British Motor Show - Toyota - cute and crazy

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It's a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous on Toyota's stand.

On the one hand you have the iQ, which can seat three adults and a child - and provide them with five-star crash protection - in a car that's less than three metres long.

On the other, there's the Aygo Crazy, a lunatic 200bhp, rear-wheel-drive version of Toyota's city car.

Toyota will be selling the iQ as a chic urban runabout to rival the Mini and Fiat 500.

To cram so much into so little space, it has had to devise some clever engineering solutions. These include:

• a new differential that takes up less space within the engine bay;

• a flat fuel tank that fits beneath the floor;

• repositioned steering gear;

• an unusually compact air-conditioning system;

• angled shock absorbers;

• an asymmetric dashboard that gives more knee room on the passenger's side than on the driver's;

• slimline seats.

Together they help shave more than 100mm off the overall length.

There's also the Urban Cruiser, which is set to go on sale in the UK next year. It's a small 4x4, which Toyota says has been designed to combine good interior space with low emissions and high fuel economy. Expect more details nearer its launch.

While it won't go into production in this form, the next generation Prius will look a lot like the Hybrid X on display. However, Toyota isn't limiting its ambitions to the Prius - Hybrid X has been created to show design details of how all future Toyota hybrid cars will look.

Never going to make it into production, but a masterpiece of packaging nevertheless, is the Aygo Crazy. A 1.8-litre engine from the MR2 roadster slots in where the rear passengers would normally be, giving the car a 0-62mph time of less than six seconds.

The rear suspension is also largely from the MR2, and there are no traction or stability control systems.

Even the bodywork has been hand-crafted to fit over the 17-inch wheels.

You won't be able to pop into your Toyota dealer and pick up an Aygo Crazy. They'll think it's you who's gone crazy. It's strictly a one-off.

However, iQ will be around early next year.

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