We like a small car here at Not2Grand. Back in the day, all you got was a seat, a steering wheel, and if you were lucky, maybe an engine of some kind. Small cars mobilised the masses without draining their bank accounts. Small cars were, and still are, very important. They weren’t exactly thrilling though, what with their main focus being on basic mobilisation.
These days however, small cars pack a punch. Take the Fiat 500 for example. The original was basic, but the current version? It’s like a big, proper car. But, you know, teeny.
We expect more from our cars these days, irrespective of how small they may be. Our most minuscule of motors have to entertain, they have engage and they have to be fun. The days of a car just being a car are gone. It’s a train of thought the Toyota IQ follows to the letter. This is a small car, but it offers a hell of a lot more than you might expect.
The iQ was unleashed on the world in 2008, though it didn’t turn a wheel on UK soil until 2009. Toyota heralded it as a new age in small car design, and while we’re not normally fans of any kind of heralding, Toyota wasn’t wrong. The iQ was a revolution, taking ideas from the likes of Smart and pushing them even further. The iQ was an all-new approach to getting the most out of a small car. Crucially though, despite being so very small (117.5inches long) it didn’t sacrifice space or comfort. Impressive.
Despite being small enough to qualify as a gift in your box of Frosties, the iQ could actually fit four real life human beings in it. That being said, even Toyota itself was keen to point out that the seat behind the driver was best-suited to a child. Or Warwick Davies. Still, four people in a car that small is impressive. It opened up the iQ to families, and it also pulled people from the Smart showrooms.
However, if you’re looking at the iQ, you have to realistic. You’re not going to get anything in the boot. At all. Not even the box of Frosties from whence the iQ came. Its capacity is a mere 32 litres. Your rear seat passengers will also not thank you if they’re in there for more than an hour. Think of the extra rear seats as an impressive string to a small car’s bow, rather than an outright selling point.
Needless to say, the iQ is a wonderfully economical beast. You’ve got two engine choices, at least you have for this budget. Both petrol, one is a 1.0 three-cylinder while the other is a 1.3 four-banger. The former is all you really need. You can expect economy figures in the mid-sixties along with tree-pleasing emissions of just 99g/km. The 1.3 hardly worries plant life at 113g/km.
In terms of power, the 1.0 has 67bhp, which is enough to shove the iQ along. Though you might get a bit sick of it on the motorway. It’ll also be frustrating if you want to overtake anything other than tectonic shifts. But hey, you’re not buying an iQ for that.
There is a diesel version too, which is so economical you only need to fill it up once a decade. However, it’s not within out meagre budget yet, so you can’t have one. The same can be said for the automatic version. Though you’re not missing much – it’s not the best transmission. The five-speed manual is just fine.
On the road, the ‘wheel at each corner’ design makes for cheeky handling. The iQ has real charm and peppiness. Is peppiness a word? Yeah, we think it is, and that’s the iQ all over. It’s got terrier-like eagerness. You point the iQ where you want to go, and it giddily darts off. It’s still composed though, tight in fact. It also feels really surefooted, which helps to make you think you’re driving something bigger than a wheeled thimble.
Inside, it’s spacious for the front seat passengers. Surprisingly so. This comes from Toyota’s clever body design that pushes the very limits of what can be squeezed in. The mechanicals such as the engine, gearbox, wheels, suspension and fuel tank are all pushed to the outer extremities, making for more space inside.
Add in the neat and very driver-friendly dash and controls, and you’re onto a winner. It’s also stylish, which is important if you buy your clothes from shops other than ASDA, unlike us.
The important thing to address, given that you’re going to be putting your (presumably) loved ones in your iQ, is of course safety. And happily, there is lots of it. Despite the fact you could lose an iQ on the isles of Toys r Us.
You get front driver and passenger airbags. You also get driver and passenger side airbags. There’s ABS, ESC and Isofix mountings too. The iQ doesn’t want to crash, but if it does, you’ll be safe. So safe in fact that paid-up car crimpers, EuroNCAP, gave the iQ the full five stars. Good work, Toyota.
So there you go, the Toyota iQ. Small, practical, safe and fun. What more could you want for your £2,000?