(Space) Capsule Review: Toyota iQ. (Closed Course. Unlicensed Driver.)

Posted on 27. Dec, 2010 by in Auto News

"This could be Toyota iPod," said Britain's Fifth Gear. The iQ is Toyota (some say much smarter) answer to the Daimler Smart. But the problem is: The iQ is only in Japan and Europe. His imminent arrival in the U.S. has been announced many times. More on that later. While in Japan, I wanted to take a test drive with the smallest car to the largest automaker in the world. But first there were huge obstacles to overcome.

I do not have a driver's license. Technically, I do not do.

During the discussion of the test drive, I was asked if I'm correct license, and I proudly produced three licenses: German, American and Chinese.

Not good enough for Japan. In Japan, you must have an international driver's license if you are not driving a Japanese. That an international driving license is only a translation of your license, and usually a waste of time and money: Show a foreign police that thing away and he waves and they either want to see the real. Or he arrests you. Some countries, such as China, insist that you get your driver's license or a driver

Japan is an orderly country, and not even think about walking up to a rental counter without an international driving license. And not go to Toyota and want a test drive.

In the time it took me to figure out that I was going to simply to downtown Tokyo, spend an afternoon and 3,000 yen at the JAF, the Japanese version of the AAA, and walk away properly documented was the friendly people found in Toyota already something else: You have a closed course at the Docklands of Tokyo, and if I come early and accompanied by someone of their PR department, they would waive the license requirement. This time.

Come early meant fabled Tokyo with public transport during the morning rush hour. There is no better preparation for the test as a city car squeezed into the JR train with millions of other sardines. Then even the smallest car will feel spacious.

The car tested, a recently revamped iQ be proven. The trim of this model has a small problem. It is difficult to give. It is called with an arrow iQ behind. As in iQ →. Because "iQ with an arrow behind it" is a bit awkward, the Japanese usually call it "go iQ." The iQ Go is to be a sportier version of the iQ. It may have to with the Super CVT-i variable transmission, or a six-speed manual. They gave me the CVT version. According to the rumor mill, this is the version that will show up stateside as a Scion iQ (and hopefully not as "Scion with an arrow behind") be, if and when the iQ shows stateside.

You should always have a iQ approach carefully. It's easy to stumble. This car is small. Small on the outside. Inside is a different story. My chaperon looked my 5 foot 8 figure, and said. "The chief engineer of the car is bigger than you"

And in fact, after I weighed my slightly overweight frame into the car, I sat pretty and comfortable. If you adjust the seat to the correct sitting position, it is almost touching the rear seat. The passenger sits slightly before (and in Japan to the left) from you, and can still stretch his legs. This provides enough legroom for backseat behind the passenger seat. Daimler has a Smart ForTwo. Toyota has an IQ of 3 +1. Three adults and a baby Or a couple of shopping bags.

Speaking of pockets: Not even the collection of luggage, if you fill the iQ with three adults plus one think. The luggage compartment behind the hatch of the iQ barely fits a thin briefcase and a newspaper, as long as the paper is not the weekend edition.

And again, the car's superior IQ: If you want to go a weekend with my wife, or hot day, turn the split rear seatback forward, and presto, space for him and her (small) case, but no room for all witnesses .

By the way: small does not reduce your security. The iQ has a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP, the entire complement of electronic gizmos, and you are surrounded by an army of airbags. There's even an airbag for the rear window. Just in case.

Go to the Toyota iQ is Toyota's 1.3-liter 1NR-FE Dual VVT-i engine makes 93hp and turn 1 liter of petrol in precious 23.5 km power. Converted to U.S. specs that 55 mpg (non-EPA.) The 1.3-liter engine produces 101 grams of CO2 per kilometer. If you want to have the green creds of less than 100 grams, then you need to get the 1-liter version. It produces only 99 grams, but only 67 hp. A number of other interesting technology comes in this small package, too much for a capsule review. Find the Top Gear video. They explain it pretty well.

Speaking of videos: YouTube is chock-full of videos, demonstrating one of the best features of iQ: There is parking ability. Despite a couple of inches longer than the Smart ForTwo, its turning radius is tighter.

But how is it to drive? Frankly, the closed circuit is not a high speed test track, and the IQ Go does not charge. It has for the city, the conditions under which I drove it in order. (If you want to take the car for a virtual spin, we can start.) In Japan, you can buy "GAZOO iQ Racing tuned by MN." If you are one, find limited edition 100 pieces. It comes with the same 1.3-liter engine. The purchase of the Aston Martin Cygnet, which is mechanically identical, one can not not more oomph. The iQ is what it is.

And now the big question: When can it stateside? The Unofficial Guide To The Scion IQ Toyota had it on good authority that the car would have made in the USA available last September. September passed, the U.S. was free from iQ. Autoblog reported later that "Toyota representatives expect it to hit dealer showrooms around March of next year."

Well, I had my own Toyota representatives (well, left) to the right of me, and I asked:

"So when it come to the U.S.?"

Shrug.

A few minutes later, I parked the iQ (not shown up with the vigor in the videos, but easy no less) and I asked: "Do you want to go to the Detroit Motor Show"

"Sure."

"The iQ is to be seen?"

"Over on! A Toyota Century! It probably has redesigned its name because it is once in a century. Hahaha you want to drive it?"

Sometimes you have to know when to stop asking you. If you see a Scion iQ in Detroit, you know it will come.

The Toyota iQ as tested starts going at 1.6 million yen (including Japan's consumption tax, $ 19,300 at today's rate.) With leather, the prize goes to 1.7 million yen ($ 20,500 including VAT).

Disclosure: Toyota provided chaperon closed track, car, and less than a liter of petrol.