Toyota has realised further details of the new iQ city car which is being shown in production ready form for the first time in Geneva.
First presented as the Concept Car iQ at the Frankfurt motor show last year, the new model will go into production late in 2008 with UK sales scheduled to start in spring 2009.
The new iQ is a sophisticated car, delivering a refined mode of urban transport. Thanks to ingenious and revolutionary packaging, it measures less than three metres long, but has a flexible interior that allows up to three adults, plus a child or luggage, to travel in comfort.
The name iQ represents what the car embodies: “i” stands for individuality, innovation and intelligence and “Q” for quality.
iQ is designed for buyers who want more than just urban mobility, but who are also looking for space, refinement and a vehicle that is kinder to the environment.
Its revolutionary packaging is achieved through six space-saving, interlinked engineering innovations that represent a break-through in Toyota’s vehicle development.
“The iQ story started a few years ago when we at Toyota began thinking about the environmental impact of automobiles,” explained Kazuo Okamato, Executive Vice President in charge of Research and Development at Toyota Motor Corporation.
“We concluded that, in order to ensure a sustainable future, there was a need for a radical change in vehicle packaging. We needed to create a breakthrough, away from the traditional belief that small is basic. Our answer is the Toyota iQ.”
Robust and refined for the urban environment
iQ has a self-assured “super stance” with the four wheels positioned at the extremity of each corner, with robustness further enhanced by tough-looking bumpers and five-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels that fill the bold wheel arches.
The exterior styling blends dynamism and stability: prominent crease lines define the high belt line, while the V-line of the A-pillar creates tension across the wheel arches. Smooth lines flow from the front bumpers, curve smoothly up through the front pillars to meet the roof and sweep back down towards the rear hatch where they are replaced by edgier, well-defined lines. The rear is defined by strong vertical lines, with bold lamp lenses cut into three segments by horizontal lines.
At the front, smoked headlamp units are set deep into the bonnet and wings. Refined appeal is further reflected in the door mirrors with integrated turn indicators.
Techno-organic Interior Styling
Toyota has created a “techno-organic” design for the interior, which fuses geometric precision with inner beauty. This is demonstrated in the floating “V” centre console that dominates the asymmetrical dashboard and the matt silver door handles, which have a flowing, manta ray shape.
The steering wheel has a flat bottom to give the driver greater legroom and audio controls are positioned on the wheel to save space on the centre console and make operation easier for the driver.
The ultra-slim seatbacks are formed in a one-piece moulding that enhances iQ’s edgy feel, while also helping free up additional passenger space. A storage tray is concealed below the rear seat, another feature that does not sacrifice cabin space. For extra luggage room, the 50:50 split rear seats can be folded flat.
Creating more passenger space in such a compact vehicle was a key challenge for the Toyota design team. iQ’s interior is surprisingly spacious, made possible by six interlinked engineering innovations.
Achieving this milestone in vehicle development required a drastic change of mindset. The engineers have to reconsider the location of various components, rather than simply redesigning parts to a smaller size.
The result is a breakthrough in “small yet spacious” packaging, which at the same time has been designed to meet Euro NCAP’s top five-star safety rating.
iQ is 2,985mm long and 1,500mm high. Its compact ingenuity lies in its comparatively long, 2,000mm wheelbase.
New differential saves engine compartment space
A newly developed differential allows iQ to have a more compact engine compartment and front wheels placed at the very corners of the car, with very short overhangs. This yields more than 100mm extra cabin length, compared to Yaris.
Flat Under-floor Fuel Tank and Rear-angled Shock Absorbers
Designing a flat under-floor fuel tank has allowed shorter rear overhangs to be developed, helping reduce the car’s overall length.
A flat fuel tank has traditionally been considered difficult to engineer, because of the variance in fuel surface levels depending on the angle of the vehicle. Persistent engineering efforts to downsize and find the best position for functional parts have enabled such a tank to be developed, delivering significant space savings.
Smaller heater/air conditioning unit
Toyota engineers have significantly reduced the size of the heater/air conditioning unit, without sacrificing performance.
As a result, the front passenger area can be moved forwards towards the base of the windscreen, freeing up additional cabin space.
Asymmetric Dashboard and Sliding Seat Configuration
iQ’s innovative asymmetric dashboard is designed to open up the passenger area. Its pushed-forward, step-like structure gives sufficient space for the front passenger when the seat is in its most forward position, while comfortably accommodating an adult in the rear seat.
Combined with a shoulder-to-shoulder distance between driver and passenger that is similar to a C-segment model, the unique 3+1 seating configuration creates enough room for three adults, plus either a child or luggage carried behind the driver.
Centre Take-off Steering Gear
Toyota has given iQ a centre take-off steering gear, positioned higher in the engine bay. The gear, engine and differential could then be repositioned, giving the car a shorter front overhang.
Slim Seat Design
The slim seatbacks release a further 40mm of rear passenger room at knee height. With an all new frame structure and optimal adjustment of ancillary parts, the designs save space without sacrificing comfort.
New iQ, together with the new Urban Cruiser, plays a key role in Toyota’s drive to reduce emissions. Both vehicles are essential to meeting the challenge of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association’s (JAMA) 140g/km voluntary commitment by 2009.
iQ will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. These, together with the compact design, low weight and aerodynamic shape of iQ, will contribute to outstanding fuel economy and exceptionally low CO2 emissions, which are anticipated to start at around 100g/km.
Production will commence during late 2008, with 100,000 units expected worldwide in the first full year. UK sales will start in spring 2009.