Toyota iQ: New trend or laughing stock?

October 20th, 2008
Toyota's iQ at the Geneva Auto Show

Toyota's iQ at the Geneva Auto Show

Imagine living in a country where a car like the Toyota Yaris is big.

That’s the direction America appears headed, as our panic-happy society demands immediate changes along with the ever-evolving landscape of our economy.

When gas prices were down, Americans hollered for bigger, more powerful cars. Before we knew it, Toyota’s Tacoma expanded from a compact pickup to the size of a Suburban. Then gas prices rose and a backlash erupted against SUVs and pickups, as though the American people are insulted that car companies ever built such massive beasts.

Toyota is again a perfect example of adapting to public outcries and introducing the cars we say we want. So the Yaris isn’t small and efficient enough for you? How about the iQ – a miniscule “4” passenger car measuring 117 inches long (the Yaris is 150 inches).

Though not yet officially slated for a U.S. release, Toyota’s iQ is set to hit the streets of Europe and Japan soon. Success there is assured, though I question whether or not the iQ would be successful in America, especially now that gas prices are stabilizing. Two months ago I paid $4.20 per gallon and just today I filled up for $3.01. Americans could very easily get used to gas that costs three bucks, and frankly I am not convinced that the iQ would sell here if gas remains at that level.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: American SUVs are not dead. What we’re seeing now is America in flip-out mode. Soon we’ll recover our wits, get used to the gas prices and resume our habit of relishing the rumble of a good ol’ American V8.

The iQ, while a nice piece of engineering and a valiant effort in fuel economy, could become a laughing stock in America. I don’t think the answer to reducing our use of foreign oil is in miniscule gas-powered cars. I’m putting my money on Americans opting for larger electric-powered cars, and forking over the costs of keeping their SUV tanks full while we wait for them.

I want to know: How much would gas prices have to fall in order for you to get back into your SUV?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Be Sociable, Share!

  1. blues2use
    | #1

    The mind set of the reviewer is what will be the unavoidable downfall of the united states. The mind set is: “Gas is cheap – so I don’t care. I will continue driving my suburban”. Everyone thinks like that. Everyone fails.

    Nothing more to say here.

  2. G
    | #2

    I agree with “blues2use”… 100%. Exactly how long do “people” (such as the reviewer) think that we can continue to suck the earth dry? And at what cost (financially AND environmentally)??

    Most Americans do “think” like this. And it will be our end. We’ll be trading water for oil, and then, when the “well” runs dry, I suppose we’ll just continue to prostitute ourselves (as a nation) in some other form.

    Nothing more to say here either.

  3. Dutchpirate
    | #3

    I think super efficient cars are the way to go in the future but I do not believe that these cars have to be so ridiculously small like this iQ. My money is on normal size hybrid cars with powerfull but super efficient engines aided by a electro motor. But we really have to look at new technologies like hydrogen powered cars because someday oil will be so scarce that we simply can not afford it anymore. A lot of the oil that we consume comes from countries with very different perspectives on human rights and freedom, this is something to worry about to. I also believe that these tiny cars can not be save if you get into an accident. Maybe this iQ is a useful car if you only drive small distances in a crowded city and do not get on a highway. I can amagine that some people in cities like Londen, Amsterdam, New York and others love this iQ because of fuel economy, parking etc. I can not stow away my two cases of Heineken inside this thing so I do not want one.

  4. WMD
    | #4

    i agree with blues2use and G, continuing down this path of consumption without regard will lead to disaster. How important is saving your hard earned money to you? How important is the environment to you? Because right now we are losing both with our current ways of thinking.

    Why not wait for the “larger electric powered vehicles” while keeping a small, fuel efficient cars tank full?

    Lets just continue driving SUVs until someone comes up with something better to save us all. The something better is here, open your eyes.

  5. Kevin
    | #5

    I agree with blue nose. The reviewers minset is as much a part of the dinosaur era as the dinos themselves ( and look what happened to them).Hummer and similar will be lucky to still be in business by the end of this decade. This mindset is only too “tiny” in the context of the USA. In Japan and Europe there are much smaller than this to pick from. Look up “kei cars”. Personally I love the Mini and similar (provided they offer a hot hatch performance version).When Toyota brings this here ( and its just a matter of time) they will sell very well. Make mine a hard core Twin Cam 1.6 6spd please. Nuf said.

  6. mike
    | #6

    ive always wanted a go-kart for the street. this thing would be a blast on a curvy back road. and i can see the tuners licking their chops already. a shot of nos or a small turbo, stiffer suspension and youve got a real pocket rocket.

  7. Mr G
    | #7

    I think the reviewer has considered small cars as the only way to be fuel efficient. The iQ is a city car and is ideal for anyone living in a city or commuting from a suburb. It deals with two issues – fuel efficiency and high density population. Two key issues for the future. Whether we like it or not.

    Secondly – the reviewer is making the assumption all americans only save fuel to save money. Are we only trying to save gas or are we looking at the bigger picture? Informed people know that being wasteful isn’t so cool anymore.
    Using our brains, being intelligent and finding new ways forward certainly is. It’s good to see some people leading the way.

  8. Tom
    | #8

    About 70% of the population of the United States lives within the boundaries of urbanized area (210 out of 300 million). Combined, these areas occupy about 2% of the United States. The majority of urbanized area residents are suburbanites; core central city residents make up about 30% of the urbanized area population (about 60 out of 210 million).

    these types of demographics will drive the future…literally.

  9. andrew
    | #9

    The reviewer seems to see big cars as inherently better than small cars. This makes perfect sense if you live out in the suburbs. But for those of us in dense, urban areas, tiny cars are a huge advantage in a lot of ways, not the least of which is parking. We don’t “settle” for a tiny car – we actively seek them out (ie., the mini). Anyone who tried to drive a 1950s caddy around Paris or Rome would quickly understand why I’m talking about.

  10. rktrixy
    | #10

    As a person who takes the bus to work, I struggle to count cars that have more than one person in them on the way to work, except in the car pool lane on the freeway. All the other streets are populated with cars – large, small, pick-up, SUV, etc. – that have only one person inside. It would be great if our cars could shrink or grow to match the occaision. Until that little bit of science fiction occurs we need to change people’s thinking away from “I need a SUV because 2% of the time I need a larger car” to “I need a smaller car. I can rent a SUV when I need it.” Just think of how much gas would be saved!

  11. | #11

    Did any one posting here ever hear of Air powered cars? Search on that! makes all these hybrids and micro cars look foolish. But why can’t we have it now. Besides Ford makes a Diesil car sold over seas that is Focus size that gets 60+ MPG. Anywone ever think there’s something more at play here. Does over priced drugs compared to other countries remind you of anything?

  12. Kozzer
    | #12

    looks like -tgriffith, the author is the only one outhere with his head still up that dark place….. wake up already !
    There are people that drive oversized cars just because they can afford it. I say tax the hell out of them if they really want to. You want to pollute beyond whats acceptable you pay for it.
    Guzzletax the way to go

  13. Not Ego
    | #13

    What and ego centric point of view and such odd denial now that the price of “Gas” has once again risen. Gas in the near and medium term will increase and keep increasing as supply is out stripped by demand.
    I cant stand the blinkered I can afford an SUV with a giant engine and I can afford the gas so whats the problem.
    What we must remember is that Americans are consuming so much “Food” that they wont fit in an IQ or small car but have to have an SUV for each person. Gross as they would say and literally as their waists expand ;(
    Seriously we dont need tanks to move one person even in the country or suburbia. We never did, its just conceit and pride and the belief that bigger is better. A tax will not help, rationing is the way to go. Limit each person according to the need. Same with Air travel.
    There is nothing wrong with travel but the “rich or needy traveller” should pay the person who doesnt travel much for the privilege of using thier ration as it were.
    If you think this through to its conclusions not just these but many suggestions although unpaletable initially are very workable and practical curbs on the Excesses of the ” I dont give a **** ” brigade.
    Nuff Said

  14. Jerry Zabin
    | #14

    I just returned from Berlin and I saw the Toyota IQ up close. LOVE IT!!! If this car becomes available in the U.S., I am a definite buyer! Gas prices continue to rise and this car would fit the bill. With US carmakers in peril, it is no wonder…the day of the gas guzzler has passed! In Berlin, gas is nearly $5.25/gallon and you rarely see large cars on the road. Let’s get with it America….conservation is no longer optional, it is necessary. The Toyota IQ fits the bill!

  15. Rafa
    | #15

    I’m brazilian and I’m living in Belgium, the more successfull import car for this year in Brazil is the Smart, which is very tiny, and I still kinda sympathize with it. But this Toyota IQ you can see everywhere here, I’m love with it. It’s just what an avarage European need. Small, prety, fuel eficient car. But Americans looks like still needing their guns, SUV’s and the wars, of course, to pay all this.

  16. kevin
    | #16

    I would buy one now if toyota would just bring them to the us ! hello ! toyota are you listing !

  17. stella
    | #17

    All the comments are right on! The reviewer is definitely living in the past. When I was in Italy a few years ago I fell in love with the Smart car. Now I am beginning to see them zipping around the DC area, even out on the Beltway, holding their own. Can’t wait for more folks to wake up and smell the coffee, buy more Smart cars and start importing this IQ, it looks fantastic! And I am sure you can get some cases of beer inside, if that is the problem.

  18. Grant
    | #18

    The other benefit of this small car is that when the it hurls uncontrollably down the highway with its stuck accelerator and cant stop because of its prius brakes it wont do as much damage when it hits something.

  19. Ted Stoner
    | #19

    I would buy a toyota iQ. $3 a gallon is still to much. It’s 5-31-2010 and I’m paying 75 cents a liter in the Phillipenes. I believe the iQ will be a much better car than the smart. Toyotas are allways better than Euro cars.

  20. Kman
    | #20

    HA HA HA, seriously all of you say that you would buy a gas sipping car and spit venom at anyone who says that you wouldn’t but i bet if we polled the majority of north americains, you would find that they may not want a Hummer but a vast majority would prefer a Hummer to this IQ. Really at 100mph you would be a grease stain on the road if you hit anything. You all wine about the gas milage but the facts are right in front of you. Small gas sippers don’t sell. You don’t buy them and how can we expect a retail company to produce something that 1 in 10 of you will actually buy?????

  1. | #1
  2. | #2
  3. | #3
You must be logged in to post a comment.