Toyota iQ – is small the new big?

Posted by Tom Ford at 3:15 pm on Monday November 24, 2008

I’m in Italy today driving the new Totota iQ. So what do we think? It’s Toyota’s least boring car for quite a long time – and it’s fresh, clever and small.

I’m liking the idea, so shall see what it is really like out in the big bad world. Would you downsize into this? Or is it a bit too little for most?

(This is the photo verdict of what I thought after driving the car.)

  1. Tom TG said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The Alternative to this is the Fiat 500, Which is more cute than a small dog. So i’d have that

  2. said said said said said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Yuk.

  3. Twonius said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 5:48 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Add ‘Busa engine.. then we’ll talk.

    I can’t believe that thing seats 4. Nice.

  4. PJ said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 5:55 pm Link to comment Report comment

    You could squeeze through traffic and it does good for your wallet but not for your head.And i cant believe it seats 4 people. I’d buy one.

  5. Simon said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 6:10 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Had my first ride in an Aygo last week and was hugely impressed with the pacakaging; this looks like an interesting extrapolation on the theme.

    My kids now mainly sort their own transport out, so I only need 1-2 seats most of the time now. I don’t have a comb-over yet, so I can’t look at sports cars; whilst the Smart seems overpriced. This looks like an interesting alternative doesn’t it? Will I be allowed to like it?

  6. Kuang said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I’ve been following this little beastie with interest since it was announced and I’m intrigued to see how it’ll drive. It’s not enough for it to be great looking and cleverly packaged (which it most definitely is, next to a Smart ForTwo) – it also has to fizz and provide enough entertainment to make it stand out among the competition.

    I’m a huge fan of small entertaining cars and I hope that Toyota manage to capture the feel that made the tiniest of the classics (mini, 500, imp) so much fun. The trend seems to be for small cars to get a lot bigger whilst still claiming to be small – have you looked at a new Fiesta next to a mk1 Focus recently? – and someone needs to buck that trend.

    Of course, let’s not forget that a certain Mr Murray has a little trick up his sleeve which could genuinely overturn small car thinking if it manages to live up to the claims..

  7. Tom Ford said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 9:32 pm Link to comment Report comment

    OK, so basic spec is £9450, but fairly well equipped. Its under 3m long, but on first appraisal is as wide as a Focus – so not quite as nippy in town as you might think, but really easy to park. And ’4-seater’ is a bit hopeful – I can seat myself behind my own driving position in the passenger side, but the driver’s side is a different story – kids only, so its a 3+1 really. And no boot with the seats up. Saying that, I really, really like it. It’s no Mini, but the wheel at each corner makes a whole load of sense through tight townie 90-degree turns and the petrol triple (65bhp) is a peach. It has a manual (with optional auto) – and that’s the one if you like city terrors. Feels like a small car without feeling like a cheap car – though interior plastics are, frankly, awful. More in the mag, but it’s a general thumbs up from the Ford camp from here in Milan.

  8. CJ said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I saw the iQ at the Paris Motorshow and couldn’t get to it, there were that many people stroking it and clambering into the back to test the little seats. I do like it though, because it feels really innovative. But I think I’d still rather have a 500, because it’s cheaper and I love it!

  9. CJ said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 9:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It’s good to see people bucking the trend for bigger small cars, too. iQ is small, and the New Fiesta is lighter and the same size as the old one, whilst the Mazda 2 is lighter and smaller, too. Same with the new Laguna, Megane, Mazda6 and Citroen C5.

  10. Af said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 10:22 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I think it looks pretty cool.
    But its like 3k more expensive than the Aygo which i quite like too.
    So i don’t see this car’s point unless its some sorta weird statement.
    I’ld buy the Aygo instead if i wanted a small cheap Toyota.

  11. Af said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 10:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    And I think i’ld take the Fiat 500 over this any day.

  12. Mikeado said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 10:36 pm Link to comment Report comment

    If it costed &7-8,000, I’d definitely test drive one. But it isn’t it’s £10,000 for an itsy-bitsy city car.

    £10k buys a Fiat 500, or a Smart Roadster (2nd hand of course), or you could spend £3-6,000 on a well-sorted Old Mini. Think about it, small fun, more practical than you think, all small cars are really trying to be a Mini, so get the original – and yes you can fit in it, and in the back. It’s much cooler than an iQ, and the change from your £10k could run the car for a year or two.

  13. Ivar said...
    Monday November 24, 2008 at 10:43 pm Link to comment Report comment

    My grandfather has the smallest of the yarises, and it is absolutely a treat to drive. OK, he is getting old, and hasn’t bothered with a big engine, but it runs allright, and having traction-control activated it is as submissive as a labrador.
    I might be a bit emberrased to say at the age of 19 (norwegians are only allowed to drive at 18, and that is when I first tested it), I really kind of like it.
    I don’t really know what I’d take if I was offered to be lent my mothers Saab 93 Aero 1.9d -07 or my grandfathers Yaris.

    It really is that good
    (saving up to import a traveller or a countryman).

  14. Art said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 4:47 am Link to comment Report comment

    What was the question agaiin?

  15. Alistair Moulds said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 8:06 am Link to comment Report comment

    I have had an Aygo for 3 years now and its been perfect for me, and I’d like to see the IQ in the flesh however while £10000 seems expensive the smart isn’t exactly cheap and it can only fit 2!
    Toyota has the most boring range of cars out today, and the IQ can buck the boring trend!

  16. Jane said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to comment Report comment

    I have had my Toyota Aygo+ now for Five weeks and i love it to bits.With five doors i can get both mums in it and all our shopping.
    With AC and Electric windows thats a big plus.
    And the service i had from the Toyota Garage was Great.Don’t miss my MG ZR not one bit.
    Love it.

  17. RWF said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to comment Report comment

    That car is only good for people who live in the city.I am not saying it’s a bad car. It might as well be a very good car. But there are other more appealing little cars. A person has to spend just over £11,000 for a car with an engine the size of motor from a food blender(for the good version). All Toyota’s small cars have horrible acceleration. The AYGO, Yaris and the IQ. If you think they are fast, then you might to be one of those people who thinks riding a bicycle is terrifying.

  18. PG said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    IQ is the best result after the Smart.

  19. PG said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It’s very interesting the new payment procedure also, called RICHARGE.
    IQ costs 13800€ in Europe.
    Sign the contract and pay the car 4140€ for 12 months.
    After that, there are 3 options:
    1) Leave the car at the dealer and say goodbye.
    2) Pay 1380€ for the next 12 months.
    39 Pay 1380€ for another Toyota.

  20. charlie said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 5:07 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The iQ looks a good car. It is small and agile, making it good on narrow streets.Great then,…
    for my Gran. She wouldn’t mind being seen in a car like that, but if you like speed and power, you can’t possibly be seen in one of them! It’s a bit pricey, too.

  21. PJ said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Tom why waste your time with that car?You should just crash it in a lake or blow it up and post the video.Now thats something i’d love seeing.Its a great car but all cars are better except for a few others.

  22. 007 said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    So……Hows Italy??

  23. Kuang said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I’m still amazed by the opinion that a car has to be big and fast in order to be entertaining. The original Mini, the Panda 100hp, the Sportka – all grin inducing, and small enough to park inside a shoebox without taking out the shoes.

    Down a typical twisty B road, your average supercar is going to be unwieldy and will have you terrified of clipping a verge or catching a hidden bump and landing upside down on a sheep. I would argue that along a road like many of the ones 5 minutes from my door, a Panda 100hp will get to the other end in a similar time to a 599. Opportunities to truly wring out a fast car are few and far between, and you can have just as much fun in an anklebiter without breaking the NSL.

    If there’s still any argument, go karting.. not just any kart, but a proper racing one on a fast circuit. You could lift up one of those on your own and even store it in the back of an estate car, and yet it’ll still leave you aching and sweaty but grinning ear to ear.. and probably won’t crack 70mph in the process.

  24. Paul Horrell said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Tom, is the interior at all nice? I love the design of that cabin but when I drove the late-prototypes a few months back the dash was made of eggboxes and the brown LCD secondary instruments looked like the face of a cheapo 1980s clock radio. Any improvement? Still, I’ve always been a fan of that little three-cylinder engine since I ran an Aygo for six months, and I love short cars that are easy to park in my busy street. And yet the iQ manages to feel far more grown-up than a Smart when you hit the highway. Cheers matey, PH

  25. Tom Ford said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to comment Report comment

    They were still saying ‘very late prototypes’ with the cars in Milan PH – but they were as we shall see them – and the interior quality is the big loss. I’m liking the space (it really is clever in terms of design and architecture to get everything to fit),the drive is very good though not spectacular. Big points though – it’s really very good on a motorway, light and precise through town and the exterior isn’t a pastiche of an often harked-back-to past. It looks great. And when Toyota makes a range of cars that are practically brilliant but as inspiring as mud – it looks like an iPOD moment…. mind you, the optional sat-nav is £950. Which is, as a friend pointed out to me, 10-percent of the actual car…

  26. Tom Ford said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to comment Report comment

    BTW all – Milan in November: -3 degrees, and snow. And I forgot to take a bloody coat.

  27. Mikeado said...
    Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 10:26 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Be it the cars or the weather, Italy’s always cool somehow.

  28. Tak said...
    Wednesday November 26, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to comment Report comment

    I actually enjoy the challenge the industry has taken up: make a car that’s small, handy and environmentally sound. See also Gordon Murray’s concept, I’m a big fan of that sort of stuff.
    Still, I really, really like my Merc… Very svelte. You just don’t get that in small cars and I’m an addict.

  29. MSdosser said...
    Wednesday November 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I’d prefer the Fiat 500… want one of those so much! The SS Abarth version to be accurate! Somehow, the smaller cars have a cheeky, impish character that can bring a sense of fun, that can belacking in bigger cars! Not that I’m a fan of the Smart car, but has anyone else seen the Smart Hayabusa?! Now that’s just tooooo much fun!!!

  30. Finchy said...
    Wednesday November 26, 2008 at 4:46 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I couldn’t care less about this thing, I’m a father of two and even if I could fit my wife & kids in there there’d be no space left for even the smallest bag, let alone all the rubbish you need for two small kids :)

    I keep on wondering though, why has the thing on the pic got Belgian plates if you went to Italy Tom?

  31. Andrew said...
    Thursday November 27, 2008 at 11:28 am Link to comment Report comment

    Tom. You’re in Milan. Buy a new coat!

  32. Ferrina said...
    Thursday November 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    But where has the MR2 gone?

  33. modifiedace said...
    Thursday November 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm Link to comment Report comment

    hey, top gear.com, your home page is messed up. the continental drift, and the r8plica, and the scuderia’s pics are scrambled

  34. modifiedace said...
    Thursday November 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm Link to comment Report comment

    and what’s totota IQ? that’s what’s in your article, second word of
    second line

  35. Qasim said...
    Friday November 28, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to comment Report comment

    Is it just me or is it that Toyota has cornered the small car market. You have this, the oh so lovable Aygo, and the Yaris.

    Global Japanese domination!!!!!

  36. Waiting for mine... said...
    Friday January 2, 2009 at 3:17 am Link to comment Report comment

    End of this month for a IQ I ordered in mid December, 2008. It has been on sale since October, 2008 and over 8,000 units have been sold for the first month on sale…there is a 3 month waiting list for pearl white in Japan. My gun metal painted one is a 1.5-2 month wait.

    I still can’t believe it won “Car of the Year” in Japan.

  37. sk8ter11224 said...
    Tuesday February 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I love this car i i think it’s an Alternative to the fiat 500 or the smart fortwo and i have had a tesdrive and from what i have seen it has started looking good for toyota.

  38. Billy said...
    Wednesday December 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Embarrassing, over priced, stupid looking thing. Why would you want to look like you’re sat in a shoe?

  39. irv green said...
    Sunday August 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm Link to comment Report comment

    totally overpriced. It’s trying to be a mini. I’ll do that instead.

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