Click above for a high-res gallery of the Toyota iQ
Toyota developed an all-new architecture for its iQ city car, but in an effort to defray the costs the automaker will be using the platform to underpin three new models.
The first will be the next-generation Yaris, due out in 2011, which will be packaged more efficiently to improve interior volume and be a more competent competitor to the Honda Fit. A new hybrid model is also in the works that takes aim at another Honda – the new 2009 Insight – while a seven-seat people mover is also slated to be built atop the iQ's architecture.
MotorTrend sat down with the iQ's chief engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, to discuss a half-dozen innovative packaging solutions employed on the city car, including a differential moved to the front of the engine to allow more interior room, a higher-mounted steering rack and wiper motor assembly, a smaller, more efficient climate control system and a flat, thin fuel tank that lies beneath the passenger seats.
All these innovations have cost some serious coin to develop, but over the iQ's lifetime, along with the implementation of these systems on other models, Toyota is confident that the expense is worth it for both the automaker and consumers.