Toyota IQToyota IQ
Toyota IQ
WHEN the iQ made me laugh out loud by simply completing a one-point turn on a tight urban street I realised Toyota might just be on to something.

Engine: 996cc, three-cylinder, VVTi

Power: 67bhp and 67lb.ft.

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 14.7 seconds and 93mph

Fuel economy: 65.7mpg (combined)

CO2 emissions: 99g/km (manual)

Price: from £9,495

Rating: ****

As gadgety appeal goes, few cars touch it.

Painted in iPod white (sorry, White Pearl) the iQ is designed to appeal to a new generation of laptop-wielding, MP3-owning, twenty somethings.

At less than three metres long the iQ seats four despite looking as long as it is wide and like an iPod you expect it to come with a range of leather cases or a personlised inscription on its boot.

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It shares the premium appeal that installed Apple's music player a must-have status symbol.

Air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, rear privacy glass and chunky, flat-bottomed steering wheel are standard.

A triangular centre console has a futuristic appeal and neatly houses the controls for the climate control while fin-like door pulls are quality design touch.

The only let down is an LED interior light which delivers a dull glow rather than the claimed "elegant interior ambience."

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In the premium-spec iQ2 seen here there's also leather upholstery (£690), touch screen Sat-Nav stereo (£930), keyless entry and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Prices start at £9,495. My test car came in at a £12,115, however, ensuring you'll need a big bank balance to justify this small car.

Free road tax resulting from 99g/km CO2 emmisions and 65.7mpg mean you should claw something back thanks to the 67bhp 996cc engine as the rorty Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 triumverate.

On the road, apart from the advantages of a miniscule 3.9m turning circle and easy parking, the iQ is surprisingly refined, the usually rorty three-cylinder engine muted by a triple-layer laminate glass windscreen.

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The performance doesn't feel as sprightly as the 107, however, with a claimed 14.7 second sprint to 62mph.

Out of town the iQ's steering is darty and the suspension can prove choppy due to the short wheelbase but generally it's an agile, manouverable runaround offering surprising comfort.

Despite the tiny proportions there's an excellent driving position for a six-footer and, amazingly, the rear seats are capable of stowing a week's shopping OR at least one full-grown adult—you decide.

The miniscule does place rear passengers ominously close to the rear window but a world-first rear window airbag combines with eight others to ensure a five-star Euro NCAP rating for passenger safety.

Toyota have created a stylish new take on the small city car with surprisingly few drawbacks and an air of must-have cult appeal.

There's only that not-so-small premium price tag holding it back.

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