What is it?
Toyota has just launched a bigger-engined version of its quirky ‘3+1’ city car, the iQ, with its 67bhp, three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine replaced by a 1.33-litre, 98bhp, four cylinder unit Toyota also uses in other economy models such as Auris and Verso.
The idea is to provide a bit more overtaking and open-roads ability for customers prepared to sacrifice some of the original iQ’s deeply impressive economy in exchange for considerably longer legs, a more conventional engine sound, about 12mph more top speed but remarkably little extra acceleration.
Toyota admit a large part of their motivation is to cater for people who don’t much like the beat of a three-cylinder engine.
What’s it like?
Very similar to the original iQ, really. Called the iQ3 in Britain, it does sound more conventional, and some say it rides a shade more stiffly. You get the higher equipment spec from the three-cylinder iQ2 plus a good-looking pair of 16-inch wheels and the more capable brakes from the already-launched 1.4 litre iQ diesel (not sold in Britain). The iQ3 is about 30 kilograms heavier than three-cylinder editons, and comes both with a six-speed manual gearbox and a CVT ‘automatic’ called Multidrive.
For both versions, you pay £1000 more than for an equal-spec iQ2 triple. For that, you get a car that’ll do 105mph instead of 93mph but its 0-60 mph time (manual) of 13.1 seconds is only about 0.7 seconds better than the smaller-engined car. The small margin is explained, at least partly, by the iQ3’s taller gearing: on the motorway it does slightly better than 25mph/1000 rpm in sixth.