Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Toyota iQ (2009-2015) review

The tiny Toyota iQ city car is packed with clever kit in an attempt to out-smart rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Compact proportions, low emissions, impressive dynamics
  • Poor cabin quality, compromised seating, tiny boot

Toyota has to be praised for producing something as unique as the iQ. While it's almost the same size as the Smart, it claims to offer a full four-seater cabin, rather than just two seats. In reality it is extremely cramped but the driving experience itself is very good, and an impressive safety and reliability record will put owners' minds at ease. The iQ is extremely expensive though, with even the cheapest models costing over £10,000. When you consider you can get the larger Aygo for under £9,000, it doesn't seem like such a great deal. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Our choice: 1.0 VVT-i iQ2 manual

Engines, performance and drive

Toyota offers two engines in the iQ, starting with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol from the Aygo city car. Performance is predictably modest, although the iQ feels faster than the on-paper figures suggest. The 0-60mph sprint takes less than 14 seconds and the revvy engine is characterful, while plenty of sound deadening and tall gearing make it surprisingly refined at motorway speeds. The 1.33 litre petrol engine offers more impressive performance with a 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds. It doesn't sound as characterful though.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Go for the most basic 1.0-litre engine with a manual gearbox and it'll be free to tax thanks to the CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Fuelling the iQ will be cheap too as Toyota claims economy of 64.2mpg. The 1.33-litre unit is worse on both counts but certainly not by much. Insurance prices are also very low on both engine variants.

Interior, design and technology

The iQ is one of those rare things – a genuinely unique car. Slightly longer than a Smart, it aims to pack in seating for four. But while its boxy shape and wheel-at-each-corner stance is distinctive, its looks have divided opinion. It’s aimed at thrusting young town dwellers wanting something small and desirable. However, the Toyota badge does the tiny city car few favours, and it simply doesn’t have the cachet of a MINI, Smart or Abarth. Interior quality and finish are excellent, and we particularly like the centre console layout. The assymetric dash allows the front passenger seat to be pushed right forward, so one adult can sit behind another.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

For a car measuring less than three metres long the iQ is a packaging marvel – but it’s sadly a flawed concept. Toyota claims it’s the world’s smallest four-seater, but with an average-height driver there is precious little legroom behind. The front passenger seat is mounted further forwards to free up space behind, so the iQ is realistically a three-seater. At least you can fold the unused rear seat forwards to liberate some boot space because with all of the seats in place there’s just 32-litres – the same size as the fuel tank. There’s also no load cover, so you can’t leave anything valuable in the back.

Reliability and Safety

You get no fewer than nine airbags in the iQ and a five star rating from Euro NCAP. There’s even a world-first rear window bag to protect back seat passengers, while ESP is fitted as standard. Toyota are very reliable cars in general and the iQ hasn't had any major problems associated with it in the past.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More on iQ

Toyota iQ EV
Toyota iQ EV front cornering
Toyota iQ Hatchback
12 Dec 2011

Toyota iQ EV

We get behind the wheel of the electric Toyota iQ ahead of its launch next year
Toyota iQ Gazoo
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ Hatchback
30 Oct 2009

Toyota iQ Gazoo

Racy styling spices up city car, but what’s it like to drive?
Toyota iQ 2009 - long term test
Toyota iQ Hatchback
18 Sep 2009

Toyota iQ 2009 - long term test

It’s time to bid our super city slicker a fond farewell.
Advertisement
Toyota iQ: 8,186 miles
Toyota iQ Hatchback
14 Aug 2009

Toyota iQ: 8,186 miles

Fourth Report: A summer break for our city car saw it stretch itself on country A-roads
Toyota iQ: 5,304 Miles
Toyota iQ Hatchback
26 Jun 2009

Toyota iQ: 5,304 Miles

Third report: Tiny runabout is a hit in the city – but it is also proving a bit of an all-rounder
Toyota iQ CVT review
Toyota iQ Hatchback
17 Jun 2009

Toyota iQ CVT review

Tiny city car is great, if a little cramped
Toyota iQ 1.33
Toyota iQ 1.33
Toyota iQ Hatchback
5 Jun 2009

Toyota iQ 1.33

Is baby better with new engine and stop-start?
Toyota iQ: 3,969 miles
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ Hatchback
1 May 2009

Toyota iQ: 3,969 miles

Second report: City car stars in our very own little and large show
Toyota iQ vs rivals
Toyota iQ Hatchback
6 Feb 2009

Toyota iQ vs rivals

Can Toyota’s revolutionary iQ shake up the city car sector? We stretch it to the limit in three unique twin tests.
Advertisement
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ Hatchback
17 Jan 2009

Toyota iQ

Ingenious... or ill-conceived? We see how bold city car fares now it's in the UK
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ
Toyota iQ Hatchback
26 Nov 2008

Toyota iQ

The innovative Toyota iQ has hit the road - but is it as clever as it thinks?
Advertisement
Toyota IQ
Toyota IQ
Toyota iQ Hatchback
21 Nov 2008

Toyota IQ

New Baby four-seater delivers big fun!
Toyota iQ 2008 review
iQ fr
Toyota iQ Hatchback
1 Aug 2008

Toyota iQ 2008 review

Four seats, the size of a smart... and 70mpg economy! is this the cleverest car in the world?