of production in 1999. Interestingly, the Starlet Glanza offered in Japan was billed as the “sports version” of this final generation.

Pricing:
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