Toyota iQ2 1.0 (2009) long-term test review

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Long-term test update – 3 August 2009  

Click here to see the video

For such a small car, the Toyota iQ is dripping with big car gadgets. Now we’ve lived with the iQ for a while, here’s how I’m finding life on the road with the city car’s toys:

• The smart key entry is superb. It’s my first car with keyless go, but I don’t know what I’d do without it now.
• Rear-view mirror auto-dim is great at night. It reacts quickly and stops you getting dazzled by other road users without masking too much of the action.
• The sat-nav system is too complex in my view. It does have some useful functions but only if you want to spend 20 minutes before setting off with your head buried in the instruction manual: you can playback the chosen route before you set off, set intersections, co-ordinates, allow car trains/ferrys en-route, start the route guidance from the adjacent road. The list goes on and on. In fact for 60 pages. You see when I set a sat-nav I want to set start and end points, have the option of a reroute if there’s traffic and that’s about it.
• Sadly, my iPod doesn’t work through the USB port, as you need a separate connector port. So I’ve been using the Aux plug instead.
• Bluetooth audio operation allows you to play music via a wireless system. I haven’t used this yet.
• Calender and memo settings. More a novelty factor now – but if you could transfer your memos from your phone that would be cool. Especially as you always have your phone with you, but not your car. Mind you, the iQ would fit happily in most offices…
• Speed dial and auto answer on your phone. You can set this to however many seconds you wish. Just remember this setting when you’re singing to yourself in the car – in case you get caught out.
• Inputting dates for when maintenance work is due. You’ll never miss another routine service stop.

In summary, the iQ is laden with gadgets and electronic functions. It does mean the manual extends to 252 pages, though, which I feel is a little excessive. Do we need all these functions, or are they in effect just distractions and nice-to-haves rather than essentials? Or is that what people want nowadays?

Click ‘Add your comment’ and let us know what you think.



Total Mileage

Since Last Report

Overall MPG


Fuel Costs

Other Costs



 3211 miles


 53.1 mpg

 60 mpg

 81.14 since last report (294.20 since arrival)


 Nippy around towns

 Bit boring on motorway jaunts

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Previous reports

The iQ font 29 July 2009
Sat-nav issues 30 April 2009
Long-term test hello 26 March 2009


Toyota iQ font

Here’s a strange Toyota iQ fact. This is a new typeface created by… an iQ. Some creative types drove Toyota’s city car around a warehouse, took advantage of its tight turning circle and filmed the results to create a whole alphabet.
CAR has its own bespoke fonts for the magazine, but this is a car typeface of a different sort – created to match the curves and arcs of a Toyota iQ driven by a stunt driver. Clearly a publicity stunt, but if you watch the video below it does prove how good the steering on the iQ really is. I can’t imagine pulling the same manoeuvres in a Peugeot 107 city car.

Pierre Smeets and Damien Aresta from pleaseletmedesign, an iQ and professional racing driver Stef Campenhound created the iQ font with some clever whizzy tech. By using four dots on the roof of the car, real-time cameras and software designed by Zachary Lieberman of openFrameworks, they charted the iQ’s movements as they pulled tight turns and handbrake skids. Watch the video below to find out more.




by Sarah-Jayne Harrison

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Sat-Nav issues – 30 April 2009

My last minute decision earlier in the month to take some well earned time away from the world of computers and cars, well the former anyway. Gave me the opportunity to take the Toyota iQ on a jaunt down south, my home ground.

When I first decided to use the sat nav I struggled to figure out exactly which menu it required me to go through to actually set my destination in motion. You see it’s easy enough to enter the postcode (well at least the first 4 letters after that you have to enter the street name too) but after you’ve done this, I would advise using the onscreen option to replay the route, just in case. Previously this sat nav tried to take me to Heathrow, the last entered route, instead of an area in Peterborough I had lamely put in the postcode for. I’m ashamed to say being told to do a u-turn at the next opportunity over and over led to a little swearing at the sat nav.

However for my 130 mile trip to West Sussex, I figured it out, quite possibly by accident. However it performed brilliantly re-routing me when I did take a wrong turn as it hadn’t recognised a new mini roundabout, that’s fair enough no-ones perfect and as i well know computers are far from it!

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The rear seats fully down is plenty enough to fit my suitcase, hand luggage and I’d imagine there would be room for two passengers with luggage no problem, 3 or 4? nope. At my nans is where my lovely long-termer stayed for the week whilst I jetted off into the sunshine.

On my return I couldn’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the iQ, safe in the knowledge that the long trip home will be a comfortable low cost one consuming an average of 53.1mpg on the journey down, especially after having spent too much on my holiday!

by Sarah-Jayne Harrison

>> Last month a few of you had some questions, go to page 2 to find my answers

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Hello – 26 March 2009

There’s been quite a buzz surrounding the new Toyota iQ around these parts. Everyone in the CAR Magazine office is excited about Toyota’s tiny tot (although Gavin Green blogged on his reservations) and I’m chuffed to be the holder of the iQ keys. As a genuine city-living, technically savvy motorist, I’m also slap-bang in the iQ’s target demographic.

We’ve had a couple of weeks with the iQ now – long enough to familiarise ourselves with its teeny tiny charms. First thoughts? I admit the looks aren’t to my taste – I reckon its nose resembles a rabbit’s, and not in the cute Easter bunny sense. Thankfully I’ll be spending most of the next year inside the iQ and I’m already a fan of its well appointed cabin.

The practicalities of modern life have been thoroughly thought through by the iQ’s designers. On our iQ2 spec car we have smart entry and keyless ignition, so there’s no fumbling for keys. This is a real boon for a web producer like me – I usually approach the car carrying a combination of heavy laptop, oversized handbag and gym kit. So it doesn’t take long to fill the boot and I regularly use the back seats to stow my belongings.

Our higher-specced iQ2 also comes with:

• Climate control air-conditioning
• Electrically adjustable and retractable heated door mirrors
• Rain-sensing wipers
• Dusk-sensing headlights
• Bi-halogen headlamps (with smoke finished covers)
• Chromed rear light cluster trim
• High gloss 15-inch alloy wheels (which are rather nice!)

Even the entry-level iQ, which costs £980 less, is well equipped for the class, boasting advanced features that are more commonly found on much larger cars. Air-con, ESP stability control, six-speaker audio system with MP3 and WMA capability, steering wheel audio controls, alloy wheels, privacy glass, leather steering wheel and gearknob, and most surfaces front and rear hide airbags to protect you in the event of a smash. You pay for it though, with decidedly premium pricing starting at £9495.

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It might be short at just 2985mm long, but I’m finding the width of the iQ a little daunting on occasion. My last car was a Fiat Punto and I’m still worried about scratching those lovely high-gloss 15-inch alloys after a previous encounter with a kerb last year… For now it’s a case of getting a taxi to the kerb for the front passenger!

But after a few short weeks with the iQ, I’m confident it’s a triumph of engineering. It nips in and out of relatively small gaps quickly, smoothly and easily – as you’d expect with such a small car. What’s surprising me is the iQ’s ability to pick up speed out of the city. Having recently driven the new Ford Ka for a few days I was appalled at how slow it was in comparison with the iQ. The petrol Ka wasn’t as much fun to drive and lacked the technological feelgood factor of the iQ.

Early verdict? The iQ impresses with its large car feel wrapped up in those diminutive dimensions. I guess good things do come in small packages after all.

By Sarah-Jayne Harrison

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Q & A section

How often do I use the rear seat?

I don’t really they are almost permanently down as getting out the shopping, laptop (daily) etc is easier access from the boot than shifting the seat back and forth daily.

Do I find it too far forward?

Nope. But then I am 5’2” so have short legs, plenty of room for MY rear passengers then.

Is the Toyota iQ2 better in the real world than a fiesta?

Can’t compare, when I drive a new fiesta I’ll let you know.

Is the iQ2 worth the extra over a Smart?

I never have seen the attraction of a Smart car they to me are ugly looking cars, the iQ being a better looking alternative. As for the drive and interior quality, again see above answer.

London to Brighton?

Well will Peterborough to Gatwick do? I find the iQ plenty comfy enough for me on that trip.

Have i had to downsize my lifestyle?

Nope, I’m a single woman with no ties (but loads of cats) so no real need to change my lifestyle. The cats is a lie of course : ).


About Tim Pollard

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A tech enthusiast and content writer, has a knack for simplifying complex technical information. He enjoys researching and writing about the latest gadgets and technology trends. He has a degree in computer science and is experienced in creating content for tech blogs and websites.

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