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Toyota’s premium ultra-compact iQ concept becomes a reality

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July 5, 2008

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July 6, 2008 Toyota showed its iQ Concept at last year’s motorshows, creating a new class of premium ultra-compact vehicle, capable of carrying three adults plus a child in comfort. Now, in a move that foretells a coming era of much smaller cars, the iQ is set for production in 2008 and availability in 2009. The iQ was a sensation, proving emphatically that small does not mean basic, and drawing huge crowds – the message sunk in quickly, and now the production version (pictured) offers a completely new proposition for urban motoring that is stylish, sophisticated, technically advanced and kinder to the environment.

The iQ was a sensation, proving emphatically that small does not mean basic, and drawing huge crowds – the message sunk in quickly, and now the production version (pictured) offers a completely new proposition for urban motoring that is stylish, sophisticated, technically advanced and kinder to the environment.

iQ is less than three metres long, but wider and with a longer cabin than a Toyota Yaris. It achieves a breakthrough in small car packaging to deliver unprecedented interior space, thanks to a series of interlinked engineering innovations.

A newly developed differential allows for a more compact engine compartment and for the front wheels to be pushed out to the very corners of the car. An ingenious steering gear design enables the engine and differential to be repositioned, giving the car a shorter front overhang.

Overall length is reduced thanks to a flat under-floor fuel tank and rear-angled shock absorbers, while a significantly smaller heater/air conditioning unit takes up less cabin room, allowing the front passenger seat to be moved closer to the base of the windscreen. The result is an extra 100mm of cabin length compared to Yaris and shoulder room similar to that offered by a Toyota Auris.

Passenger space is further helped by an asymmetric dashboard design and slim, sculpted front seats that optimise leg room for those sitting in the rear. The 3+1 seating configuration provides comfortable space for three adults – plus a seat for a child or luggage space behind the driver.

iQ has a thoroughly contemporary and forward-looking design inside and out, the interior styled on a “techno-organic” theme with geometric precision and high quality materials. The dashboard is a stand-out feature, with its floating V-shaped centre console.

Production of iQ is due to start later this year. Two petrol and one diesel engine will be available, which, together with the car’s light weight and aerodynamic shape, will deliver exceptional fuel economy and low emissions. Details of the powertrains and equipment specifications will be announced later. The car will make its public debut at this month’s British Motor Show.

Also to be shown, will be another concept of the same ilk – based on Toyota’s Aygo city car, it is powered by a rear-mounted 1.8-litre VVT-i engine adopted from the MR2 Roadster, driving the rear wheels. Fitted with a Toyota Motorsport turbocharger, power output is 200 DIN hp with a maximum 240 Nm of torque, giving the car a top speed of more than 125mph and sub-six-second acceleration from nought to 62mph. There are no electronic handling or stability aids to intervene in the fundamental relationship between driver and car.

Many motor show concept cars are designed purely for the stage and are destined never to turn a wheel. Where Aygo Crazy is concerned, however, driving character is its defining quality.

An absolute one-off, conceived, designed, engineered and built in Britain, Aygo Crazy is all about pure driving pleasure.

The rear suspension is also developed from that used on the MR2 Roadster, with adjustable Tein dampers deployed front and rear.

The bodywork is hand-crafted to accommodate 17-inch wheels and a huge front-mounted aluminium radiator that is central to the car’s bespoke cooling system. Details include a carbon fibre rear wing, adopted from a 200mph American Champ Car racing machine, a roll cage and a bespoke interior finished by specialist coachtrimmers O’Rourke.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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