Our cars: Toyota iQ 1.0 2 - August part 1

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  • Toyota iQ tested
  • Year-long review
  • Tested by Steve Huntingford
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ 1.0 VVT-i 2
List price £10,995
Target Price £10,504
Run by Steve Huntingford, road tester
Why it’s on test? To see how well the stylish and desirable iQ city car copes with the daily commute

In the cult mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap, the band’s lead singer, David St Hubbins, remarks: ‘It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid’. Having just spent a year with Toyota’s iQ city car, I’ve got to say I agree.

In some ways the iQ is a work of genius, because it’s big enough for three six-footers, despite being less than 3m long.

However, this impressive packaging also brings compromises that can make you want to shout ‘d’oh!’

I was first drawn to the iQ by its small size, because I live in town and have no off-street parking, but the generous list of standard kit also appealed. As Paul Sheeran of Currie Motors Twickenham (020 8892 0041) pointed out when I collected my car, every model comes with alloy wheels, stability control and nine airbags. What’s more, the 2 trim that I’d chosen adds climate control, auto lights and wipers to the base 1 trim, plus much funkier switchgear.

There were also a couple of items on the options list that I had to have. White Pearl paint really suits the iQ, so it was worth the extra £370, while satellite-navigation might seem like an extravagance at £930, but you can’t save any radio station presets unless you choose it.

Sci-fi looks
By the time I’d finished speccing my iQ, the bill had risen to almost £12,000 (£12,605 at today’s prices), which is a lot for a city car. However, the little Toyota’s ability to turn heads helped reduce any resentment on my part.

The iQ is one of the most distinctive small cars around, looking like a Star Wars Stormtrooper’s helmet on the outside. What’s more, the cabin is just as futuristic, with an unusual triangular centre console design and plenty of digital readouts.

Funky iQ is a city car for the 21st century
The dashboard is hollowed out on the left-hand side, which allows the front passenger to sit farther forward than the driver and therefore leaves enough room for an adult to fit behind. Just don’t expect to give a fourth person a lift – I’m only 5ft 9in, but I never found anyone small enough to squeeze in behind me.
There were other issues.

Toyota bills the iQ as a premium car, but most of the interior plastics are hard to the touch, and they scuffed quite easily. Over-the-shoulder vision was pretty awful, too, the seat height wasn’t variable, and the steering wheel adjusted up and down only, not in and out.

Our cars: Toyota iQ 1.0 2 - August part 2

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