The 60 series, introduced in 1978 was better known, being the first to be extensively sold outside Japan. It was offered with 993 (KP60 2K), 1,166 (KP62 3K) and 1,290cc (KP61 4K) engines. Three-door and 5-door hatchbacks were offered in export markets, although a distinctive 5-door wagon variant was sold in Japan, Hong Kong and Germany. Trim levels were Standard, Deluxe (DX), GL, XL, S, and SE.
In 1980 the car was facelifted to include square headlights and a second facelift followed in 1983 to incorporate a slant nose front end, and lower hatch opening.
The KP61 was the only Starlet ever sold in the USA from 1981 to 1984, until the Corolla FX replaced it in 1985. The 1981–1982 models came with standard 5-speed manual transmission and tachometer. It is an equivalent to other markets' S model. The 1983–1984 models were additionally offered with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with the 4K engine, but with 4-speed manual transmission, and similar to other markets' XLi model.
The 70 series of October 1984 saw the Starlet finally switch to front wheel drive. 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks were offered. The 12 valve 1E and 2E replaced the old K-series. The extensive Japanese line up consisted of Standard, DX, Soleil, XL, XL Lisse, SE, Si, Si Limited, Ri, Turbo R, and Turbo S. The engine fitted in turbo models was the 2E-TELU. The Ri and Turbo R are the light weight models designed for motorsports. For export markets the Starlet 70 series were offered as 1.0 Standard, 1.0 DX, 1.0 XL, 1.0 XL Lisse, 1.3 XL, 1.3 FE, 1.3 S, 1.3 SE. The export version Si Limited was basically an XL or 1.3 S with front and rear spoilers, sporty red and black interior, Multi-point fuel injection and special exterior colour 2-tone black-silver, or white. The first Starlet assembled outside Japan was the 1985 1.0 XL built in Indonesia. A year later, the 1.3 liter model was also manufactured. Minor change for Japanese models was given in 1987 with new nose, tail lights, bigger bumpers, and revised interior.