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Toyota iQ Gazoo

Racy styling spices up city car, but what’s it like to drive?

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4.0 out of 5

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Toyota’s first foray into the aftermarket tuning game is more than simply an attempt to add value and personalisation. Whether it will appeal to young buyers is debatable, but the stiffened and lowered iQ is great fun, with some real chassis improvements that make driving a lot more exciting. Perhaps Toyota should be aiming Gazoo Racing parts at the cheaper Aygo if it is serious about attracting first-time buyers.

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Think of official tuning brands and Mercedes’ AMG or BMW’s M-Power arms will spring to mind. But what about Toyota’s Gazoo Racing?

While the name is unfamiliar in the UK, it’s a big hit in Japan, where the company supplies special components aimed at spicing up regular Toyota road models. We tried a modified version of the iQ to find out if the upgrades really can turn
the city car into a hot hatch.

The bodykit starts things off, helped by a lowered stance and head-turning paint decals. There’s a set of larger wheels, which enhance the sporty suspension set-up. The latter has been developed by the ‘godfathers’ of Gazoo Racing: Akio Toyoda and Hiromu Naruse.

Toyoda is the boss of Toyota, and has competed at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in luxury brand Lexus’ LF-A supercar; Naruse is Toyota’s master test driver. In addition to these tweaks, the company is seriously considering fitting a turbocharged version of the iQ’s 1.33-litre four-cylinder engine.

This special certainly needs it, as it feels flat and lacks the response that its crazy looks promise. For the moment, the top-performing version uses a three-cylinder 996cc motor that’s also found in the Aygo.

While this unit is unchanged, the Gazoo racing seats and full-harness belts give a real sense of occasion. The engine roars and whirrs, and suits the stiff ride and fast steering response. Although the sporty feel would be tiring over long journeys, keen drivers will enjoy exploiting the chassis’ new-found edge.

The tiny motor delivers only 67bhp, resulting in a 93mph top speed and 14.7-second 0-60mph time, but then the car weighs a mere 895kg and also retains its impressive 65.7mpg economy. It looks irresistible, too.

While it’s early days, Akio Toyoda dreams that, one day, Gazoo could rival the M-Power division – even selling complete models under its own badge.

Rival: Panda 100HP
As with the Gazoo Racing Toyota iQ, the Fiat offers a blend of high-performance thrills and low insurance costs at a budget price.

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