When the first smart car hit the roads in 1998, there were mixed feelings about how well it would do. They then released a convertible making it a perfect fit for any queer and his dog, and since then nothing has really come close to touching the smart car when it comes to city driving.
Introducing the iQ, the latest in small car technology from Toyota.
Defeating the object of its nature, the iQ is a 9ft by 5ft four-seater city car that shouts style, practicality and most or all efficiency. However I can't help but think that Toyota have teamed up with Apple on this one, using a select 4 colours to release it in and only two trim levels, the iQ is certainly an acquired taste, although a lot more innovative than any city car we've tested.
The iQ certainly turns heads, but is it all it's cracked up to be when you get inside? Well as you may have already guessed from the title, the iQ isn't short of intelligence, although not in terms of in car entertainment or sat nav, no, the iQ hides all it's brains until you get in and start the engine. Toyota have included an array of standard features in the iQ and here's just a few: Keyless entry, Keyless drive, Dusk sensing headlamps, Rain sensing wipers…and a whole lot more!
What I particularly love about this little city car is Toyota's 'Optimal Drive' system, which also comes as standard throughout their range. It isn't an alien concept by any means, the system suggests the gear that the car will be the most fuel-efficient in, it does this by a simple arrow telling you to change up/down and also helps reduce emissions that the car produces. All this helps increase your fuel consumption to 65 mpg and decrease your CO2 emissions to a fantastic 99g/km, meaning it's a steal when it comes to taxing and insuring an iQ.
All this is fantastic, and an absolute song to all you city driver's out there, but where the iQ falls short is on the motorway, although fantastic on fuel, you'll have a hard job getting anywhere fast. It take 14 seconds to get to 60mph and unfortunately once you get there, there isn't much else there in terms of power. This does cause issues when it comes to overtaking, and it's a little daunting when you're sat in between two lorries in the slow lane, because you can't increase your speed quick enough.
On to city driving itself, and I have to admit there isn't a gap you cant get through, a road too narrow, or a space you won't be able to park in (unless you can't park).
The iQ has the smallest turning circle I have ever experienced, meaning that parking is a breeze, three point turns no longer exist and before you know it your facing the other way. It takes city driving to a whole new level of fun, and you'll find yourself gloating at all the other cars on the road searching for a space big enough to park, as you hop in and out side streets avoiding the traffic.
Overall, the iQ will certainly convert some if not most of the smart car generation, and is certainly setting new expectations from the small car industry. Arguably it isn't fantastic on the motorway, however I don't think that I can hold that against it, only being a one-litre petrol. The iQ is definitely a true city car, a comfortable four seater that will get you around town in style.