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Toyota thinks small

Conception: Toyota squeezed four seats into this micro concept car.

Toyota's iQ is its answer for the (very small) urban family

19 Sep 2007

MEET Toyota’s solution for urban family motoring in the not-too-distant future: the iQ.

Billed as the world’s smallest four-seat passenger concept car and revealed at the Frankfurt show last week, the iQ is about as wide (1680mm) and as high (1480mm) as a five-door Yaris, but somehow manages to squeeze four seats into a total overall length that is a whole 770mm shorter than Toyota Australia’s smallest model.

At just 2980mm long, the iQ is about halfway between Smart’s ForTwo and ForFour models, as well as 425mm shorter than Toyota Europe’s own Aygo micro-hatch, which is too small to be sold here.

Yet, in what is claimed to be “a radical solution to the challenge of personal urban transport”, Toyota says the four-seat three-door is capable of seating three adults plus a child or luggage by sliding the front passenger seat forward to make room for another adult out back alongside the child-only rear seat (presumably behind the driver).

8 center imageTight and testing it might sound, but Toyota says “the small size has required no compromise in safety standards, with a strong passenger compartment safety cell that ensures optimum impact energy absorption”.

The ultra-compact iQ, which claims to set new standards in small-vehicle packaging, was designed at Toyota’s European design studio, ED2, in southern France and is aimed at “the lifestyle needs and environmental concerns of Europe’s modern metropolitans”.

“The iQ concept is designed to reflect and enhance the lifestyle of its owners,” said Toyota Motor Corporation’s manager of design activities Wahei Hirai.

“In an urban environment, people want to express themselves through dynamic and on-the-edge design, but at the same time rational factors such as size, functionality and CO2 emissions cannot be ignored. Bringing these contradictory aims together in synergy was critical to the iQ concept. It’s a way of thinking we call the ‘J-factor’, a philosophy at the heart of all our activities.”

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