In a category that is soon to burst forth with new and innovative products, the world’s most dominant automobile manufacturer has released the production example of their competitor.
The Toyota iQ was a hot ticket as a concept last year. The production car maintains much of the iQ’s ingenious packaging but, as expected, tinkers around for production purchases, much of which centres around restricting the glamour and glitz to save pennies. The iQ should be in production before January and Toyota wants to sell 100,000 to non-North Americans in year one.
Some tidbits from the Toyota release are below the gallery. See previous iQ-related posts here, or here.
“It measures less than three metres in length, yet has a flexible interior space that allows up to three adults, plus a child or luggage to travel comfortably….. The name iQ is the best representation of what the car embodies. “i” stands for individuality, whilst at the same time also expressing “innovation” and “intelligence”. “Q” stands for “quality” and also suggesting that its “cubic” stature gives a “cue” to new value and lifestyle.
Although iQ is less than three metres in length, measuring 2,985mm precisely, it has a spacious interior. And while the ingenious packaging requires hi-tech solutions, the human appeal is in the requirement to meet intelligent urban transportation needs….. Perfect imbalance of proportions: a simple and daring exterior with a strong contrast between the stable and robust stance provided by the Toyota iQ’s width and the shortness of its overall length.
Integrated component architecture where each unit contributes to the overall design: the structure around the tyres forms part of the minimal front and rear overhangs, a synergy that conveys both strength and agility….. Freeform geometrics: the exterior surfaces are almost mathematical in their cleanliness and precision, but also possess movement and emotion to make the design fresh and contemporary.
The four wheels – placed at the extremities of each corner – give the Toyota iQ a self-assured ‘super stance’. At just 2,985mm in length, but with a proportionally larger wheelbase of 2,000mm, the Toyota iQ is small in size, but unlike a small car possesses a confident on-road appearance….. The ‘on-the-edge’ exterior styling is replicated in the Toyota iQ’s refined interior architecture. By mathematically analysing and recreating the structural beauty of natural objects, Toyota has achieved a ‘techno-organic’ design which fuses geometric precision with inner beauty.
This is demonstrated in the floating ‘V’ centre console, which dominates the asymmetric dashboard. At the base of the V is a single dial that controls the functions of the air conditioning….. Situated within the arms of the V are cabin temperature controls with an LCD that displays airflow, twin face-level air vents and at the top a 5.8-inch colour touch screen satellite navigation display.
The V-design both separates and joins the two halves of the asymmetric dashboard design, while providing a visually appealing focus on the interior….. The steering wheel is flat-bottomed to provide the driver with greater legroom. Controls for audio are placed on the wheel to save space on the centre console and to offer a high-level of convenience for the driver.
Other techno-organic features include matt silver door handles with flowing manta-ray styling. While the ultra slim seatbacks are formed in a stylish one-piece moulding that enhances the edgy feel of the Toyota iQ and assist in freeing up additional passenger space….. A secret tray is neatly concealed below the rear seat, again providing more storage for passengers without sacrificing the cabin space. For more luggage capacity the 50/50 split rear seats can be separately folded flat to increase the available load area.
To achieve such a milestone required a drastically changed mindset. The engineers had to reconsider the very locations of various vehicle components rather than simply re-designing parts to a smaller size…..The result is a true break-through in ‘small yet spacious’ packaging, which at the same time has been designed to meet the top 5-star safety rating of EURO NCAP.
The design of the flat under-floor fuel tank has allowed the development of shorter rear overhangs, which contribute to the reduction of the car’s overall length…. Historically, a flat tank was considered difficult to engineer successfully because of the variance in fuel surface levels depending on the angle of the car.
However, persistent engineering efforts to downsize and find the optimal placement of functional parts have resulted in a flat fuel tank that creates significant space savings….. The new Toyota iQ, together with the Urban Cruiser also premiered at Geneva, plays a key role in Toyota’s drive to reduce emissions. Both cars are also an essential part of Toyota’s challenge to support the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association’s (JAMA) voluntary commitment of 140 grams per kilometre by 2009.
The Toyota iQ will have the choice of one of two petrol or one diesel engine. These engines – along with the compact design, low weight, and aerodynamic shape of the Toyota iQ – will contribute to outstanding fuel economy and exceptionally low CO2 emissions, which are anticipated to start at around 100g/km.”