A few years back, when the Renault Kwid was launched, we were all rather quick to judge. And rightly so. It wasn’t safe enough. I found it appalling that in this day and age, manufacturers would almost prey on those less fortunate by offering them a car, at a really good price, that had almost no safety features on board. But thankfully, things changed and these little budget-buys, were made safer. And look at the Kwid now. Gosh, it absolutely dominates this space.
Toyota, which you’d think would be right up there, didn’t actually fair too well this segment. The brand’s contender, the Agya, was discontinued last year. Now to fill that gap is a Toyota-badged Suzuki Celerio, named the Toyota Vitz. Interestingly to note, the Celerio doesn’t exactly dominate this segment either. It will, therefore, be interesting to see how the Vitz fairs.
As I mentioned, it is a Suzuki Celerio – it is another product from the collab I have spoken about often. But of course Toyota has added its bits and bobs to give you that everything-keeps-going-right feeling.
There are three derivatives on sale, with the XR being the top spec models offered with either manual or automatic transmissions. Under the bonnet sits Suzuki’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine which only puts out 49 kW and 89 Nm of torque. Thank goodness this car weighs just over 800 kg otherwise it would be like trying to budge a stubborn elephant with a feather duster. All of this also means a very low fuel consumption, 4.4L/100 km on the manual and 4.2L/100 km on the auto. The drive is pleasant and altogether quite nippy. It goes without saying that it struggles somewhat on the highway, especially if there is a strong wind blowing.
When it comes to the safety I was speaking about earlier, the Vitz is covered with two front airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and rear parking sensors. There is also child locks and ISOFIX child restraint systems and the auto version gets Hill Assist.
If you’re able to, opt for the XR model because it boasts more features, obviously, but you really do want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote central locking and electric mirrors and windows. Standard is air conditioning and a multifunction steering wheel.
PRICING OF THE NEW TOYOTA VITZ
- Vitz 1.0 MT: R 189 900
- Vitz 1.0 XR MT: R 219 900
- Vitz 1.0 XR AMT: R 239 900
A two-year/30 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty is standard.
There isn’t much to dislike about the Vitz. If you like the Celerio that is. I feel for Suzuki as the Vitz will certainly take sales away from them. Either way, in a time when we all feel like we are sinking under the weight of inflation, a budget-hatch becomes ever so more appealing. And Toyota has upped the ante with the introduction of its Kinto One subscription service. For just R2 999 per month (a promotional offer), you get to lease the Vitz for six month up to 60 months and the only other cost to you will be that of fuel. Licence/registration, servicing costs, roadside assistance, wear and tear, mileage AND insurance are all covered by the subscription. There are terms and conditions and it means you won’t own the car at the end of the leasing period, but it will make sense for a lot of people. More and more so as we see prices all around us increase.