Make / Model Search

Future models - Toyota - Urban Cruiser

First look: Toyota thinks petite at Paris

RAV4 Lite: Toyota's uber-compact Urban Cruiser SUV will challenge the popular Suzuki SX4 in Europe.

Both the Smart-like IQ and sub-RAV4 Urban Cruiser show that size means all at Toyota

15 Sep 2008

CITY of lights takes on a new meaning at Toyota with its smallest-ever production car spearheading the world’s number one carmaker’s Parisian show stand.

The IQ is a ‘three-plus-one’ four-seater city car that – at less than three metres long at 2985mm – is barely 40cm larger than the two-seater Smart by Mercedes-Benz.

As the latter has been hugely successful in France’s biggest city, it is no surprise that Toyota settled on Paris for the production version’s world debut.

Sadly, cost constraints will probably keep the tiny Toyota out of Australia, with some pundits predicting a Yaris-eclipsing $17,000 price tag – although this would still put the Japanese car comfortably ahead of the Smart 451 Fortwo.

Toyota says three adults and a child can be conveyed in comfort and safety at speeds over 160km/h – courtesy of a 50kW 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine mounted in the nose and driving the front wheels via a six-speed CVT or five-speed manual gearbox.

A 1.3-litre petrol unit with stop-start technology is earmarked for next year, while a 1.4-litre diesel-powered IQ will also be available in some markets.

Among its many novelties, the IQ introduces rear airbags, which are necessary as it lacks the Smart’s heavy and costly but effective Tridion safety cage Toyota is said to have deemed this unnecessary. Why is the IQ front-wheel drive when the Smart is a rear-driver? Toyota eschewed a rear-engine layout for the same reason that Volkswagen reportedly has for its upcoming Up city car – cost pressures.

Although the IQ required an all-new platform, developing one with the engine out the back adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the budget, and nullifies model sharing with larger vehicles in the future.

Nevertheless, advances in dashboard design, electronics miniaturisation and incredibly smart packaging efficiencies have created perhaps the most innovative Toyota since the 1989 Previa (1990 to 2000 Tarago II) MPV’s unsurpassed front mid-engine rear-drive layout.

“With its innovative use of interior space and advanced engine technologies, the IQ forms a major milestone in Toyota’s environmental commitment and continuous efforts to develop technologies that reduce emissions to much lower levels,” Toyota says.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota iQ.

Meanwhile, a repeat of the original RAV4 of 1994’s spectacular global success is on the agenda with the Urban Cruiser compact SUV.

Previewed at Geneva in concept car form and already out in Japan as the Ist, it will boast a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, driving all four wheels, as well as 1.5-litre petrol and front-wheel drive models.

Up against the well-received Suzuki SX4, the Urban Cruiser is closely related to the Scion xD sold through Toyota’s Scion youth brand in North America, and is based on the current-generation Yaris light car platform.

“Offering lower emissions and strong economy combined with AWD performance, the Urban Cruiser represents a new form of recreation vehicle,” Toyota stated.

Again, Australia will probably miss out on this Toyota, as 1.5 litres is deemed too small in the compact SUV segment.

The final Toyota world premiere will be the new-generation Avensis.

Although it sold in Australia only in Honda Odyssey-style people mover guise from 2001, the Avensis sedan and wagon are essentially the Camry of Europe, even if the two are unrelated.

Furthermore, the Avensis is the largest Toyota-branded sedan sold in Europe, and it has been manufactured in Derbyshire, England since 1997.

Five years earlier, Toyota began to build the T170 Corona-based Carina E at that site.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Toyota models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here