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Little car makes a mighty impression.

Byline: Maxine Ashford

BILLED as the world's smallest four-seater car, Toyota's IQ measures just under 3m in length and can almost turn full circle on a sixpence.

And as they say, great things come in small packages, so for anyone looking for an economical, fun-to-drive, environmentally-friendly vehicle, the IQ or slightly upmarket IQ could be the answer to all your prayers.

Inside, it is deceptively roomy (unless you are a rear-seat passenger) and the level of technology is a credit to Toyota's name.

Boasting full satellite navigation, air conditioning, a six-speaker CD player with MP3 compatibility and a fuel gauge that moves at a snail's pace, the IQ model supplied for my test drive has to be the perfect car for the regular city driver who also likes to cut loose on the open road.

In and around town, the IQ is nippy, responsive and leaves other motorists green with envy by squeezing into the tightest of spaces. Visibility is excellent and the drive is buzzy and fun-filled.

Out on the open road, the IQ can also hold its own with the more powerful competitors although I did find the acceleration a tad unresponsive between third and fourth gears. But generally, the one-litre engine had plenty of power and road-holding was very good.

In reality, the price you pay for the smallest of cars is a virtually non-existent boot area unless the rear seats are folded flat and an almost total lack of storage compartments.

But that aside, the IQ designers have utilised every possible space-saving option to maximise the room, including very slim seat backs and fitting an ultra-slight fuel tank under the car instead of under the rear seats.

The list of safety specifications is also very impressive and was engineered to meet the Euro NCAP five-star standard. There are anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control and nine airbags including the world's first rear window airbag.

Toyota has clearly proved it is looking to the future with the introduction of the IQ and I believe it is a vehicle other manufacturers will do their very best to emulate.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 12, 2009
Words:354
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