Here’s a smart idea from Toyota. Called the iQ, it’s the world’s smallest four-seater car. Tipped to go on sale in around two years’ time, it’s billed as a ‘premium’ city car, and debuts a range of miniaturised technologies.
At only 2,980mm long, it’s 425mm shorter than the firm’s compact Aygo, but at 1,680mm wide and 1,480mm high, is spacious enough to seat four.
Practicality is boosted by the versatile cabin, which can be arranged and adjusted to suit a variety of uses. In standard form, the driver and front passenger sit side-by-side. But by moving the passenger chair forward, extra room can be freed up behind. And in the back, the bench folds flat to create extra luggage capacity.
Many key components have been shrunk to maximise cabin space. An ultra-compact heating unit takes up very little room in the dash console, while a single central dial displays the interior temperature and houses the ventilation dials. The speedometer, rev counter and fuel gauge are all displayed in one window.
Audio and navigation controls are integrated into the steering wheel, with route-finding information projected on to the windscreen by a head-up display. A panoramic glass sunroof gives the cabin an airy feel during the day, while at night, there’s ambient lighting in the footwells. Toyota promises the small dimensions don’t compromise crash protection, as the iQ’s body features a clever safety cell that absorbs the force of an impact. However, bosses refused to reveal how the car could be powered, although one insider said the smallest engine would be a 1.0-litre petrol unit with stop-start technology to minimise emissions.
There’s no word on prices either, but, as a roadgoing iQ would rival the likes of the Fiat 500, they’re likely to be considerably higher than the £6,845 entry cost for an Aygo.