First presented as the Concept Car iQ at the Frankfurt motor show last year, the new model is less than three metres long, but has a flexible interior that allows up to three adults, plus a child or luggage, to travel in comfort.
The name iQ represents what the car embodies: “i” stands for individuality, innovation and intelligence and “Q” for quality.
In order to achieve a balance between exterior dimensions and interior spaciousness, the iQ features several innovations in the vehicle packaging, including a flat under-floor fuel tank, new differential and asymmetrical dashboard.
iQ will be offered with a choice of two gasoline engines and one diesel. Estimated CO2 emissions are about 100g/km. Production will start during late 2008, with 100,000 units expected worldwide in the first full year.
iQ is 2,985mm long (about 29 cm longer than a Smart Fortwo) and 1,500mm high and has a relatively long 2,000mm wheelbase.
The exterior features a“super stance” with the four wheels positioned at the extremity of each corner, with robustness further enhanced by tough-looking bumpers and five-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels that fill the bold wheel arches.
The styling blends dynamism and stability: prominent crease lines define the high belt line, while the V-line of the A-pillar creates tension across the wheel arches.
Smooth lines flow from the front bumpers, curve smoothly up through the front pillars to meet the roof and sweep back down towards the rear hatch where they are replaced by edgier, well-defined lines.
The rear is defined by strong vertical lines, with bold lamp lenses cut into three segments by horizontal lines.
At the front, smoked headlamp units are set deep into the bonnet and wings. Refined appeal is further reflected in the door mirrors with integrated turn indicators.
This is demonstrated in the floating “V” centre console that dominates the asymmetrical dashboard and the matt silver door handles, which have a flowing, manta ray shape.
The steering wheel has a flat bottom to give the driver greater legroom and audio controls are positioned on the wheel to save space on the centre console and make operation easier for the driver.
The ultra-slim seatbacks are formed in a one-piece moulding that enhances iQ’s edgy feel, while also helping free up additional passenger space.
A storage tray is concealed below the rear seat, another feature that does not sacrifice cabin space.
For extra luggage room, the 50:50 split rear seats can be folded flat.
iQ’s asymmetric dashboard is designed to open up the passenger area.
Its pushed-forward, step-like structure gives sufficient space for the front passenger when the seat is in its most forward position, while comfortably accommodating an adult in the rear seat.
The slim seatbacks release a further 40mm of rear passenger room at knee height.
Combined with a shoulder-to-shoulder distance between driver and passenger that is similar to a C-segment model, the 3+1 seating configuration creates enough room for three adults, plus either a child or luggage carried behind the driver.
Its innovative vehicle packaging is achieved through several space-saving, interlinked engineering innovations that represent a break-through in Toyota’s vehicle development.
The engineers have reconsidered the location of various components, rather than simply redesigning parts to a smaller size.
A newly developed differential allows iQ to have a more compact engine compartment and front wheels placed at the very corners of the car, with very short overhangs. This yields more than 100mm extra cabin length, compared to Yaris.
A flat fuel tank has traditionally been considered difficult to engineer, because of the variance in fuel surface levels depending on the angle of the vehicle.
The size of the heater/air conditioning unit has also been significantly reduced. As a result, the front passenger area can be moved forwards towards the base of the windscreen, freeing up additional cabin space.
The centre take-off steering gear is positioned higher in the engine bay, so that the gear, engine and differential could be repositioned, giving the car a shorter front overhang.