The Toyota Starlet is a small automobile manufactured by Toyota from 1973 to 1999, replacing the Toyota Publica (and retaining the Publica's "P" code and generation numbering). However, the Publica name continued to be used in some of Toyota's export markets.
Initially launched in April 1973 as the Publica Starlet 40 series, the Starlet was offered with 1000 and 1200cc engines. Generally the car looked like a shortened Corolla. Variants available were 2-door Sedan, and 3-door wagon. The 4-door Sedan came in October 1973. Grades are Standard, Deluxe, Hi-Deluxe, ST, and SR.
The 60 series, introduced in 1978 was better known, being the first to be extensively sold outside Japan. It was offered with 993 (KP60 2K), 1,166 (KP62 3K) and 1,290cc (KP61 4K) engines. Three-door and 5-door hatchbacks were offered in export markets, although a distinctive 5-door wagon variant was sold in Japan, Hong Kong and Germany. Trim levels were Standard, Deluxe (DX), GL, XL, S, and SE.
In 1980 the car was facelifted to include square headlights and a second facelift followed in 1983 to incorporate a slant nose front end, and lower hatch opening.
The KP61 was the only Starlet ever sold in the USA from 1981 to 1984, until the Corolla FX replaced it in 1985. The 1981–1982 models came with standard 5-speed manual transmission and tachometer. It is an equivalent to other markets' S model. The 1983–1984 models were additionally offered with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with the 4K engine, but with 4-speed manual transmission, and similar to other markets' XLi model.
The 70 series of October 1984 saw the Starlet finally switch to front wheel drive. 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks were offered. The 12 valve 1E and 2E replaced the old K-series. The extensive Japanese line up consisted of Standard, DX, Soleil, XL, XL Lisse, SE, Si, Si Limited, Ri, Turbo R, and Turbo S. The engine fitted in turbo models was the 2E-TELU. The Ri and Turbo R are the light weight models designed for motorsports. For export markets the Starlet 70 series were offered as 1.0 Standard, 1.0 DX, 1.0 XL, 1.0 XL Lisse, 1.3 XL, 1.3 FE, 1.3 S, 1.3 SE. The export version Si Limited was basically an XL or 1.3 S with front and rear spoilers, sporty red and black interior, Multi-point fuel injection and special exterior colour 2-tone black-silver, or white. The first Starlet assembled outside Japan was the 1985 1.0 XL built in Indonesia. A year later, the 1.3 liter model was also manufactured. Minor change for Japanese models was given in 1987 with new nose, tail lights, bigger bumpers, and revised interior.
The Starlet 80 series was introduced in December 1989. It featured a more rounded body style and interior. Japanese models received new Twincam engines: 4E-F, 4E-FE, and 4E-FTE with CT9 turbocharger. Export models retained the 1E and 2E engines, and the special version 4E-FE (only for UK and Hong Kong). The Starlet for Japan and Indonesia have a rear center garnish and therefore the license plate is mounted on the bumper. 80 Series Starlets exported to other destinations have their number plates mounted on the hatch centre panel.
In Japan, the 80 Series Starlet was again offered in wide range of variants: Soleil, best selling Soleil L, S, X, X Limited, Si, Canvas Top, the sports model Gi and GT Turbo. The sports model have different bumpers, headlights, and tail lights from the regular models. Sports bucket front seats and rear spoiler are also standard on the Gi and GT. The GT has 2-mode (low and high) turbo. The Japanese only Full-time 4WD models EP85 were offered in Soleil L, S, and X Limited grades.
A minor facelift occurred in January 1992, with all Japanese models gaining fuel injection and the discontinuation of the X variant. A new front bumper and revised interior were installed, and the addition of a safety beam inside the doors were added for all models. The S, X Limited, Gi, and GT also gained a new rear center garnish. In Indonesia the new SE-G replaced the SE Limited. The SE-G has upmarket interior similar to Japanese X Limited, and shares the new tail lights with Gi and GT. The Canvas Top was offered in Hong Kong and Germany in small numbers.
The Starlet made its European debut at 1990 Geneva Auto Show. The 1.3 XLi was sold in most European countries. The sporty 1.3 Si was offered in Switzerland. It comes with standard sports front seats, 3-spoke steering wheel, sunroof, and rear spoiler. UK model was 1.0 GL, which replaced by 1.3 GLi 3-door in 1993. For 1994, the UK models are 1.3 XLi 3-door and 1.3 GLi 5-door. All GLi models have sunroof.
The Starlet EP81 participated in WRC Acropolis Rally in Greece, and won the A5 class. The Starlet was also competed in Starlet One Make Race in Japan, the Indonesian Touring Car Championship, and Rallies in the Caribbean.
The second minor update was in May 1994 with new front end and tail lights. The full-wide rear garnish was deleted. The hatch trunk now has smooth panel with small garnishes. The Gi and GT featured twin round headlights and mesh grille, also known as quad headlights. These minor changes were only extended to Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and New Zealand. Hong Kong received JDM Soleil L. The 1.3 SE-G continued in Indonesia, and the 1.3 GS replaced 1.3 S in New Zealand. Production in Japan ended in December 1995, but in Indonesia continued until March 1998.
The Starlet 90 series, introduced in 1996, retained the same ideas of three or five-door hatchback. The unique design is sloped-down belt line on front doors. The Japanese versions were divided into 3 models: Reflect (normal), Glanza (sports), and Carat (classic). The Reflect (Base, f, and x), the Carat, and the Glanza S. The Base model was also offered with the 1N Diesel engine. The Carat features chrome ornaments, tail lights cover, and classy interior. The Glanza model was a re-named and facelifted version of the Starlet GT Turbo, although it was still powered by the same engine Toyota had increased its power output to 130bhp and later to 133bhp unfortunately however the Glanza was a much heavier car due to the extra equipment which it carried (air con, abs, power steering, more sound deadning, electric windows etc).
There are 2 main Glanza models: Glanza S which was powered by the 4E-FE engine and the Glanza V which has the 4E-FTE engine, the "T" meaning it has a Turbo.
In December 1996, the Glanza S Limited was released. It has standard body kits same as Glanza V Turbo except the scooped-hood and the engine did not have a Turbo. A lightweight version of the Glanza V was also released, this didn't have air con, electric windows etc to keep the car as light as possible, the idea being that it would make an ideal track day car.
The Glanza V and Glanza S were not sold in Europe and were only available on the JDM Market. Recently the Glanza has become a popular import in the UK for its efficient engine and impressive power outputs.
The Starlet EP91 came to Europe in Spring 1996. Although basically all European models were 1.3 XLi, they were marketed in different name across Europe. Initially the UK models were the base 1.3 Sportif and the upmarket 1.3 CD (with standard CD Player and Sunroof). In 1998, the UK line up was revised with base 1.3 S, sporty 1.3 SR (with lowered suspension, spoiler, and sport exhaust), and loaded 1.3 GLS. The French models are Base, GL, and GLS. In Switzerland, the upgraded model similar to GLS is called 1.3 Crystal, while in Norway is called SLi. All of high grade models have driver's side SRS Airbag, tachometer, front power windows, rear headrests, and coloured bumpers. ABS and Sunroof are options.
Minor changes with new front bumpers, grille, tail lights, and revised interior fabric were new for 1998 JDM models. Production of Starlet ended in July 1999. The 90 Series Starlet shared its platform with the Paseo including suspension, engines and many other components. The right hand drive Starlet has its own dashboard design with slightly higher center AC outlets, while the left hand drive shares the dashboard with Tercel and Paseo.
Normally, Starlets were known for being dependable but dull automobiles, but there were exceptions. The Toyota Sera, made in the early 1990s and officially sold only in Japan, was the same car with a sports body and butterfly doors. Only about 16,000 were ever produced.
Several turbocharged sport versions of the Starlet were also sold in Japan, including the EP71 Turbo S (1986-1989), EP82 GT Turbo (1990-1995) and the EP91 Glanza V (1996-1999). These have become quite popular in recent years in other right-hand drive regions such as Malta, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as used imports.
The Starlet was briefly exported to North America from 1981 to 1984, when it was replaced by the Corolla FX in Toyota's North American lineup.
They were some Special Edition of 80-series sold in Europe such as 1.3 Jeans in UK and Germany, 1.3 Dance in Switzerland, and 1.3 Westwood in Belgium, all of these are based on 1.3 XLi.
The last 80-series in Indonesia was marketed as Fantastic Starlet, this is the 1.3 SE-G with bumpers, grille, headlights, and turbo-look bonnet from Japanese 1.3 Gi which looks extremely powerful compared to its rivals.
The range was replaced by the Toyota Vitz/Platz/Echo/Yaris range in 1999, but Toyota had been absent in the city car market of Europe until the Aygo was launched in 2005. Another Japanese replacement was the Toyota bB mini MPV, which is sold as the Scion xB in the United States.