Review: Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014)

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Triumph of 4-seater packaging that still earned 5 NCAP stars. Most models 99g/km so VED free. Better to drive than a Smart or a Fiat 500.

Quite wide for a city car. Not cheap. CVT auto over 100g/km.

Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014): At A Glance

I-Cute doesn't quite ring true. Pretty, it isn't. This is a little car for the head, not the heart. A Fiat 500 is cute. A Hyundai i10 1.2 is a brilliant suburban buy. A Toyota iQ is probably the most sensible, practical city car on the planet.

In a length of less than 10 feet, it packs in five star NCAP crash safety, four adult size seats and a turning circle of just 3.9 metres.

Now ten feet is one foot longer than a Smart ForTwo, but the iQ is For Four, occasionally, when it needs to be, and two or three plus their clobber when it doesn't.

Toyota very wisely held the launch in Milan, which is infested with cars parked haphazardly anywhere the owners can squeeze them in. Unsurprisingly, a lot of these cars are Smart ForTwos that command a practical kind of urban chic. And there are growing numbers of Fiat 500s that are actually less practical and more expensive then the Pandas they are based on, but are bought on looks and looks alone.

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What does a Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014) cost?

Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Length 2985 mm
Width -
Height 1500 mm
Wheelbase 2000 mm

Full specifications

Having spent your £9,495 to £11,495 there is also scope to spend more. The optional dashtop satnav + Bluetooth at £950 proved a little bit slow witted in Milan's chaotic traffic system, but it's line of site on top of the dash and decently easy to programme.

Accessory packs and leather seats can add yet more to your expenditure, if you really feel inclined, so I guess, even with ‘free' metallic/mica paint until March 2009, you could spend up to £13,545 getting your IQ specced up to the level our Multidrive was.

Child seats that fit a Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014) like to drive?

The Toyota IQ won't be bought on looks. It's runtish, though less abbreviated than a Smart. It looks more like a small van than a pair of doors on wheels. And it has quite big 15" wheels with deep, sensible 175/65 R15 tyres that help it to ride remarkably well.

In town, once you get used to driving a windscreen (you can't see the front), it's extraordinarily manoeuvrable, capable of more U turns than a Labour chancellor of the exchequer, where even London taxis can't make them. It rides ruts, cobbles and tramlines with aplomb.

Yet show it an open road and it makes a decent fist of things there too. It doesn't scuttle round corners, it grips, and at much higher speeds than when nasty things start to happen in a Smart. It's better than a FIAT 500, too. The rear wheels don't hop and instead stay glued to the tarmac.

Get it on the motorway and it will actually pull 107mph on the clock. It's not fussy. The gearing works out at about 22mph per 1,000rpm in 5th in the manual, while 3,000 rpm gives you 80 in the CVT auto.

It's a very smooth CVT. A delight to anyone palmed off with the sort of automated manual you get in the Aygo, Yaris, FIAT 500 and new Honda Jazz. You chunder out a few more grams of CO2 with the CVT, though, so no tax-free motoring. It's in Band B, which either works out at the promised £20 next year or goes up to £40 after yesterday's announcement. I haven't worked it out yet. £9,495 gets you into a basic IQ, and that's the same sort of money as a FIAT 500 1.2 Lounge.

You don't get the FIAT's clever Microsoft Blue & Me hands-free mobile phone and computer. Nor its solid glass sunroof. But you do get a decent list of standard kit including aircon and alloys, and the fact you don't have to fork out Vehicle Excise Duty every year. Its chain-cam 3 cylinder engine thrums out a healthy 68PS, just one down on the little FIAT, so no perceptible loss there.

But where it kicks the FIAT 500 and the Smart ForTwo into touch is by offering an excellent CVT for another £1,000. This really is a select it and forget it transmission. No jerks. No lurches. Play the idiot and floor the throttle and, of course, the car takes a while to catch up with the engine revs. But drive it sensibly and it's the ideal box about town. Also making the IQ Multidrive an ideal choice for the disabled who, in the UK, are better placed to make use of small parking spaces. And there's room for a wheelchair in the back, though no chance of an electric footway-terrorising scooter.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 VVT-i 59–66 mpg 13.4–14.7 s 99–113 g/km
1.0 VVT-i automatic 59–66 mpg 13.1–15.5 s 99–120 g/km
1.33 VVT-i 54 mpg 11.8 s 119 g/km
1.33 VVT-i automatic 54 mpg 11.6 s 120 g/km

Real MPG average for a Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

35–65 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Toyota iQ (2008 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What small car for £5000 do you recommend?

I want to replace my old 2003 Smart as a runaround. I need two doors, preferably four seats which when not used gives me a good space for a load. An automatic would be good if possible. The car needs to be small as parking is restricted but slightly bigger than the Smart. I have up to £5000 to spend. What would you recommend?
If it were a manual, we'd be looking for a Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii/Volkswagen Up. They have compact dimensions but are surprisingly practical with the rear seats dropped. However, the ASG automated manual gearbox isn't the best, unfortunately. Instead look at a Toyota IQ which could be an interesting alternative.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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