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On sale in the UK: No time before 2017, surely!
Engine: Electric motor, lithium ion batteries
Transmission: Single speed, no gearbox, three-wheel drive
Performance: 20mph top speed, achieved in a flick of the wrist
How heavy / made of? Mostly plastic, no weight available
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 995/700/1430 in low-speed mode. 1510/700/1125 in high-speed mode
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CAR's rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Handling

Rated 3 out of 53

Performance

Rated 4 out of 54

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Toyota i-Real (2007) concept CAR review

By Tim Pollard

First Drives

31 October 2007 12:32

Toyota i-Real: the weirdest road test ever?

Well, let's clear up any confusion straight away. This isn't a conventional CAR road test. We didn't pile on hundreds of miles in the i-Real. We didn't pitch it into a group test against Stephen Hawking's chair. And we didn't strap our timing gear on to extract performance figures. But we were among a handful of select journalists to have a go in one of the weirdest cars at the recent Tokyo Motor Show. The i-Real is Toyota's dream of how we can scoot around crowded city streets in the future. It's a concept car, true, but it's one that works and Toyota wasn't scared to let us have a scoot around its show stand in Japan. That's more than can be said about most heavily guarded and precious concepts in the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre.

Did it, err, corner on rails then?

Surprisingly, for a concept car, the i-Real is a proper jump-in-and-drive device. I hesitate to use the word car. But it is that simple. Slip into the comfortably padded seat, grip the two joysticks built into each armrest and off you go. Either joystick controls the i-Real, so left- and right-handers will be equally at home. You push the stick forwards to go forwards, left to go left, right to go right and pull back to stop. Logical, eh? And that's it. There are a few small extra buttons that we weren't allowed to use to select reverse and increase the speed if you want to head towards the dizzy 20mph top speed. Jump in, push the lever forward and you pull away on a seamless and joyously silent wave of electric power. We negotiated a crowded motor show stand and the i-Real is blissfully easy to steer, the chair responding faithfully to inputs. At city speeds, you sit high and the axles move closer together so you take up less road space and enjoy good visibility. But up the pace (relatively speaking, of course), and the whole contraption hinges lower to the ground, pushing the twin front wheels further forward and reducing the centre of gravity. With that instant slug of acceleration, you can dart into gaps and shock pedestrians who, frankly, are pretty gobsmacked to see you. And it's amazingly simple to use. You never feel like you need stabilisers and you quickly adapt to the angles you can adapt through corners. I could just about imagine myself using it to pop down to WH Smiths to collect the newspapers on a Sunday morning. Although a paper bag might be required to ensure my anonymity.

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cassietate

cassietate says

RE: Toyota i-Real (2007) concept CAR review

 I'm 61 with lots of health issues I am very interested in this machine I travel a lot will there be any way to  transport the i-real long distances,  I drive a 2010 Lexus 460 will the i-real  have some type of lift and a cover please let me know. 

06 June 2011 04:01

 

audaciousmale

audaciousmale says

RE: Toyota i-Real concept CAR review

I'm a less abled person who has MS, I have always had issues about getting in a wheelchair if it looks like it was made by the NHS..... The I-Real looks like something I'd like to ride around in everywhere, and I would feel safe due to todays society,  at least if I was approached by the odd mugger I would have the speed to run or sound a horn.

That I will look to buy as soon as it is available.

28 March 2010 11:55

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