Toyota Starlet set to make a comeback, and it could be electric – report - SUV VEHICLE

Toyota Starlet set to make a comeback, and it could be electric – report

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Toyota’s popular city car may be making a comeback, with an all-new Starlet rumoured to be in development for a 2026 launch.

The Toyota Starlet could be making a return, according to unconfirmed reports out of Japan – and it may be battery-powered.

Best Car – a magazine known to publish inside information on Toyota’s future plans – claims the car giant is planning to resurrect the Starlet city car, with the model said to be launching in 2026.

The Starlet hasn’t been sold in Australia since 1999, after which it was replaced by the Echo, and then the Yaris.

It’s not known whether the new Starlet will be designed as a pint-sized city car for Japan – referred to as a ‘kei’ car locally – or if the model will be made for global markets such as Australia, to slot below the Yaris.

Toyota already offers compact city cars in some markets positioned below the Yaris – such as the Aygo X in Europe, and the Agya in some developing countries.

MORE: Toyota Starlet hot hatch on wish list, says Toyota performance-car boss

In July 2023, the head of Toyota’s performance division admitted it was his “personal dream” to revive the Starlet nameplate.

“I used to enjoy snowy roads and mini circuits in my hometown of Hokkaido with my [early 1990s] EP82 and [late 1990s] EP91 [Starlets],” Toyota GR president Tomoya Takahashi told Best Car at the time.

A sportier GR Starlet is also reportedly in the works – engineered by the company’s performance division, Gazoo Racing.

It’s not the first time the Starlet received a power bump. The Starlet Turbo S was a popular Japanese hot hatch in the late 1980s, as was the Starlet GT Turbo made between 1990 and 1995, before being replaced by the turbocharged Starlet Glanza V.

MORE: The Toyota Starlet Turbo is back

While engine details are unclear at this stage, the closed-off upper front grille panel seen in Best Car’s digital illustration (top) suggests the Starlet could debut as an electric car.

If the illustration is accurate, the Starlet doesn’t appear to have been shown by Toyota during its electric car showcase in December 2021, or as a concept in April 2023.

The Starlet name was retired in Australia in 1999, but since 2020 Toyota has revived the nameplate in some African markets as a rebadged Suzuki Baleno (above).

The post Toyota Starlet set to make a comeback, and it could be electric – report appeared first on Drive.

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