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If you need proof that the old saying "less is more" is true then look no further than Toyota's radical new iQ model. At just 2895mm long it's the world's smallest four seater car boasting a turning circle of only 3.9 metres, making it manoeuvrable and easy to park.
Despite its small stature, iQ has real presence and is fun to drive. In 2008 the iQ was named Japanese Car of the Year by Japan's Automobile Manufacturer's Association (JAMA).
Designed to comfortably seat three adults plus either a child or 168 litres of luggage, with one rear seat folded, the iQ has ingenious packaging resulting from several space saving engineering innovations that represent breakthroughs in automobile development.
Its interior is surprisingly spacious. Engineers have reconsidered the location of various components as well as redesigning some key parts to suit a smaller size.
The air conditioning unit is 20 per cent smaller without sacrificing its performance output. This allowed the passenger side area of the asymmetrical dashboard to be moved forward towards the windscreen base, freeing up additional cabin space.
Other innovations include a flat under floor fuel tank, the differential positioned in front of the transmission and slimmer seat backs.
Powered by a 1.0 litre three cylinder 1KR-FE engine with CVT five-speed automatic transmission, iQ delivers 50kW of power at 6,000rpm and 98Nm of torque at 4,800rpm.
iQ is economical, sipping just 4.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and emitting just 100 grams of CO2 when tested under the Japanese 10/15 test cycle.
Despite its size, safety has not been compromised; iQ has been awarded a five star Euro NCAP rating.
The safety package in iQ includes an Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, plus nine airbags including the world's first rear seat centre airbag to reduce the severity of passenger injuries in rear end collisions.
iQ is available as a low mileage near new Signature Class vehicle, which means it comes with a three year unlimited kilometre warranty and various other customer benefits.
It is available in two grades - the standard G grade, and a top of the range G Leather grade including leather seating and alloy wheels. Options that can be added to further personalise the iQ include satellite navigation and alloy wheels.
iQ is so full of character each of the vehicles will be given their own unique personality and individual names such as Lucy, Oscar and Bert.
Toyota New Zealand's General Manager of Used Vehicles, Spencer Morris said, "We want to further emphasise the model's personality by giving each vehicle a name to reinforce the unique nature of the iQ."
"iQ is an ideal vehicle for city dwellers who want a vehicle that makes a minimal impact on the environment. It will also appeal to fleet buyers and business operators seeking a funky town runabout or mobile billboard," he said.
The Signature Class Toyota iQ has an RSP of $26,990 until the end of December 2009. To find out more visit www.toyota.co.nz/iq