Just back from two decent days in Italy driving the Toyota iQ for a video you’ll be able to watch here next week.
You genuinely can fit two adults and two kids in an iQ – a car that’s not much bigger than a Smart ForTwo – without anyone getting squished.
Toyota’s elegant space-saving solutions like the the under-floor fuel tank, the miniaturised dashboard and that innovative 3+1 seating system could very well shape city cars to come.
Best of all, you can drive an iQ road tax-free in the UK because the rorty little three-pot motor only pumps out 99 grams per kilometre of CO2.
Other manufacturers seem to be falling over themselves to launch something similar.
Just this morning we reported on VW’s new Smart-sized Chico concept - a car that’s rumoured to return 160mpg. Even BMW has secret plans to develop a whole range of efficient new two and four-wheel vehicles.
These teeny runabouts help car manufacturers slash their range’s average CO2 output. And that helps keep the EU legislators off their backs.
But there’s more to it than that. People – particularly city people – are keener than ever on cheap, small, cost-effective personal transport solutions.
And most still want personal mobility. We’ll stay off the crowded bus or unreliable trains if there’s an affordable alternative.
I’m not saying the iQ is the answer to every city transport woe (it’s not cheap, for a start). But I reckon it offers a glimpse into our urban car future. A bit like the Smart did ten years ago.