Perhaps the ultimate city car for the childless, the Toyota iQ includes all of the safety, comfort, and convenience you’d expect from a larger car, but packaged in the world’s smallest 59 mpg 4-seater.


Before the details fanatics among us get all hot and bothered, the 59 mpg (4.0 liters/100 km) rating refers to the diesel iQ’s combined city/highway fuel economy expressed in U.S. miles but as measured by European standards (base directive 80/1268/EEC, latest amendment 2004/3/EC).

With lower carbon dioxide emissions than the Prius — around 159 grams of CO2 emitted per mile by the 1.0 liter gas engine and 166 g/mile for the diesel version — not only does the iQ deliver on fuel economy, but its straight-up conventional engine is a pollution winner too.

At just about 9.8 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 4.9 feet tall, Toyota certainly has pulled of a near engineering miracle with the amount of stuff they’ve crammed into this tiny vehicle.

Toyota claims the iQ can fit 3 adults and 1 child “comfortably.” It can be loaded with sensors to automatically turn on and off the windshield wipers and lights, heated retractable door mirrors, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, halogen bulbs, fog lights, a Toyota navigation system, leather seats, and seat heaters.

The engineering genius required to fit all this large car stuff into a tiny car body involved some major innovations, including:

  • New front-mounted differential allowing extra space
  • Center take-off steering gear for compactness
  • Low profile, 4.7 inch-high under-floor fuel tank
  • New ultra-slim seats for greater leg room
  • 20% smaller heater/air conditioning unit than the already small Yaris
  • Asymmetric dashboard design and sliding seat configuration

Two engines will be available at launch — a 1.0 liter VVT-i gas engine and a 1.4 liter D-4 diesel engine. There is a choice of three types of transmissions: manual, automatic and the newly developed “multidrive” transmission, which is a souped-up version of the continuously variable transmission available on the Prius.

The iQs equipped with the multidrive transmission will have an “ECO driving indicator” that may encourage drivers to conserve fuel by telling them when fuel is being used more efficiently and when it is being wasted. Current and average real-time fuel consumption will also be shown on the display.

To top it off, the iQ has a whole host of new and standard safety features including the world’s first rear window airbag curtain, that, when combined with side and front airbags, creates virtually 360° of airbag protection.

So, what’s it gonna take for Toyota to bring this thing to the US? Toyota expects to sell about 80,000 of them a year in Europe. As I’ve said time and time again, bring the cars that people want and the car companies will make oodles of money.

Update 10/14/1008: According to Motor Trend, Toyota will be bringing the iQ to the US under the Scion badge.

Image Credits: Toyota

Source: Green Car Congress