The iQ, which Scion classifies as a micro-subcompact, became one of the three or four smallest cars in the U.S. when it arrived in late 2011, joining the likes of the Smart ForTwo, Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. The iQ delivers good but not great mileage — like the ForTwo but with more seats.
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At 120.1 inches from bumper to bumper, the iQ falls between the ForTwo (106.1 inches) and the Cooper (146.8), and its 66.1-inch width roughly matches the Cooper and is 4.7 inches wider than the ForTwo. With doors that make up most of the car's side and no clear distinction between the front bumper and hood, the iQ is an attention-grabber. Exterior features include:
- 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers and all-season tires; 16-inch alloy wheels available
- Keyless entry
- Folding side mirrors with turn-signal indicators
- Available fog lights
- Available rear spoiler
The iQ is either a two-seater, a three-seater or a four-seater, depending on your perspective. Unlike the aptly named ForTwo, the iQ has a backseat, but there's little room behind the driver. Scion acknowledges it's meant for a child, a pet or a parcel. Because no pedals or steering wheel are needed, the front passenger sits farther forward than the driver, which makes the rear seat on that side more usable. The front passenger must slide forward and share legroom with the rear passenger, but it's not unreasonable to consider it an adult seat. With its large doors, slim backrests and front seats that slide far forward, getting into the iQ's backseat isn't too difficult.
With the backseat up, there's practically no cargo space, but both rear seats fold flat independently for cargo versatility.
Though it's small, the iQ doesn't look cheap. The cabin materials are high quality, and the interior design looks new and fresh, with wave shapes on the dashboard and armrests. Interior features include:
- Air conditioning
- Outside temperature gauge
- Power windows, locks and side mirrors
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
- Pioneer CD stereo with MP3 jack and USB port
- Bluetooth cellphone connectivity and streaming audio
- Available navigation system
- Available configurable interior lighting with seven colors
Under the Hood
The iQ's engine is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder that's rated at 94 horsepower. The sole transmission is a continuously variable automatic transmission, chosen for high mpg. Mechanical features include:
- Engine runs on regular gas
- Front-wheel drive
- Electric power steering
- Available lowering springs
To address the typical concerns about small-car safety, Scion has fitted the iQ with 11 airbags, starting with two frontal-impact airbags and two seat-mounted side-impact bags in front and curtains on both sides. Both front occupants also get knee airbags. There's an airbag in each front seat cushion that's intended to position the occupant optimally for impact and also a rear-window curtain airbag. Additional safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Traction control
- Electronic stability system