Toyota launched this microcar at the Geneva Auto Show in 2008. The vehicle was offered for sale in October 2008 in Japan, while it went on sale in Europe in 2009. The production model of iQ was based on the concept vehicle exhibited at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2007. The North American version of iQ is expected to make its debut in 2011 under the name Scion iQ.
The name iQ has a great significance as it calls back the Smart Fortwo, a major competitor of iQ. Toyota explained the name of the car as, “i represents ‘individuality’, ‘innovation’ and ‘intelligence’ whereas the Q represents ‘quality’ and also the ‘cubic’ shape of the iQ.” The iQ was also named as the Japanese Car of the Year for 2008.
The unique design of the iQ was finalized at the Toyota European Design and Development (Toyota ED2) studio in Nice, France.
The design of the iQ is unique in itself. It not only makes the car look unique but also offers a low fuel consumption, maneuverability, environmental friendliness etc. Other remarkable features include a newly developed differential, a center take-off steering gear, a flat fuel tank and rear-angled shock absorbers, a smaller heater/air conditioning unit and asymmetric dashboard, and a slimmer seat design.
Body Styles and Engines
The iQ is offered in both 2- seat and 4-seat body styles where 2-seat iQ was only available in Japan.
iQ was offered both in petrol and diesel engine. The petrol engines include: 1.0-L 1KR-FE, 1.33-L 1NR-FE, 1.3-L 1NR-FE and 1ND-TV and the only diesel engine was 1.4D 1364 cc (83.2 cu in) I4.
The UK models are offered only with petrol engines, while Japanese model only featured 1.0-L engine before the new 1.33-L engine was added to the lineup in 2009. The car also has the ability to come with 1.6-L engine. The 1.33-L models also feature the start/stop system.
As for transmission, the 1.0-L models are mated to a 5-speed manual, CVT (Super CVT?i); the 1.33-L models features a 6-speed manual, CVT (Super CVT?i); and the 1.4D models comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Japanese versions only have CVT transmission.
There are total of nine safety airbags used in iQ such as dual frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side torso airbags, side curtain airbags, front passenger seat cushion airbag, a driver’s knee airbag and a newly developed rear curtain airbag to protect backseat passengers’ heads from rear end collisions. Other standard safety features include a Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Brake Assist, and an Electronic Brakeforce distribution.
Toyota FT-EV Concept
At the North American International Auto Show, Toyota revealed the FT-EV concept in January 2009.
It is basically a battery electric concept vehicle with an expected capacity of 50 miles (80 cm). According to Toyota, the production model of FT-EV will be launched somewhere in 2012.
The FE-EV II presented at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2009 was somewhat a modified version of the forthcoming FT-EV.