Paris Auto Show: The Toyota IQ is Smarter Than Smart Car

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer
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paris auto show the toyota iq is smarter than smart car

Toyota has been showing concepts, prototypes and mock-ups of its 3+1 city car for the last four or so European motor shows, but here in Paris, it’s the real thing. The theory of the design language is silly; Toyota calls it “vibrant clarity” (that’s a state of mind I’d associate with inebriation). But the design itself is strong, clean and forward-looking. I stood in line to check out the interior of this microcar and found it conspicuously well-designed and made of high-quality materials. It didn’t quite pass the international test of anal-retentiveness (“do all surfaces refuse to give way when pressed, and sound similarly solid to a rapped knuckle?”). But don’t forget that this is a tiny, lightweight car. And a wonder of packaging. My claustrophobiac 184 cm body (that’s six feet to you Yanks) found the driver’s and two passengers’ seats snug yet uncramped. For Toyota, the big question is, how the hell to sell the iQ at a profitable price– meaning a higher price tag than its larger models? This is where new technology needs first-class marketing. If they can pull it off, then a Smart death watch may be in order.

Martin Schwoerer
Martin Schwoerer

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  • DearS DearS on Oct 03, 2008

    I think the Smart outta come with a Mercedes badge, that way it'll be even more S-mart. HA....haha....ha!

  • Seabrjim Seabrjim on Oct 03, 2008

    I think a Smart death watch could already be started. How many kneejerkers and tree huggers who had to be the first on the block at something are now having buyers remorse? Lets see, I paid how much, including dealer gouging? What, I need to pay for premium fuel for a THREE cylinder? Oh, a back seat like a civic or corrola would be nice. And it almost gets the same mileage as a passat diesel. Almost. By the way has anyone heard of one being involved in a collision? I seriously wonder how safe it would be. Or not.

  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Oct 03, 2008

    I thought the Smart was interesting until I saw a review in the NY Times. The reviewer averaged 32 MPG in normal driving. I average 30 in my Accord, which cost about as much new as a decently equipped Smart. Who would give up so much versatility for 2 MPG?

  • Megan Benoit Megan Benoit on Oct 03, 2008

    If they can make it get 50mpg and cost $10k, I'd buy one (who wouldn't?). Just needs enough room for a baby seat...