"Flame surfacing comes to the smart." That was our first thought when we laid eyes upon Toyota's newest concept, the iQ. The 2980mm 3+ 1 practically shares every dimension with its big brother the Yaris, except length, and comes equipped with all sorts of innovative packaging. Normally a two-seater, a third seat can also be flipped up for a small adult or child in the back (hence, 3+1).
Unlike the VW up!, the iQ will have its engine mounted up front, powering the front wheels, although what specific powertrains are available is an open question. If we had to put money on it, we'd guess something below the one-and-a-half liter range in both gas and diesel, when it supposedly goes on sale in Europe in 2009.
All the details are in the press release after the jump, and, as always, a gallery awaits you underneath.
Toyota's revolutionary ultra-compact IQ concept
- The intelligent solution to urban transport
- Designed within the Vibrant Clarity philosophy
- Less than 3 metres in length
The IQ concept represents a paradigm shift in small car design, a concept car that challenges conventional thinking of automotive hierarchies: small yet spacious, premium yet small. Realized through the vision of an ultra compact, highly space efficient, environmentally friendly vehicle that maximizes the urban lifestyle of Europe's fashionable metropolitan dwellers.
The IQ concept was created at ED2, Toyota's advanced European design studio in the south of France, working under the Toyota design philosophy of Vibrant Clarity – design that is forward looking, intelligent and energetic while retaining a clarity of purpose and function.
Managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation's Design activities, Wahei Hirai, says:
"The IQ concept is designed to reflect and enhance the lifestyle of its owners. In an urban environment, people want to express themselves through dynamic and on-the-edge design, but at the same time rational factors such as size, functionality and CO_ emissions cannot be ignored. Bringing these contradictory aims together in synergy was critical to the IQ concept, and is a way of thinking we call the 'J-factor', a philosophy at the heart of all our activities."
Just a palm shorter than three meters in length – at 2.98 meters precisely - the IQ concept is a radical new approach to vehicle packaging and design. It challenges the current limitations of ultra-compact urban transport by offering an interior capable of seating four or three adults and luggage space - a unique versatility within a minimal footprint.
The unveiling of the IQ concept also reinforces Toyota's commitment to reducing vehicle emissions through vehicle concept innovation. With increasing traffic congestion in urban areas, and rising concerns about vehicle emissions, the IQ concept presents a step change in vehicle packaging and footprint, to ensure a sustainable future.
Designed for fashion and function
ß Three elements of Vibrant Clarity
ß Dynamic and daring exterior
ß Functional and aesthetic interior
ß Edgy urban colour contrast
All aspects of the IQ concept are designed to convey a confidence, and vibrance that belies its size. All are working to give the car energy and character that will stand out and enhance its premium fashion position in the urban environment.
Within Toyota's Vibrant Design philosophy three core design values are utilized to guide the design process:
Perfect Imbalance in its proportion
The exterior is simple and daring with a stable and robust stance enhanced by the width of the vehicle contrasting with its short length. In side profile the ultra-short overhangs and cab-forward silhouette suggest a dynamic pose but at the same time interior space is kept to a maximum. The confident character of the front juxtapositions with the small, yet strong structure give the vehicle an iconic value.
Integrated Component Architecture
Expressing the structure and construction of the vehicle is vital to keeping the design simple yet at the same time energized, it also serves to clearly express the concept of the car. The structures around the 17 inch tyres form part of the minimal front and rear overhangs, a synergy that conveys both strength and agility.
In the interior the basic geometric structure of the instrument panel creates an open and wide environment. The manta-ray-styled centre console, a simple yet flowing structure that envelops the instruments to create a clear and vivid focal point. The air conditioning vents are constructed from a cylindrical form clearly relating to their function. The overall impression is of components in harmony, forming a new emotional expression.
The exterior surfaces of the IQ concept are almost mathematical in their cleanliness and precision, but at the same time have movement and emotion to keep the design fresh and unlikely to date. The character lines of the window opening flow smoothly and harmonize with the surfaces supporting them.
In the interior the freeform lines of the manta-ray-styled centre cluster are echoed in the door trim. Soft and inviting they encourage touch and contact, a combination of uncompromised aesthetics and functionality.
Overall, the IQ concept has a 'on-the-edge' style ready for the streets of tomorrow's urban environment. This sense of vibrant, urban sub-culture is carried forward by the unique exterior colour; pearlescent white with flecks of purple shimmer hinting at the darker interior treatment. The senses are further stimulated by the touch of the mock snake-skin steering wheel trim, purple interior accents and purple styling themes carried over into the seats, door trims and dashboard.
Compact but not compromised
ß Intelligent use of space
ß Versatile 3+1 seating
ß Fascinating blend of form and function
ß Full safety features
The IQ concept sets out to be, and succeeds, as the world's smallest four seat passenger concept car. At less than three metres in length (2980mm) it is 425mm shorter than the Toyota Aygo and more than 770mm shorter than the Toyota Yaris. Yet, in width and height (1680mm x 1480mm) it is comparable to Yaris – so the ultra compact exterior dimensions hide a big interior heart.
At the same time, the IQ concept is versatile and practical. It will seat four with space for three adults and a child – or the fourth seat can be utilised for luggage space. To achieve this, a radical and intelligent 3 + 1 seating concept has been applied. With a dashboard that swoops away from the front passenger, this seat has been given extra freedom of movement.
In regular use, driver and passenger sit side by side. But, to accommodate a third adult or adult and child, the front passenger seat can be moved in a more forward position allowing more room and easier access to the rear area.
In addition, extensive use of intelligent, space saving design themes and miniaturised technology helps maximise space within the passenger compartment. The ultra-compact heating and ventilation unit frees up space in the centre console and allows the dashboard to adopt its unique shape.
Atop the main dashboard sits the instrument pod, dark and mysterious with the swoops and curves of a manta-ray; its tail flashing in silver-chrome trim as it reaches down to form the cleanly-styled centre console. A single central dial provides control of interior environment with temperature and ventilation displayed on the central panel, clearly placed in the driver's eye-line.
The three-dimensional, 3-in-1 display of speed, engine rpm and fuel status is mounted above the steering column while controls for audio and navigation functions are on the steering wheel itself. In an intelligent, hi-tech solution to urban navigation, a stand-alone, head-up display of the GPS route-finder is placed within the driver's vision but is see-through when turned off.
A panoramic glass sun-roof ensures plenty of light and adds to the sense that passengers are not confined within a conventional compartment. At night, the darkened interior is mysterious – further emphasising the high fashion sense of the concept car.
Despite its ultra-compact design, it makes no compromises on safety in the urban environment. Indeed, safety is at the core of the concept strategy. A strong passenger compartment safety cell will ensure optimal impact energy absorption.
In presenting the IQ concept, Toyota reveals an intelligent new design and technology package - a radical solution to the challenge of personal urban transport. The IQ concept represents the ultimate refined urban mode of transport offering a revolutionary package, intelligent design, and environmental friendliness.