iQ by Toyota



The Toyota iQ, a compact city car that is thought to be the smallest four-seater on the market, is about to go into production.


The production version, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, has seating for three adults and a child and is 2.985 metres long and 1.5 metres high.


Toyota expect to produce 100,000 iQs a year when it goes into production in October.


The following is from Toyota:


“The iQ story started a few years ago when we at Toyota began thinking of the environmental impact of automobiles. We came to the conclusion that, in order to ensure a sustainable future, there was a need for a radical change in vehicle packaging. We needed to create a break-through, away from the traditional belief that small is basic. Our answer to this is Toyota iQ,” says Kazuo Okamoto, Executive Vice President, in charge of Research and Development at Toyota Motor Corporation


J-Factor design

The design of the new iQ has its origin in Japan with J-Factor influences at its core. Toyota explains J-Factor as that aspect of Japanese originality and quality that creates modern, attractive, and globally appealing products from the apparent disharmony and contradictory nature of its original components. Expressions such as ‘small yet spacious’, ‘high-tech yet human’ and ‘emotional yet functional’ are all examples of what Toyota calls J-Factor.


Techno-organic theme for interior styling

By mathematically analysing and recreating the structural beauty of natural objects, Toyota has achieved a ‘techno-organic’ design which fuses geometric precision with inner beauty.


The steering wheel is flat-bottomed to provide the driver with greater legroom. Controls for audio are placed on the wheel to save space on the centre console and to offer a high-level of convenience for the driver. Other techno-organic features include matt silver door handles with flowing manta-ray styling. While the ultra slim seatbacks are formed in a stylish one-piece moulding that enhances the edgy feel of the iQ and assist in freeing up additional passenger space.


For more luggage capacity the 50/50 split rear seats can be separately folded flat to increase the available load area. The interior is finished in rich chocolate-plum colour, which contrasts with the matt silver of the techno-organic architecture to provide an environment of urban sophistication.

Creating more passenger space in such a compact vehicle was a key aim for Toyota’s design team. The engineers had to reconsider the very locations of various vehicle components rather than simply re-designing parts to a smaller size. The result is a true break-through in ‘small yet spacious’ packaging, which at the same time has been designed to meet the top 5-star safety rating of EURO NCAP.


The new Toyota iQ measures 2,985mm in length and 1,500mm in height, but the car’s compact ingenuity lies in its comparatively lengthy wheelbase of 2,000mm.

A newly developed differential allows the iQ to be built with short front overhangs, which result in a gain of over 100mm of additional length inside the passenger cabin area when compared to the B-segment Yaris. Toyota’s ingenious solution to the differential is 3-fold: the under-bonnet area is made more compact; the front wheels can be placed at the very corners of the car, which drastically shortens the front overhang; and the passenger compartment can be increased.


Flat under-floor fuel tank with rear-angled shock absorbers

The design of the flat under-floor fuel tank has allowed the development of shorter rear overhangs, which contribute to the reduction of the car’s overall length. Historically, a flat tank was considered difficult to engineer successfully because of the variance in fuel surface levels depending on the angle of the car. However, persistent engineering efforts to downsize and find the optimal placement of functional parts have resulted in a flat fuel tank that creates significant space savings.


Smaller heater/ air conditioning unit saves space

Toyota engineers have managed to significantly reduce the size of the heater/air conditioning unit without sacrificing performance output. As a result of the size reduction the passenger-side area of the asymmetric dashboard can be moved forward and towards the windscreen base freeing up additional cabin space.

Centre take-off steering gear for compactness

Toyota has employed a centre take-off steering gear and positioned it higher in the engine bay. The gear, engine and differential could then be repositioned creating the iQ’s size-reduced front overhang.


Slim seat design for greater leg room

The slimness of the iQ seat backs release a further 40mm of rear passenger room at knee height so that rear passengers can sit more comfortably. With an all-new frame structure and optimal adjustment of ancillary parts, the slimmer seat designs save space without sacrificing comfort.

The iQ will have the choice of one of two petrol or one diesel engine. These engines - along with the compact design, low weight, and aerodynamic shape of the iQ - will contribute to outstanding fuel economy and exceptionally low CO2 emissions, which are anticipated to start at around 100g/km. Production commences in late 2008


Posted on Wednesday July 30th 2008 at 6:31 pm by Rob Ong. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • edward

    "Other techno-organic features include matt silver door handles with flowing manta-ray styling. "

    Zowie! Overdesigned…J factor or not. I like the new fiat Topolino styling much better.

  • Zenza

    Fugly. Uncool.

    This reminds me of the Zune: the pseudo-iPod killer. This is the iQ: the pseudo-Smart killer.

    What a waste…

  • charles

    it looks… like a BOXFish!!

    Its overstyled.

  • Mattia

    I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to own a Japanese-designed car until now. Really great.

  • One

    Nice looking small car, I kinda like it.

    Still conceptually, as a design piece, it is a cpoy of Smart Cars, and donno whay and how Toyta can claim that this is possible influenced by the J-Effects… If this still meant to copy things,… the car is too simbolic to represent old joke on “Japanese Copies”…

  • Peter

    Ah well, so what do you have if you are “Smart”? Hm, difficult question if you´re suffering from a low “IQ”. Extremely disappointing that Toyota hasn´t got any courage to go another path.

  • I like it! I want one! If it gets over 40 mpg and costs under $12,000, sign me up.

  • Looks a lot like a Smart Car. No mention of electric or hybrid options. Why doesn't Toyota extend the Hybrid drive systems into these vehicles?

    This article was good because it touches upon some of the design obstacles. Nice photos. Thanks.

  • d-phrag

    Four-seater???? No wonder there aren’t many photos of the rear seats..or ah, I get it – the rear seat is for the dog!!! :)

  • Dork

    I’m ‘afraid’ it will be a SMART-killer. Just, because it is a better & cheaper car then the SMART, which is nothing else than a good looking/expensive small car.

    You can’t compare a SMART with such a thing as an I-Pod, with the pricetag on cars their are other …. as the appareance of a car.

    You can only spend your money once.

  • If you want a city car that can be driven down to somerset wait until the Venture One comes out in 2 name is down

  • magestictopaz

    there are many unnessesary lines on this concept; should be a good alternative to the smart, if priced competitively; definitly see some inspiration from the old spyder in the front

  • Mike

    This looks like a toyota, have you seen the yaris? Do you see the design language there? Enough with the smart car comparisons. Btw smart cars needs some competition, who the hell wants to pay that much money for a go-cart

  • Vlad

    It looks like a Smart? You people are visualy challenged. Just cos it’s small doesn’t mean it looks like the overpriced Merc box. Don’t know what’s the idea of a new small city car tho… they have the Aygo already which is just a little bit bigger.
    Nevertheless the IQ looks good.

  • armando

    i like this car, i would like to buy at mexico, i hope this car will be bought here, it looks like a stmart

  • Laia

    Anyone knows how much it will cost?

    I think is really nice but if it’s as expensive as smart, it doesn’t worth it.,..

  • Andrew

    I think the design is very Japanese, I was in Tokyo last week and the Japanese are so good at packaging objects, buildings so neatly and compactly. If this car has the interior room they claim with the exterior dimensions I think it’s a big achievement.

    Would look great around London too…

  • deha

    fiat 500 looks much better..

  • cool mon

    Cool Mon!

    If Toyota can make a van version out of this IQ model, that would be an extremely cool, mon

  • Bob

    Better looking than the Smart, but still not quite there. Toyota’s new design themes have shapes that suggest “baroque modern” (if one can talk of baroque shapes). From some angles the noses on this and on the Scion xD hint at World War I era Mack trucks. The 3/4 shot of the rear is awful.
    Also, just a tad too high-waisted.

  • I would buy 2 right now if they had in the US.

  • David

    I love this car but can’t wait until the mad versions start coming out. There is a Scion body kit soon :) :)

  • Veganman

    I’m going to stick with my Smart for now. When the Smart EV comes out in November, I’ll be in line for that too.

    Nice try Toyota. Make it electric and we’ll talk.