If a miracle has been worked anywhere, inside the Toyota iQ is where you’ll find it. Look at the iQ from the outside and you’ll wonder how even a small child could find comfort on the back seat while two 6ft adults can sit in tandem (as long as the one in front isn’t driving) and still not feel short of space. Rear head room is limited for anyone taller than that, but given that this car is less than 3m long, there is no doubting the scale of the achievement.
The space is there thanks to the asymmetric cabin design, thin seats and other unseen innovations and it is sure to win the iQ many customers who’d never look at the strictly two-seat Smart.
That said, the praise does not come without qualification. On the driver’s side of the car, rear leg room varies from very limited to non-existent depending on the size of the driver, so the iQ is more of a 3+1 design than a full four-seater.
And you should be aware that there is effectively no boot, just a miserably small space behind the seats into which you might just squeeze a single thin briefcase. So small is this rear space that even if you fold the rear seats flat, there’s only fractionally more space in the back of the iQ than there is in a Ford Ka with the rear seats up.
There are other problems here too. The driving position is fundamentally sound but limited in its scope by the lack of seat height or steering reach adjustment. The speedometer is difficult to read, the A-pillars are too thick and the touch-screen navigation unit is stuck on top of the dash like an afterthought.
That said, quality is far better than we’ve seen in other small Toyotas of late and is commensurate with Toyota’s ambitious pricing policy. If the plan was to create an interior that looks and feels like one from a considerably larger car, Toyota has largely succeeded.