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Friday, August 22, 2014

Toyota IQ: The perfect budget city car?

Energy efficient city cars
Fuel efficient city cars reduce transportation expenses and make parking easier
By Arthur Wilson

City cars are becoming more and more popular due to the rising cost of fuel and lack of parking spaces. Toyota has made the iQ City Car which answers both of these problems. It is easy to park and cheap to run.

Toyota has designed a city car which has small dimensions but which still accommodates four people. The clever design makes it versatile and classy. The price is more than the Aygo or the Sandero but there is no other car on the market like it.

The iQ measures just under 3 metres in length which is slightly more than a Smart car but the compact dimensions make it easy to park in crowded cities and towns. Where this innovative car scores most highly is that, unlike other small city cars, this one will fit in four people. The dashboard is designed so that the front passenger is seated slightly further forward than the driver and this allows more space in the rear of the cabin.

That said, the rear will really only be suitable for a teenager and a car seat but it is still an impressive design. A word of warning though. Driving this car on the motorway can be a frightening experience so it is best to stay around the town. Crosswinds can blow the car about and it feels out of place in fast moving heavy traffic.

Performance 

In the Toyota iQ City Car you can do a U-turn pretty much anywhere you want. The model has very light steering and handles well for such a tiny car. It is available with either a 1.0 litre three cylinder engine or a 1.33 litre four cylinder engine.

The car will achieve 0 to 60 mph in a leisurely 14 seconds but as it is so small this actually feels quite fast. The standard five speed manual transmission is better than the automatic box which is noisy. A small car like the iQ City Car will never be as comfortable as a larger vehicle and you can't adjust the steering but it has a good driving position with some elbow and shoulder room in the front. But, if you are tall forget it, as leg room is really limited.

The base model of the iQ has alloy wheels, a six speaker stereo and air conditioning. The better iQ2 also has automatic headlights, front fogs, climate control and a keyless entry system. Running costs are very low and the car is free from road tax due to the low emissions. On the whole insurance premiums are also very cheap.

Taking care of your IQ

Constantly driving around town can mean that both the exterior and interior of the car can get grubby very quickly so if you are acquiring an iQ, consider how to protect the vehicle and protect its sell-on value.

Think to yourself "Are my seats covered and protected, do my car mats fit correctly and will my iQ get scratched by other cars when parked at night?" 

Having correctly fitting car mats is one way to protect the interior, as well as seat covers. Also ensure that you check for chips in windscreen and get them fixed as soon as you seen them. The bigger they got, the more they will cost you to repair. 

Is the Toyota iQ the perfect city car?

For driving to and from work in a congested city like London or Manchester, the iQ is ideal. It's small and comfortable to drive. It may not be as stylish as a top of the range Aygo, but for the price to buy, insure and tax an iQ, it's certainly worth considering when buying on a budget.  


About the author: Written by motor journalist Arthur Wilson. Follow him on Twitter @Ayup_Arthur and let me know your thoughts!