The all-new Toyota Vitz is the latest entrant in the small-car segment for the Japanese automaker and it will reinforce the company’s status as the leading purveyor of motor vehicles in South Africa, underpinned once again by the fact that the ability to provide the right product at the right time is key.
The reality is that post-COVID, the average South African consumer is even more cash-strapped than before. Affordability and low running costs are now very much top of mind for most people when purchasing a new car. Not surprisingly this has accelerated the growth of the small car market (A, Sub-B and B segments) which now accounts for 64% (versus 53% in 2018) of the total passenger market.
Like its forerunners – first the Aygo and latterly the Agya – the Vitz is also a product of collaborative partnership, this time born out of the fruitful Toyota-Suzuki alliance. Building on the success of its aforementioned predecessors, the new Vitz takes Toyota’s small car offering to whole new level, combining funky styling with more pragmatic considerations in tune with the needs of the savvy consumer. These include a larger cabin, class-leading cargo space, enhanced specification, more safety (Vehicle Stability Control standard across the range), and even a lower price tag to boot!
But that’s not all, Toyota is also pleased to usher in KINTO*, a revolutionary new pay-for-use mobility solution that makes driving a new Vitz, not just hassle free, but more affordable too. In more ways than one, this compact newcomer really does live up to its marketing tagline – Vitz for Victory – proving that sometimes big things do indeed come in small packages.
As society shifts from conventional car ownership to car usage, there is a growing need for a service that allows customers to freely select the Toyota or Lexus that they want to drive and enjoy it as they like, without being tied down to a conventional financing model.
To this end, Toyota has launched KINTO, a single brand for mobility solutions around the world. KINTO originates from the word KINTO-un, a Japanese word meaning “Flying Nimbus” – a cloud that magically appears, no matter where you are or what time it is and takes you wherever you want to go. This is part of Toyota’s global vision to evolve from vehicle manufacturing into a mobility company by providing all kinds of services related to getting people moving.
Initially KINTO SA will debut with KINTO ONE, a pay-for-use service available through all Toyota and Lexus dealers that offers the following:
In a nutshell then, KINTO ONE is the ultimate mobility solution, combining the use of the vehicle, service and maintenance, in one monthly transparent payment with no additional hidden fees when you return the vehicle at the end of the contract. (KINTO SA will roll out other mobility product services in line with market requirements.) KINTO SA will announce a limited introductory offer on Toyota Vitz 1.0 MT in due course.
Vitz for Power
Many a motoring hack will attest to the fact that small cars are simply the most fun you can have behind the wheel, at least in the real world where there are traffic jams, speed limits and less than perfect road conditions. So, while you won’t be attempting a land-speed record in your new Vitz, it certainly delivers punchy performance thanks to its low mass, nimble handling courtesy of the front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension arrangement (optimised for weight and packaging) and, crucially in these times, unbelievably virtuous fuel economy.
Refreshingly free-revving, the 49kW, twin-injection, three-cylinder engine’s real skill lies in its ability to harness all of its 89Nm of torque from a very accessible 3500 revs. In non-tech speak this means you accelerate much quicker from the traffic lights and stir the light-shifting five-speed gearbox a lot less to maintain momentum.
Speaking of transmissions, the optional AMT or Automated Manual Transmission, essentially a clutchless manual, combines all the convenience of an auto with the optimised fuel consumption of a manual. Think of it as the best of both worlds and it’s tech that you normally only get on much more expensive models.
The much-vaunted fuel economy of the Vitz is enabled in part by the thermally-efficient, new-age motor which utilises stop-start technology; once again a feature usually only found on high-end vehicles. Once the battery is optimally charged, it automatically switches the engine off when you’re stationary and seamlessly starts it up again as you move off.
The big plus here is that you’ll be able to pump those additional savings straight back into your wallet thanks to the economical habits of the new Vitz – the manual returns an overall consumption of just 4,4 L per 100km while the auto sips at an even more miserly 4,2 L per 100km.
Vitz for Style
With its softly-contoured lines punctuated by bold swept-back headlights, teardrop rear light clusters and distinctive grille dissected by a single chrome line, the new Vitz passes the design brief with flying colours. And while on the subject of colour, it’s available in seven exciting new hues including several iridescent metallics.
Unique detailing on the range-topping XR models further enhances the aesthetic by adding niceties such as front fog lamps, glossy smoked 15-inch alloys as well as colour-matched door handles and exterior mirrors.
Vitz for Comfort
A spacious interior with ample front- and rear legroom belies its compact dimensions. What’s more, you get a best-in-class 295 L of boot space and it comes with an interior lever for ease of opening. Amping up the functionality, there’s a 60/40 split rear seat as well as a variety of in-cabin storage spaces to keep all your handy items within reach, not forgetting those all-important cupholders for all occupants.
Elevating the interior design are a number of unique touches – the instrument nacelle for example is dominated by a roulette-wheel inspired speedo with a smaller circular inset TFT that houses the rev counter and trip computer. The dashboard features a swoopy design with a contrasting carbon-fibre-look insert in line with the infotainment system for some visual relief. This insert is replicated on the door panels. Silver satin-finish flourishes adorn the speedo, rotary ventilation dials and circular air vents, while the vent sliders are tipped with chrome.
Power steering - tilt-adjustable* of course - and standard rear parking sensors make light work of piloting your new Vitz, whether you’re cruising down the highway or reversing into a tight parking space.
On the convenience front you’ll find everything you need including remote central locking*, air conditioning, steering wheel controls for telephony and audio functions, electric mirrors/windows* and a four-speaker sound system* as part of the integrated touchscreen infotainment system featuring Bluetooth* and USB* functionality. Apple Carplay* and Android Auto* are incorporated to make navigating a breeze.
*Selected features available on XR models
Vitz for Safety
It’s a case of safety first in the all-new Vitz and it all starts under the skin with a smoothly curving chassis which not only enhances underbody stiffness and dynamic handling, but also contributes to collision safety by more efficiently dispersing energy.
On top of this there’s an all-inclusive list of active and passive systems on the standard safety menu, setting the Vitz apart from many of its price competitors. These include ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) which helps keep you in control regardless of the road conditions, bringing you to a complete stop every time. Another must-have is VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) – this assists by maintaining traction even when things get really slippery. HAC (Hill-Assist Control) is a standard feature on AMT models which prevents the car from rolling back when you stop on an incline.
When it comes to occupant safety, there’s a comprehensive package of standard kit comprising dual front driver and passenger airbags, pretensioners with force limiters for the front seatbelts, child locks and ISOFIX child restraint systems. Providing further peace of mind there’s rear parking sensors, an immobilizer with integrated alarm* and remote door locking*.
*Selected features available on XR models
Pricing and Servicing
Vitz 1.0 MT – R 189 900
Vitz 1.0 XR MT – R 219 900
Vitz 1.0 XR AMT – R 239 900
All Vitz models are sold with a 2-year/30 000 km Service Plan. A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is also provided. Service intervals are pegged at 12 months/15 000 km. Customers can purchase an additional service plan and warranty options via the extensive 220-strong dealer network.
All Toyota owners can sign up for a personal MyToyota profile. MyToyota is designed by Toyota SA to provide a platform for owners to quickly and conveniently access all information and services related to their vehicle(s). Additionally, all new Toyota vehicles are fitted with a device that opens up a whole new world of features. Simply opt in and you have access to in-car WiFi capability (with a complimentary 15Gb), along with a host of supplementary Connect services.