In theory, judging only by the car's technical stats, the Toyota iQ should be the perfect current car for driving in the city. It's the second shortest car in the world after the smart fortwo, it has a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), it can turn on a dime thanks to an amazingly short turning radius, it can seat three fully grown persons and a child and the fuel economy is off the hook.
In reality, it's not exactly as great as it looks. The 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) of extra length it has over the smart fortwo are enough to withheld you from parking two iQs "nose-in" in a regular longitudinal spot, like the smart can. As much as we hated the fortwo's automated manual gearbox, the continuous variable transmission in the Toyota iQ is even worse in city driving, but from entirely different reasons.
Whereas the fortwo's transmission takes forever to change a gear, the CVT in the iQ has seamless gear changes, but at the cost of performance and fuel economy in "stop and go" traffic. Since in our test car it was paired to a gutless 68 horsepower three-cylinder engine, each time we would leave from a traffic light in a somewhat sporty matter the revs would climb to 4000-something rpm and just stay there until the speed would reach around 40-50 kilometers per hour (25-30 mph).
We should mention that the iQ has an "eco" meter, which instantly shows how economical your driving is depending on how hard you press on the accelerator. Even if we tried to keep it in "eco" the whole time, we only managed a fuel consumption of around 8.5-9 liters per 100 kilometers (US 26.1-27.7 mpg). Not a very good figure for the equivalent of a flea among cars, especially since the official numbers are telling us it should have been twice as economical.
Other than the unexpected fuel economy, the iQ was pretty much flawless. It has a turning radius of only 7.8 meters (25.6 feet), which means every time you turn around you fell like the car is slipping on a banana. The visibility on all sides is almost perfect, with a little help coming from the largest exterior rearview mirrors this side of a Fiat 500. Overall, an almost perfect car for the city, just save your money and buy one in manual. Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
For the second time in my life I have to agree with the Bach dude. He's right in saying that this Toyota looks like elephant dung. Whoever designed it should probably go back to elementary school for designers, if such a thing even exists. My five-year old nephew can draw better caricatures of washing machine with wheels than that, and he has Down syndrome.
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