By on February 26, 2009

I admit, I have a strange fascination with watching cars crash. And though large, heavy cars can cause some of the most dangerous accidents, there’s something particularly satisfying about watching a small car hit the wall (or get hit by a large, heavy car). As an American I feel hard-wired to expect smaller cars to explode into a million pieces of tin foil and socialized medicine every time I see one making a slow-mo impact in a crash test. But the glory days of “hoo boy!” moments in compact crash tests seem to be coming to a close. Toyota’s tiny iQ just logged a five-star rating from Europe’s NCAP crash testers, and as this video shows, the drama just never shows up. A cocoon of airbags, some brilliant crumpling and surprising side-impact resilience take a lot of the “sucks to be that dummy” entertainment value from the iQ test video. Oh well. I guess it’s time to move on to watching Chinese car crash tests. Schadenfreude doesn’t feed itself.

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20 Comments on “Toyota iQ Logs Five Star NCAP Score...”


  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    I really hate this car.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    The Jiangling test is somewhat stressful to watch. That link should come with a warning.
    A commenter at YouTube writes as follows:

    “I’m glad the airbag deployed here…

    …that way, the driver can’t see the steering coloumn impaling his torso and the dashboard ripping off his legs, as his passenger gets cubed by the engine bay.”

    The iQ does brilliantly in comparison. (Is it allowed to point out that the Chinese marvel hits the wall at about 91 mph below a certain Phaeton driver’s preferred velocity on highways?)

  • avatar

    Those Chinese links qualify as exotic Asian snuff.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Justin Berkowitz: “I really hate this car.”

    Why? It’s all the car some people will need and it’s safe. Most likely it’s inexpensive and thrifty. A reputation for safety will improve its acceptance.

    We’re not asking you to drive it and, if we can downsize people who don’t need bigger cars to it, it frees up more gas for whatever it is you do drive.

    We’re still at the point where we need a minivan but our other two cars could be cars like the IQ.

    Lousy name, though.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @KixStart: same here – if our household owned 2 of them, we would then have a 3 car garage.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    KixStart :

    Why? It’s all the car some people will need and it’s safe. Most likely it’s inexpensive and thrifty. A reputation for safety will improve its acceptance.

    We’re not asking you to drive it and, if we can downsize people who don’t need bigger cars to it, it frees up more gas for whatever it is you do drive.

    I should have given more context to my comment. You are assuming I don’t like it because it’s small. That’s actually not what I meant at all. The iQ is Toyota having a laugh by selling people a very expensive, mediocre city car.

    How expensive?
    Toyota iQ: £9300-£11,300
    Toyota Aygo: £7400-£9500
    Smart car: £6500-£9000

    — It probably should have been built as a 2-seater, but Toyota’s USP was that it’s a 4-seater. So they’ve got this back seat, and it’s useless. When it’s up, there is actually no storage space behind it. When folded down, it takes up precious cargo room.

    –It also has poor mileage for a car this size. As in AutoExpress got 30 US MPG with it.

    –The whole idea of city cars is that they are easy to drive in the city. The poor gearing of the iQ makes 0-30 acceleration annoying.

    –Also, it’s 2.5 inches wider than a Toyota Aygo. This is a little irritating when it comes to parking.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Half of why this car performs well is that it is really well designed. The other part of why it performs well, in this frontal impact test, is that it is light.

    This car makes sense in Europe, or very tight US cities, but otherwise it doesn’t. Toyota still does make the Yaris.

  • avatar
    RickCanadian

    @Justin Berkowitz,

    C’mon, what’s wrong with a good safe car that takes you from point A to point B? I don’t need Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari nor a Canyonero to drive around town and pick up some groceries.

    I think the safety test puts to rest the ridiculous argument that small cars are not safe because if they collide with a huge SUV the passengers would get pulverized. And for that matter, what if that’s true? Should we all go around driving M1 tanks, then?

  • avatar
    RickCanadian

    @Justin Berkowitz,

    Sorry, just saw your response. Never mind.

  • avatar
    Martin Woodman

    This car has been testing in my town in Spain for about two months, it was fun seeing them navigating a course layed with cones in a parking lot, with the obligated Yaris, Smart and Aygo behind to compare. I actually liked it.
    By the way, in the same parking lot there are now about 20 Jaguars, mostly XKR, parked every morning and you can see them around town navigating the traffic and looking powerful amongst the sea of diesel compacts. I don’t know why is all this testing going on now in the city but I like it and hope it becomes a staple in town

  • avatar
    paul_y

    I sort of like the iQ, but I’d rather see the Aygo in NA.

    Of course, Toyota makes a number of cars that they don’t sell here that I like, such as the Century, Hiace, and 2nd-gen bB.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Ronda? A lot of car companies like going there for journo launches. The Freelander route had Ronda as a stop, when that was launched.

    There are places where supercompact cars make a lot of sense, and if it’s safe: excellent.

  • avatar
    Martin Woodman

    Stein X Leikanger, no it’s actually Sevilla, or Seville. Yes I know that the roads around Ronda are used often for new car introductions and photoshoots, the roads in that area are really “twisty”, and the scenery… besides the Ascari racetrack is there too.

    I was a bit puzzled about the Toyotas in my town, though they obviously had some event in the nearby hotel and the traffic here is maddening with plenty of really really narrow streets. I suppose the people testing the cars were journalists but the truth is that every morning 6 or 7 groups of 3 IQs, a Yaris, a Smart and a Aygo left said parking lot and roamed around town all day, what I think is a pretty big effort to impress the press (ugh).

    And then the Jaguars appeared and it didn’t make much sense to me, why wouldn’t they test in Ronda, like you said, with open roads an the Ascari track in the area?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Justin Berkowitz,

    OK. I see your reasoning. I had no idea it was so expensive.

    However, it would be helpful to have the AutoExpress fuel economy in context, too. I don’t know if 30 would be good in comparison to other vehicles. Is AutoExpress a web site? Well, never mind that question… that’s why Google exists.

    While it probably would have made sense, in some ways, to do the two-seater, the fact is two-seaters sell very poorly. By providing even poor seating for an extra 2 people, Toyota’s marketers probably figure they’ll increase acceptance for families. I agree with your take on that; they should have taken the risk.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    With those crash films of Chinese cars …. I wonder if the Chinese versions of the MG and Rover collapse-on-impact differently than the originally-Made-in-Britain versions collapse.

    Or another way of saying it … are the Chinese-made versions of British cars more dangerous.

    And suppose someone in China were able to buy Volvo or Saab, would those Chinese-made Volvos or Saabs be as “safe” as their Swedish-made versions.

    It’s just like the tagline in the “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” commercials.

    The World may never know.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    sure it’s safe, as long as you’re only crashing into walls. in that case, you’re going from 30 to 0 very quickly.

    However, get into a head-on collision with a Yukon, and you’re not just dropping to zero–you’re pushed backwards in an instant. AND you’re probably going to be smushed under the irregular shape of a big SUV as opposed to flattening your hood against a flat wall.

    SUVs roll over, so screw that. gimme a crown vic or a giant lexus anyday.

  • avatar
    slothrop

    I normally agree with what Justin B sez, and the opinion is as always something we’re all entitled to; but in this case, I find the reasoning flawed.

    @Justin Berkowitz
    How expensive?
    Toyota iQ: £9300-£11,300
    Toyota Aygo: £7400-£9500
    Smart car: £6500-£9000

    – It probably should have been built as a 2-seater, but Toyota’s USP was that it’s a 4-seater. So they’ve got this back seat, and it’s useless. When it’s up, there is actually no storage space behind it. When folded down, it takes up precious cargo room.

    –It also has poor mileage for a car this size. As in AutoExpress got 30 US MPG with it.

    –The whole idea of city cars is that they are easy to drive in the city. The poor gearing of the iQ makes 0-30 acceleration annoying.

    –Also, it’s 2.5 inches wider than a Toyota Aygo. This is a little irritating when it comes to parking.

    Pricing in Great Britain does not only not necessarily directly equate to the US, but two cars are not even available in the US. Unless Justin is making a point for a European audience, which certainly some TTAC readers are. But that isn’t stated.

    Back seat is not useless when up; on the contrary it then functions as a back seat. Perhaps of limited use–anybody over 5’6″ need not apply, but that’s not the same as useless. I suppose it takes a few inches off clearance away from cargo room when folded, but hardly a major or unusual compromise in cargo capacity. The height of the car alone makes cargo more usable than in the Insight-I or any roadster I can think of.

    Autoexpress is not the final word on mpg–plenty of other reviews suggest mpg measurably higher than the Aygo, Smart, Yaris–the cars it was compared to in this thread. The gearing is one reason for mpg. Unfortunately in my opinion, city car gearing in the US results in lots of mpg potential left on the table in cars like the Fit or xB. And on parking, I’d take a slightly wider and noticeably shorter car over the opposite anyday.

    So yeah, I guess I do like the iQ, and with crash tests like this, I like it more. Still probably won’t buy one unless I suddenly move to a much larger city (and it is sold in the US!), but I hope its technology trickles up to the next gen Yaris, etc.

  • avatar
    V6

    i’d prefer an Aygo, but i would like this over the smart, which is just too narrow. i like that the iQ is wide and stumpy

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    The iQ has several examples of forward-looking innovative technical solutions. Just check out the seat design, the differential layout, the aircon design. And it drives and rides pretty well, too, from what I hear. So in my book, it is laudable.

    About the iQ’s cost. I have a great difficulty in understanding people who have a moral or emotional position when it comes to pricing. Like in, “that meal costs fifty bucks, they are bloodsuckers!”. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy it, and leave the rest to the market, is what I say. I would say that pricing only has a moral element when you’re talking about a monopoly provider of goods.

    People who complain about prices seem to me to have the attitude that they somehow deserve cheap goods. Why? Or am I getting something wrong here?

  • avatar
    RickCanadian

    NICKNICK :
    However, get into a head-on collision with a Yukon, and you’re not just dropping to zero–you’re pushed backwards in an instant. AND you’re probably going to be smushed under the irregular shape of a big SUV as opposed to flattening your hood against a flat wall.

    SUVs roll over, so screw that. gimme a crown vic or a giant lexus anyday.

    CANYONERO !!!!!!!
    OK Nicknick, using the same argument against the small cars, you better get an M1 tank, just in case.


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