What if Toyota revived the Starlet as a modern hot hatch?

By thoriq, 09 January 2020

The Toyota Starlet, particularly the 60-series model that spanned the late 1970s to mid 1980s, has become quite a legend in its own right. Much of which is fuelled by the model’s low weight and rear-wheel-drive (RWD) setup.

Since it’s now somewhat trendy to reboot old things, some may wonder what a modernised version of that would look like. Well then, these renders done and published by our counterparts from the Philippines recently might just be what many of you lot are picturing.

To be more specific, this vision was inspired by rally versions of the 60-series Starlet. It will underpin a modern rear-drive TNGA chassis platform equipped with MacPherson-strut front suspension and an independent multilink setup at the rear.

According to the folks over at TopGear Philippines, their goal here was “to design a performance-oriented rear-wheel-drive hot hatch that will undercut both the 86 and the Mazda MX-5 by a wide margin.”

Notably, the general silhouette and the window shapes of the classic model were retained given that these were its distinctive characteristics. The front end was inspired by the 1980 facelift of the 60-series, giving it a familiar face.

The modern twist comes from making the upper grille overlap the LED headlights. Below it is a hexagonal lower main grille that more akin to recent Toyotas. Like in the original, it has the traditional ‘Toyota’ lettering up front.

Moving on to the sides, the blacked-out A-pillars and C-pillar sections impart a modern touch, thus allowing it to have optional contrasting roof colors if desired. The placement of design elements at the rear mirrors that of the 60-series, but everything is now flush-fitting with LED taillights plus an integrated diffuser at the bottom.

Our goal is to design a performance-oriented rear-wheel-drive hot hatch that will undercut both the 86 and the Mazda MX-5 by a wide margin.

Two Gazoo Racing-tuned naturally aspirated gasoline engine choices were envisioned for the ‘Modern Starlet’. First of which is a M20A-FKS-based 2.0-litre mill that puts out 187hp and 205Nm, followed by an entry-level 1ZR-FAE-based 1.6-litre motor that produces 145hp and 159Nm.

The latter smaller-sized mill would serve as a budget-friendly entry-level choice. Either way, both options can be paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with manual shift function.

Given what we’ve just detailed, this would be a rather sensational thing to have if it ever materialises. The only thing that begs to differ though would be the upcoming 4x4 Yaris superhatch that Toyota let our UK counterparts thrash about in recently…

Source: TopGear Philippines