From £10,319
A practical and slick-handling alternative to a Smart ForTwo
Matt Prior
15 January 2009

What is it?

This is the Toyota iQ 2, the plushest version of Toyota’s take on the Smart ForTwo. Except that that the Toyota iQ is front-wheel drive, front-engined and has two (albeit occasional) rear seats.

This is our first chance to sample a right-hand drive version of the Toyota iQ on UK roads.

What’s it like?

Not bad at all. The ride is fine for starters. The Toyota iQ 2 is restless on some surfaces and a tad jumpy across speed ramps, but that’s inevitable with a car this short. I’d also anticipated some high-speed wobbles, but the iQ 2 is more stable than I’d expected.

If (curiously) you didn’t know the iQ 2 ended within touching distance behind you, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the driving refinement alone.

The Toyota iQ 2 is also decent for covering longish distances. The driving environment is spacious, the cabin wide and noise levels unintrusive.

The iQ is curiously long-geared, though, perhaps to help it hit CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Second gear is good for the best part of 70mph. On roundabout approaches where you’d leave most city cars or superminis in second, you sometimes find yourself dropping the iQ down to first.

You’d expect the Toyota iQ’s gearing to mean that the 67bhp, 845kg car feels depressingly slow. It’s not that bad. The thrummy three-pot engine revs willingly, and, even though the car’s optimum gear indicator advised me to change down to fourth under mild acceleration at 70mph, fifth is geared conventionally enough. You don’t feel the need to change down too much on the motorway.

The view forward from the driver’s seat of the Toyota iQ isn’t shabby, either. Trim and materials are acceptable, while the design of the dash and heating controls is neat. Less so are the fiddly switches around the (optional) navigation screen. We’d opt for an aftermarket system at a fifth of the price, but there’s nothing new in that.

The view behind depends on what you’re carrying. Always, though, the iQ is easy to park. It’s like a Smart ForTwo in that respect, but the iQ’s big advantage (superior driving characteristics aside) is that you get choice: a bit of luggage or people space, rather than just an even smaller section of luggage space.


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Should I buy one?

The answer to that depends upon which cars you see as the Toyota IQ 2’s rivals. If you see the iQ as a ‘premium’ city car, a direct alternative to a Smart, then the more practical, better-driving Toyota would be a sound choice.

But as a practical, four-seat city car, the iQ seems expensive and cramped. On that count a Hyundai i10 is a better (and much cheaper) alternative.

Nonetheless, the iQ is an easy car to live with – and easy to like.

Join the debate


16 January 2009

I saw a Toyota IQ this morning. It looks awful. It's like one of those pointless French Aixam "cars" that has had a facelift. It looks like two massive car doors that have had some lights attached. Anyone driving it would look a right pillock. The woman driving the one I saw certainly did! What's the point of it? Just buy an Aygo. It doesn't look anywhere near as ridiculous.

16 January 2009

great idea rendered totally pointless by stupidly high pricing.

Is there anybody out there who will pay a premium to be seen in the latest trendy wheels these days.

Maybe, maybe not

16 January 2009

[quote jonfortwo]great idea rendered totally pointless by stupidly high pricing.[/quote]

Agreed. For that price, and given the low weight, it should be significantly quicker and/or more economical. As it is, the only thing the iQ does well (on paper at least) is... be small.

16 January 2009

I see on the Hyundai website that you can get a 1.2 litre i10 for £6795 until March. This is one of Autocars' top ten cars of the year. That is a significant price difference, and there is nothing basic about the i10. You get a bigger engine, more space, and a five year warranty. It's a high price to pay to save £35 quid a year on tax! If you kept your IQ for a hundred years you'd start to get your money back...

17 January 2009

[quote jonfortwo]pointless by stupidly high pricing.[/quote]

They had one on show in a shopping centre near me for a week and I had a look at it. I was impressed, it's small yet seems to have enough space inside for a couple of people, although they weren't letting anybody actually try. Wouldn't want to have anyone in the rear though! I was impressed until.....

The price. It was listed at £ 10k. I thought it would have been at most £ 7k. But at that price you'd have to opt for the Aygo and it's sisters.

19 January 2009

I'd agree with most of the posts here, looks to have lots worthwhile technical features but the high price must rule it out of contention for most people. If Toyota did not already have the Aygo it might fit their range OK. What will be interesting though is to see the new technology applied the next generation Yaris, Aygo and other Toyotas. I wonder how the seconhand prices for the iQ might pan out in a year or so.

19 January 2009

Its quite clever

BUT a a VW Golf Mk 1, a Fiat 128 or a Renault 12 barely weighed more and made do with a similar power ouput albeit from a larger capacity engine and had more space.

19 January 2009

I agree that on the face of it, at least, the iQ looks pricey, especially compared with the Aygo. What the pictures and the tests don't quite convey, though, is the big gulf in 'feel' between the two cars, especially in terms of their interiors. The Aygo feels cheap - albeit cheap and cheerful, rather than cheap and nasty - and rather flimsy, whereas the iQ is a quiet, polished premium motor, if a rather small one.

I don't suppose the iQ's quality quite deserves a Lexus badge, but I do think Toyota should have considered setting up a new brand like Smart to avoid the sort of comparisons that are being made here with the Aygo.

19 January 2009

Why are the CO2 and MPG figures for sub-A class cars like the iQ and the Smart never any better than A class cars or even modern bigger superminis like the Fiesta? A Polo Bluemotion posts better figures than the iQ and is pretty much as big as a Mk1 Golf. If the iQ and the Smart aren't economical, they are completely pointless, unless you live in a city where parking genuinely is very, very difficult. End of term report - must try harder.

20 January 2009

As i have said on these forums before and in agreement with the other posts - the pricing renders it pretty pointless.

Without research, off the top of my head - the previous Generation Seat Ibiza Ecomotive was roughly 10k, had £0 tax and similar, if not better MPG figures. Not only does it match the IQ - you get a car that can seat up to five, a reasonable boot, a higher chance of surviving an accident and a fine city car that could handle motorways if necessary.

It has some very innovative solutions, probably not seen since the original mini; but In my eyes a car like this does not make sense unless it's marketed at around £5,000.


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