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HomeFeaturesUpdated Kia Picanto vs Toyota Starlet – Budget hatchback battle

Updated Kia Picanto vs Toyota Starlet – Budget hatchback battle

Kia has updated the Picanto for South Africa, introducing six fresh-faced models to the market with additional features.

The long-running entry-level hatchback has seen its price tag climb considerably over the years, as it now retails for anywhere between R260,995 and R325,995.

This makes it almost identically priced to the Toyota Starlet, one of the best-selling cars in the country, which has five units costing between R252,100 and R339,000.

With the base Picanto now asking more than the Starlet, it’s worth examining what you get on each model to see which one is offering better value for money in this budget-conscious segment.


The Kia has two engine options: either a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre petrol plant with 49kW and 95Nm, or 62kW and 122Nm, respectively.

Both units can be paired to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and the 1.0l averages a fuel spend of around 5.0-5.3l/100km, while the 1.2l consumes 5.0-5.9l/100km.

Meanwhile, every Toyota is kitted with the same 1.5-litre petrol block, which produces 77kW and 138Nm.

It has the same transmission options as the Picanto, and its fuel consumption varies from 5.4-5.7l/100km.


The base trim on the Starlet and new Picanto comes with a multifunction leather steering wheel, cloth seats, electric windows, manual aircon, four speakers, ABS, two front airbags, remote central locking, and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Toyota additionally gets 15-inch steel wheels, a 7-inch central display, and rear parking sensors; while the Picanto has 14-inch rims, an 8-inch screen, keyless entry, and a reverse camera.

The top-end Kia then adds to the list with 15-inch alloys, armrest storage, automatic headlights, two more speakers, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, climate control, artificial leather upholstery, push-button start, and rear parking sensors.

As for the Toyota, the range-topping unit comes with a 9-inch screen, 16-inch alloys, automatic LED headlights, a leather steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry and start, climate control, hill assist, and a rearview camera.


The South African pricing for the updated Kia Picanto is as follows:

Each purchase comes with a 5-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and roadside assistance plan, and a 2-year/30,000km service plan.

The local pricing for the Toyota Starlet is as follows:

  • Toyota Starlet 1.5 Xi – R252,100
  • Toyota Starlet 1.5 XS manual – R266,300
  • Toyota Starlet 1.5 XS auto – R290,900
  • Toyota Starlet 1.5 XR manual – R319,100
  • Toyota Starlet 1.5 XR auto – R339,000

This includes a 3-year/100,000km warranty and a 3-service/45,000km service plan.

Kia Picanto

Toyota Starlet

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