What’s new on Toyota’s Geneva Motor Show stand?
The brand’s biggest news by far was the production iQ city car. The road-going iQ keeps almost all of the 2007 Frankfurt concept’s great packaging – half a metre shorter than a Fiat 500 at 2985mm – but still housing four seats, three for adults and one behind the driver for a child or luggage (there’s no conventional boot space). The concept’s pointy triangular front and rear lights are ditched for better-looking squarer ones and the production interior gets a less flowing – but still striking – centre stack.
The car’s compact exterior but flexible interior is made possible through a re-designed engine bay, miniaturised air-con system, slimmer seats, flat under-floor fuel tank and asymmetric dashboard – narrower on the passenger side to allow two adults to sit one behind the other. The final version will be shown in Paris this autumn with only tiny changes – like a less-purple interior – before a late 2008 launch. Two petrols and one diesel will be offered – including stop/start tech to get the cleanest petrol under 100g/km of CO2 – and Toyota expects to sell 100,000 units per year globally with premium-only specs from £9000.
The three-plus-one packaging in a sub-three-metre car is a genuine innovation for city mobility. Expect other makers to follow suit…
What were they thinking?
The European unveil of the i-Real ‘upright scooter thingy’ on its own ice rink seemed even more ridiculous in Geneva than it did in Tokyo last year.
In a nutshell
The iQ is arguably the most important real-world car of the whole show. It could become a landmark design.