"Toyota's city car is a great example of clever design, with tiny dimensions and four-seat practicality, it's a classy and versatile choice."
It's not big, but it is clever. Toyota's iQ city car is just three metres long, yet can carry two adults and two small children – and it's very well equipped. It's at its best around towns, where its compact size makes it easy to park.Running costs are low, but if you intend to rely on the iQ as your only car, think carefully about the kind of trips you make. You have to choose between passenger space or luggage space – you can’t have both. Also, the iQ feels a bit out of its depth in fast-moving motorway traffic.
With light steering, agile handling and a tiny turning circle the iQ just loves city roads. Both the 67bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine and 98bhp 1.33-litre four-cylinder petrol engines are great – in fact the smaller engine is the better option. It may do 0-60mph in 14 secs but it still feels spritely, is cheaper to run and offers a lovely engine note. The five-speed manual is better than the optional CVT automatic too, which is rather noisy. The tiny body can get blown about on motorways by cross winds, however, and the car feels out of its depth in fast moving traffic.
Despite lacking adjustment for steering wheel reach and seat height, it's easy to find a good driving position. However, the ride can be a bit bouncy over bumps. Visibility is good thanks to the large windscreen, but some of the cabin buttons are fiddly – particularly the single control for the stereo system.
There's no reason to suspect the iQ will be anything other reliable. Some of the plastics in the cabin could be of better quality as they look and feel a bit cheap – especially given the iQ's price – but with a maximum five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating and safety equipment including nine airbags and ESP as standard, the iQ should offer lots of peace of mind. It also comes with Toyota's five-year warranty too.
Fitting four large adults isn’t possible – but what Toyota has done with such limited space is impressive. By moving the dash further towards the windscreen on the passenger's side, front passengers can sit farther forward than the driver, which means there's space behind for an adult. But only a small child will be able to sit behind the driver. With all seats in place, there's barely enough room for a laptop bags, but this space expands when the seats are folded.
Value for money
The entry-level iQ 1.0 is around £1,700 more than a base Smart ForTwo – but it's very well equipped, with alloy wheels, air-con and a six-speaker stereo with MP3 player compatibility. Go for the iQ2 and you get front foglamps, automatic lights and wipers, climate control and keyless entry. The 1.33-litre model costs from £12,515 and get its own iQ3 trim, with 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speed gearbox, chromed door mirrors and stop-start system.
The 1.0-litre engine returns 64.2mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2, meaning it's road tax free. By comparison, the 1.33-litre car returns 57.6mpg and emits 113g/km. Despite the relatively high price tag, the iQ holds its value pretty well, which means you’ll be able to trade it in for a fairly decent amount when the time comes to sell.