With a massive 18-car product offensive planned for 2009, Toyota should have been one of the stars of this year's London show. But there's a clue in the timing; 2008 is a quiet year for Toyota, with a lull before next year's storm of new models.
What’s new on Toyota’s London motor show stand?
Disappointingly, concept cars from previous events aside, there are just three new models on show in ExceL. The Urban Cruiser (great name in Britain? Hardly!) due in spring 2009 and the iQ city car were the future production stars, while the one-off MR2-based Aygo Crazy with its steroid-injected bodywork and turbocharged MR2 engine will appeal to the boy racers.
CAR’s Toyota highlight
Considering it’s a Toyota, the Urban Cruiser is quite a funky-looking little thing. Yaris-based, it’s aimed at buyers of the now defunct three-door Mk1 RAV4. It goes on sale over here in the first quarter of 2009.
What were they thinking?
The successor to the Avensis will be built at the firm’s British factory near Derby. Which begs the question: why wasn’t it unveiled at the British motor show? The answer? It’s not because it’s not ready. It’s because Toyota is keeping its powder dry until the Paris motor show in September 2008.Click here to go to CAR's London motor show A-Z homepage
In a nutshell
An average effort from the Japanese firm. It could all have been so much better.
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on the Toyota stand,
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What surprised me most?
The absence of a halo. If one and a half Pious’ didn’t make the point there’s a next generation electric-blue concept called ‘Hybrid-I’ just to ram it home.
Forget the PR spin : what’s the real story?
The utterly conventional, 1 litre IQ. In a package not much longer than a Smart I beheld four six-foot suits climb in and profess themselves comfortable. They even got out again and were whole. Later I also saw a leper cured, but maybe that was the champagne. As at Lotus, the IQ shows what clever people can do with engineering and packaging. An under-floor fuel-tank and a wide rear track place the rear seats over the rear axle while upfront miniaturisation has produced, among other things, the world’s smallest air-conditioning unit. Simple. So why’s no one done it before?
Comes down to a choice of being black-balled for buying a 4x4, laughed at for buying an Auris, or forgotten about for buying an Avensis. Or you could get an IQ in January and show how individual you are compared to Smart and FIAT 500 buyers?
Click here to go to CAR's London motor show A-Z homepage