While an announcement of ANOTHER city car set to be produced in the near future is not exactly breaking news nowadays, the fact that it will be made by Toyota probably gives it a better chance for success than others. Even more than that, it can amazingly seat 4 people.
The car, called the iQ, is less than ten feet long and is expected to compete with the tiny Smart car made by Mercedes. Unlike the two-seat Smart, however, the iQ has a back seat and can carry up to four passengers. You’ll have to take a leap of faith on that one. To communicate to buyers the extra space available in the iQ they are bestowing a 3+1 asymetrical seating configuration to the vehicle and in press releases. Toyota said it was able to squeeze four seats in such a small car by creating a flat gas tank that sits under the seats, using new materials to make thinner seat cushions, redesigning the dashboard and steering wheel to leave extra room for the font passengers and reengineering smaller components like the HVAC system to further increase space. The passenger side of the dashboard is farther forward than the driver’s side allowing the seat to slide further forward ahead of the driver providing at least, in theory, room for a third adult in the rear seat. Truth be told, Toyota admits that the area behind the driver is clearly only for kids or small cargo. Whether you believe the back seat is really capable of transporting humans, it at the very least provides an increase in overall interior volume to many of its competitors.
Despite its size and economy Toyota has designed the iQ to get a five star rating on the Euro NCAP crash test and a suprising amount of high-end features, including a triangular center console fitted with a 5.8-inch display. The car will be available with either a 1 liter gasoline engine or a 1.4 liter diesel engine and made in Japan. Toyota expects yearly iQ sales in Europe to be in the 100,000 range though an exact price has not been realeased. Although the Mercedes’ Smart has been a relative sales success in the U.S., it is unclear if Toyota will offer the iQ in America as well. In comparison to the Smart, we think the iQ has much more of a “real car” feel that many would find a attractive.
Overall, for a city car the iQ is not half bad to look at and might be a lesser evil for those looking to purchase such a vehicle in the future.