Bigger than a Smart ForTwo but more expensive than a Yaris. The Toyota IQ might sound intelligent but it’s for almost intelligent people.

It’s not like the keys to a Toyota IQ will make you smarter, quite the opposite. They’ll make you look like an elitist because your car tells everyone it’s a smart car, while theirs isn’t. 1 – 0 for Celta Vigo. And yes, I know it’s spelled iQ but I’ll spell IQ the whole article.

Just like it’s 1 – 0 against the Smart ForTwo. The idea was pretty much the same, the cars were similar in concept and you could say the Toyota IQ was created as a rival to the Smart and you’d be partially right. That’s because in 2009 it was announced that the EU would take into consideration the average emissions standard at manufacturer level, starting in 2012. So the Japanese at Toyota were called in by the British at Aston Martin because they needed a small, low-emission car, and that’s how the Aston Martin Cygnet came about. But that car deserves its own article, even if they are sister cars. And so Toyota decided to keep their own version and sell it.

Except that the beatdown doesn’t stop there, because the IQ has even more uppercuts and upperhands compared to the ForTwo. And that’s because Smart ForTwo had, as the name says, only two seats for two people, while Toyota IQ had 4 seats. Well, actually it had 3,5 seats because on the driver’s side it has 2 regular size seats with regular room, but on the passenger’s side, the back seat is smaller to leave room for the transmission tunnel and other components. The basic idea is that the driver had his own regular size seat, and on the passenger side you have easy access for 1 child in the front and 1 in the back so that you can take them to school because a child can fit in that smaller back seat too.

And yet why did it flop worse than Matrix IV?

Sure, it was an effort to create an eco-friendly, economical and city-friendly car 5-8 years ahead of the electric hysteria, but all that technology and all that effort put into creating the perfect urban car made the IQ more expensive than the Aygo, a bigger car with 4 doors and a proper boot. You could argue that Toyota didn’t make a smart move with the IQ. In any case, over 70,000 models were sold in Europe, and the worst years were 2014 with 2 cars and 2015 with 3 cars, after which the IQ was permanently retired.


Toyota IQ Engines


  • 1.0 N/A of 67 horsepower – I know there have been clutch issues in the Aygo with this engine, but the IQ came straight out the factory with an enlarged clutch so you shouldn’t have any more issues here. It’s the only engine that was realistically bought anyway.
  • 1.33 N/A of 98 horsepower  – The delicious 1.33 MPI that’s been bolted on everything from the Aygo to the Corolla, this engine is definitely worth the money on any Toyota but the IQ, because the car gets so expensive it’s cheaper to buy a Land Cruiser. On which the Japanese would have fitted the 1.33 engine, if the legislation told them to do so. Can you imagine an Land Cruiser with an 1.33 petrol engine? Oh wait, that’s the Urban Cruiser.


1.4 D of 90 horsepower – I don’t get it. Why would you buy a diesel IQ? It’s like eating a pork chop using a spoon. It’s like taking a Sephora handbag with you to the local food market to use it to carry potatoes with it. In any case, the engine has big EGR issues if driven around town. And it has a double flywheel of course, because you need a double flywheel so that this engine doesn’t break your legs, with so much torque at it’s disposal.


Toyota IQ General Issues

  • The paint is of questionable quality and peels off, especially the white one. In fact, the bulk of the complaints have been about the white paint.
  • The manual gearbox has issues with 2nd and 3rd gears’ synchros which tend to quit, and then you’ll change gears with a greater difficulty than a 45-year-old changes jobs.
  • It’s not a long-haul car, and the poor soundproofing is there to remind you of that even more. Well, soundproofing has never been Toyota’s strong point.


Toyota IQ verdict

Buy an Aygo. It’s cheaper, 4 proper seats, has 4 doors, and an almost-proper boot.


 What engines do I recommend? For petrol, you get enough of the 67 horses provided by the raging 1.0 MPI, and for diesel, I recommend the 1.4 D because it’s the only one and because I have no alternative.