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Spotted: a Toyota Starlet Glanza

December 22, 2023

We know the Toyota Starlet primarily as a sensible, reliable and economical little city car. However, sporty versions were also supplied in Japan. As of the first model generation, semi-sporty versions were on the Japanese price list, but by the third and fourth generation you could already speak of a “hot hatchback.

Toyota Starlet in four flavors

In 1996, the fifth-generation Toyota Starlet entered the market. In homeland Japan, there were basically four versions: the Reflet, the Glanza, the Carat and the Remix. The Reflet was the “regular” version, as we know it in Europe. The sporty versions were grouped under the Glanza name. The Carat were the most luxurious versions, recognizable by a different grille and light units. Finally, the Reflet was a version with off-road trim, complete with a spare tire on the back. For now, we’ll stick with the Glanza models for a while.

Toyota Starlet Glanza S and V

The 1.3 Gi and GT Turbo versions of the previous-generation Toyota Starlet were succeeded by the Glanza S and the Glanza V, respectively. Both Glanza models had a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine under the hood, without a turbo for the S and with a turbo for the V. This gave the Glanza S a power output of 85 hp, while the Glanza V came equal to 140 hp. For such a compact and light car, that was quite a lot of power. Acceleration times show this. The Glanza S reached 100 km/h in 11.9 seconds, while the Glanza V took 8.2 seconds. In its day, this really made the Glanza V a smooth little car.

Later in 1996, the range was further expanded with the Toyota Starlet Glanza S Limited. That was a sort of intermediate variant, which had the thicker bumper work of the Glanza V (except for the air intake on the hood), but not its more powerful engine. An additional lightweight version of the Glanza V also appeared later, without air conditioning or power windows. This lightweight variant was intended primarily as a basic car for racing and rallying.

The spotted specimen

In a parking garage in Zwolle the other day, we saw this 1998 Toyota Starlet Glanza V. So a fairly late one. The car has been in the Netherlands since April last year and also with the current owner since then. It is likely that the driver will have had a passenger with him. Otherwise, we are curious to know how he got a ticket from the ticket machine at the barrier at the entrance with the steering wheel on the “wrong side.

In a parking garage it is difficult to take pictures, but we were happy to stop for some photos anyway. As you can imagine, a Toyota Starlet Glanza is quite rare in the Netherlands. Still, according to RDW Data, nineteen are currently on Dutch registration plates, including three from 1998.

The current Toyota Glanza

For completeness, since 2019 the name “Glanza” has been used again, but as a type name for a Toyota version of the Suzuki Baleno. This Toyota Glanza is sold only in India.