Toyota IQ review 2022

The IQ is a tiny city car that was sold between 2009 and 2014

£4,515
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Superb around town
  • Clever interior layout
  • Cheap to run

Cons

  • Boot is absolutely tiny
  • Only really a three-seater
  • CVT gearbox
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

It’s no secret that in more modern times cars have grown considerably, as we demand more features, safety and space from vehicles. Which is why the Toyota IQ was all the more innovative when it debuted at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. 

That’s thanks to its ingenious packaging, it’s one of the smallest four-seat cars ever made, measuring less than three metres long, and hardly been any different in size to a two-seat Smart car. 

Labelled as a ‘3+1’, in reference to the fact no adult would really ever be able to sit behind the driver, the IQ was intended as a ‘breakthrough’ car, and one that showed small didn’t have to mean basic. 

Features such as a flat underfloor fuel tank, a tiny heater and air conditioning unit and an asymmetric dashboard were all elements that helped to maximise space.

Latest model

The IQ had a relatively small amount of time on sale, with the only real main change following later in 2009 with the arrival of a more powerful 1.33-litre petrol engine. Joining the existing 1.0-litre unit, this 98bhp model featured the same engine as that found in models like the Auris, Urban Cruiser and Yaris. 

Very slight tweaks were also made to the IQ’s cabin for 2011, including additional soft-touch materials, a new black leather upholstery and grey interior ambiance. 

The IQ’s other claim to fame is that it served as the basis for the Aston Martin Cygnet, the strangest model in the British sports car brand’s history, as it helped to drastically reduce its CO2 emissions in order to meet requirements. 

Due to relatively small sales, Toyota discontinued the IQ in 2014, with no direct replacement ever following, though the Japanese firm does sell the Aygo in the city car segment.  

Value for money

One of the limiting factors when the IQ was new back in 2008 was its price, as with a list price of £9,495 it cost more than plenty of rivals that were larger in size. That’s because this Toyota was a very expensive car to engineer, with many aspects to it having to be developed bespoke for it, rather than being shared with other models. That said, it still came with plenty of standard equipment, including 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and six speakers. Move up to the mid-range ‘2’ model and elements like keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers are even included. 

Even though the IQ hasn’t been on sale for a number of years, values have remained quite sturdy. Expect to pay around £2,500 for an example with 100,000 miles on the clock, and you’ll need to add a further £1,000 to that if you want something with around half that mileage. The best of the best examples command quite the premium, though, as you could spend up to £10,000 for an IQ with ultra-low miles. 

Looks and image

If you think you need a big car to stand out, the Toyota IQ proves that doesn’t have to be the case. With its dinky and distinctive dimensions, there really is nothing quite like it to look at, and though the design is almost 15 years old, it still appears fresh and modern-looking from the outside. Standard-fit alloys and a great colour palette also help the IQ further. 

Inside, the IQ interior is very cleverly thought through, with a V-shaped dashboard used to make sure it doesn’t intrude much on interior space, and reduce clutter as much as possible. A smart digital display up ahead, funky seat upholsteries and two-tone dashboard colours also adds extra appeal to the IQ, though aspects of the interior do feel quite cheap. 

Behind the wheel, the IQ truly excels in towns and cities. It really is tiny in size and means you can fit into parking spaces where you’d normally not even attempt to try and squeeze a car. A brilliant turning circle also means it remains one of the best city cars ever made, helped by light steering and great visibility. The ride is a bit bouncy, however, and it’s not the best at higher speeds, though as you’d expect from a car that’s so small.

Space and practicality

The Toyota IQ is a true marvel of engineering, and it’s amazing how this Japanese firm managed to fit four seats into a car so small. However, the IQ is best described as a ‘3+1’, as legroom is exceptionally tight behind the driver. Space up front is good, though, and as the passenger seat can be slid far forwards, there’s ample room behind for an adult to sit in the rear seats. 

The boot with four seats upright is virtually non-existent, though, and it would struggle to fit even a small carrier bag of shopping in. However, if you treat the IQ as a two-seater, and fold the two rear seats down, it opens up 238 litres of room. 

And if you thought safety took a back seat with the IQ, you’d be wrong, as Toyota worked to make it as safe as far larger models. An impressive nine airbags, including one near the back window to protect rear passengers, helped to earn the IQ a top five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested when new in 2008. 

Engines

Two small petrol engines were offered in the IQ, with a 1.0-litre accounting for the majority of the cars you’ll see for sale. This produces a relatively small 68bhp, with a five-speed manual gearbox coming as standard, but a CVT automatic transmission is also offered. The sprint to 60mph takes 13.6 seconds with this engine. 

If you want a bit more power, Toyota offered a 1.33-litre engine, which develops 99bhp and drops the 0-60mph time to 11.6 seconds. Manual and automatic gearbox options are available with this engine too.  

Running costs

The Toyota IQ should prove to be a very frugal car to run, particularly if you opt for the 1.0-litre petrol engine, which is able to return a claimed 65.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Some versions of this also get free car tax, though regardless of which IQ you choose, you’ll never pay more than £30 in annual tax. 

As for the 1.33-litre engine, Toyota claims 54.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 119g/km.

Things to look out for

Toyota has an excellent reputation for reliability, though there are a few things to look out for with the IQ. The first concerns the gearbox, which can be hard to change gear, especially between second and third gear. If on your test drive it’s hard to change gear, we’d recommend looking elsewhere. 

The paint is also prone to flaking, so have good luck around the year to look for any signs of this happening. 

Rivals

There really isn’t a modern four-seat car that’s the same size as the IQ, but if you want something with a similar footprint, take a look at the Smart Fortwo. More conventional, and larger, city car rivals available include the Fiat 500, Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto, all of which are worth considering. 

Depreciation

 As the IQ hasn’t been on sale for many years, used values are now relatively affordable, that said the quirky looks and layout means it does have quite a loyal following, with many IQ owners on their second or third car. It may even be considered a ‘future classic’ in the years to come.

Trims explained

The IQ was offered in three trim levels, with equipment highlights and prices as follows

IQ –

For a tiny car, Toyota managed to cram plenty of kit to the IQ, with standard equipment including 15-inch alloy wheels, electric and heated door mirrors and air conditioning. It also comes with a six-speaker sound system for the radio and CD player, along with electric windows, remote locking and a leather steering wheel.

From £2,700

2 –

Upgrading to the ‘2’ model sees the 15-inch alloys finished in a high-gloss grey finish (rather than silver), while also adding front fog lights, bi-halofen headlights and electric folding mirrors. Additional features include climate control, keyless entry and start, automatic lights and wipers and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

From £2,700

3 –

At the top of the range, the ‘3’ is limited to the IQ’s more powerful 1.33-litre petrol engine, though additional features include larger 16-inch alloy wheels and chrome-finished door mirrors.

From £3,300

Summary

  1. Funky small city car sold between 2009 and 2014
  2. One of the smallest four-seat cars ever made
  3. Very clever packaging…
  4. Though boot is very small
  5. Fun styling
  6. Generous standard equipment
  7. Low running costs
  8. Surprisingly safe, five-star Euro NCAP rating
  9. Affordable used buy
  10. A unique and fun city car that’s worth a look

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