Toyota trifecta: 3 models to satisfy your lifestyle and mobility requirements
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JOHANNESBURG - Over the past year, Toyota South Africa has released three key competitors in the compact segment, covering hatchback and SUV sectors. Both the Agya and the Starlet aim to appeal to hip and trendy types (young and old) who simply must have a new car, but they don't want to break the bank by spending more than they should on a vehicle in these challenging economic times. The compact crossover Urban Cruiser is also aimed at individuals who want something fresh and exciting, value-oriented at heart, and with the ability to tackle a plot road or two on the weekend. If you're looking for a new vehicle, one of these Toyota products might be just the thing for you...
Based on Toyota's proven sub-compact platform that is used in many parts of the world across a variety of the company's brands, the Toyota Agya measures in at 3660mm in length, 1600mm wide and it stands 1520mm tall. It offers decent ground clearance of 180mm and thanks to having its wheels placed right on the corners there's ample space inside for four adults.
The five door compact hatchback is powered by a 1.0-litre in-line three-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine. It's good for 49kW of power at 6000rpm and 89Nm of torque at 4400rpm. According to official figures, the Agya sips unleaded at a rate of 4.8l/100km in a combined cycle when paired with a manual gearbox. The car also comes as a four-speed automatic, if you prefer the self-shifting experience. The Agya is available in two specification levels, you can choose to have a "radio" version or you can go without the Toyota-installed radio, but that's about it in terms of model options.
In terms of features in the Agya, you're treated to a number of convenience and safety items that you normally don't get in entry-level vehicles. Interior comfort is taken care of by electric power steering and automatic aircon, while key trip information is conveyed to you via a Multi-Information Display. All passengers enjoy the luxury of electrically operated windows and an auxiliary 12-volt socket is on hand for charging additional mobile devices. You also get a nifty Push Start button to fire up the engine and remote central locking as standard. The Agya also comes standard with driver and front passenger airbags, 14-inch alloy wheels and anti-lock brakes (ABS) equipped with emergency brakeforce distribution (EBD).
Agya prices start at R182 200 and the entry level manual stands out as being the one to have if you don't mind changing gears manually. All Toyota Agya models come with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and 2-services/30 000km service plan.
If you require slightly more grunt and space; something safe and reliable to transport your young kids and their school or sports gear perhaps, the Starlet might appeal to you even more than the Agya.
Sharing a platform with Suzuki's hugely popular Baleno, the Toyota Starlet measures in at 3995mm in length, it's 1745mm wide and it stands 1470mm tall. It offers a ground clearance of 120mm and can carry 345 litres of luggage with its rear seats in place. The car's five-door layout makes swapping child seats easy and simple, and access to and from the cabin is fuss-free and won't leave you crouching awkwardly to get in and out.
The entire Starlet range is powered by a tried-and-tested 1.4-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine that's good for 68kW at 6000rpm and 130Nm of torque at 4200rpm. It sips a claimed 5.4l/100kmin a combined cycle and there's more than enough power and torque in reserve here to help you keep pace with traffic without breaking a sweat. The car comes in base trim (Xi) with a five-speed manual gearbox but you can opt for the four-speed automatic in high grade XR trim at the very top of the range.
The range-topping Starlet happens to be our pick of the bunch because it blends its satisfying drivetrain with tons of features that make it a really nice place to be on short trips as well as on longer journeys. The range-topping model rides on stylish 16-inch alloy wheels and it sports chrome in just the right places. You will appreciate its rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, LED + Projector headlamps with daytime running lights (DRL), side-mirror mounted indicators and a roof spoiler.
On the inside and under its skin, the spec level is amped up courtesy of a digital speedometer with colour driver information display, leather steering wheel with telescopic adjustment, park distance control (PDC), reverse camera, climate control and push-start button for engine operation. Cruise control is also provided, operated via steering-wheel-mounted switches.
Xi and Xs models feature a double-DIN audio system with CD/Bluetooth/USB/Aux functionality, playing through 6-speakers. Xr models offer a 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 and 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 15 gigs of data. Once linked to their profile, customers can manage their vehicle via the MyToyota App. This app allows on-demand service bookings, vehicle information and history, tracking data as well as Toyota Connect data recharge services and much more.
The range-topping Starlet Xr (priced at R294 000) with autobox and all the trimmings really hits the sweet spot as a well-rounded car that could satisfy you for many years to come. All models come with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and 3-services/45 000km service plan.
TOYOTA URBAN CRUISER
From the moment Toyota launched the Urban Cruiser in South Africa, it was bound to be a success. The compact crossover is one of the company's top-sellers in Mzansi and with close to 1000 of these cars finding new homes every month, it seems as though it's just the right car for just the right time.
The Urban Cruiser shares many of its gizzards and its styling with the equally popular Suzuki Vitara Brezza and it measures in at 3995mm in length (same as the Starlet hatchback above in case you were wondering). It is 1790mm wide and it stands 1640mm tall with a ground clearance of 198mm. The vehicle's five-door configuration makes ingress and egress a cinch and thanks to its decent ground clearance you can take on dirt roads without having to worry about bottoming out or scraping the bumpers on inclines or descents.
The Urban Cruiser range is powered by a 1.5-litre in-line four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine that is rated for 77kW at 6000rpm and 138Nm at 4400rpm. According to Toyota it sips an official 6.2l/100km in a combined cycle. The vehicle is available with a five-speed manual transmission or you can have it with a four-speed automatic transmission and all models are front-wheel drive but ride on 16-inch wheels and tyres across the range.
All models come with a decent level of standard equipment and safety features, however the 1.5Xr model with manual gearbox stands out as a good option if you prefer to have full control over your driving experience and if you plan to head off the tarmac often. The vehicle is packed with features across the range with items such as push-start button for the engine, electric windows all round, air-conditioning, tilt-adjustable steering, power-adjustable mirrors, LED headlamps and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Rear Park Distance Control (PDC) offers drivers additional peace of mind.
The Xr version comes with a touchscreen infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing seamless smartphone connectivity so you can make use of Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps for navigational duty while also streaming your favourite music from apps such as Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud and JOOX. Text and messaging-service messages can be read out to you, with speech-to-text functionality ensuring safe communication while driving. Bluetooth, Aux and USB inputs are also catered for.
All models also come with ABS and EBD, side protection beams, driver and passenger airbags and ISOFIX in the rear. An alarm and immobiliser system is also included on all versions. Prices start at R255 300 and all models come with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 3-services/45 000km service plan.
Contact your nearest Toyota dealer for a bespoke test drive experience, if you're looking for a new car.