China is the world’s largest automobile market and is unique in a number of ways. With the most number of automobile manufacturers operating their shops in the country, the competition is always intense.
What’s interesting is the fact that each auto manufacturer can have joint venture with more than one Chinese partner, and each Chinese partner can have collaboration with more than one international auto maker. This creates an interesting mix of vehicles which often happens when two different ventures intend to produce the same car. The result is the spawning of new product which is technically the same but visually different than the other.
Toyota also has ventures with more than one Chinese auto manufacturing partner, namely Guangzhou Auto Corporation (GAC-Toyota) as well as First Automobile Works (FAW-Toyota). The Levin is the GAC-Toyota joint-venture’s version of the Corolla for its home market. FAW-Toyota sells a different Corolla that looks like the one we have here in Pakistan.
The Toyota Levin has been updated in China, now equipped with a brand new 1.2 liter turbocharged engine, LED daytime running lights and minor cosmetic changes to the front & rear of the car.
Replacing the old 1.6 liter naturally-aspirated engine, the new 9NR-FTS 1.2 liter, direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder D-4T engine puts out 116 hp and 185 Nm of torque – similar to the unit already in use in the European-market Auris hatchback. The Levin 1.2T is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT gearbox.
A new Toyota Smart Stop system is now standard feature to improve fuel consumption, while CVT models also get a Sport mode. In China, the Toyota Levin 1.2T is priced between 109,800 to 133,800 yuan (PKR 16.8 lac to PKR 20.49 lac), positioned below the Levin 1.8 that is priced from 141,800 to 150,800 yuan (PKR 21.71 lac to 23.09 lac). GAC-Toyota also produces the Levin HEV with a 1.5 liter hybrid drive-train & is exclusive to Chinese market.
The FAW-Toyota joint venture in China had already launched the 1.2T Corolla last month, it will be interesting to see if Toyota brings the downsized turbo unit to other markets as well. Do let us know in the comments if you think the 1.2T engine should be offered with Toyota Corolla in Pakistan?