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Toyota Vitz – Say hello to the most affordable new Toyota in South Africa

Toyota recently held its annual State of the Motoring Industry address in Gauteng where it discussed its performance over the course of 2022, and what its plans are for the upcoming year.

The most exciting news, however, came in the form of new models confirmed for South Africa – one of which is set to shake up the entry-level side of the market.

The announcement in question is for the Toyota Vitz, a small hatchback that is expected to go on sale before June.

Entry-level Toyota

The Vitz is in line to become Toyota’s new entry-level offering when it debuts later this year.

While the nameplate has been around in Japan since 1999, this latest entry is a product of the alliance between Suzuki and Toyota, as the new Vitz shares many similarities with Suzuki’s own affordable hatch – the Celerio.

Much like the Toyota Starlet and Suzuki Baleno, or the Toyota Urban Cruiser and Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the Vitz and Celerio were jointly developed by the two firms as a way of minimizing the cost of research and development, and as such the two cars will function alike.

Not many details have been confirmed regarding the Vitz thus far, though it was stated that it will ship with a small 1.0-litre engine when it arrives in the country.

It’s therefore likely that it will have a power figure in the realm of 49kW and 89Nm, as this is the same output that is produced by the Celerio’s own 1.0-litre powerplant.

The Celerio is also available with a choice of either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), meaning there’s a good chance the Vitz will launch with the same options.

One other appealing aspect of the Suzuki which will likely carry over to the Toyota is fuel consumption, which is pegged at 4.4l/100km for the manual and 4.2l/100km for the AMT.

It also seems reasonable to assume that the Vitz will share a lot of the same equipment as its half-sibling when it arrives in South Africa, as has been the case with the other Toyota-Suzuki co-efforts.

In this case, the base spec is anticipated to feature at least a multifunction steering wheel, engine stop-start function, ABS, rear parking sensors, and manual air conditioning.

The higher trim levels, meanwhile, may include additions like 15-inch alloy wheels, electronically-adjustable side mirrors, hill control, and a 7-inch infotainment unit with smartphone connectivity.

Goodbye Agya

The Vitz will be replacing the existing Agya as the cheapest car in Toyota’s local line-up in 2023.

Like its replacement, the Agya is sold with a 1.0-litre drivetrain that produces 49kW and 89Nm, and it can be had with either a five-speed manual or four-speed AMT averaging 4.8l/100km and 4.9l/100km, respectively.

It also comes standard with 14-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, manual AC, electric windows, two speakers, and ABS.

Pricing for the Vitz has yet to be revealed, however, the Celerio has a window sticker of R178,900 while the Agya begins at R200,000, this gap providing a good ballpark estimate of what the new Toyota will cost when it launches in the country in June.

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