It is a common
assumption that the smaller the car, the more vulnerable driver
and passengers are in an accident. The new Toyota iQ – the
world’s smallest four-seat production model – is proof this need
not be the case, providing an unprecedented level of active and
passive safety protection for an A-segment model.
From its basic
framework to a 360-degree array of airbags, iQ goes further than
any car in its class to ensure the safety of everyone on board
should an accident happen. More than that, there is a full
package of advanced braking and handling systems that help the
driver maintain control of the car in difficult conditions,
features that until now have been reserved for much larger
models from the B/C segments and above.
iQ is equipped with a formidable range of braking and handling
systems that give the driver more chance of avoiding an accident
ABS is supported by
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA),
which ensure maximum performance under emergency braking. By
preventing the wheels from locking under braking, EBD also helps
maintain stability when cornering and braking.
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) prevents loss of control in
hazardous situations, for example when entering a corner too
fast, or encountering slippery conditions that could provoke a
skid. Sensors monitoring vital performance data around the car
determine whether the driver is about to lose control and
automatically triggers stability and safety systems, including
adjustment of steering torque to help the driver make the
correct turn of the wheel to keep the car on course.
(TRC) is also provided as standard, automatically adjusting
power delivery to individual wheels when any loss of traction is
detected to maintain grip, for example when driving on wet or
The protection cell around the cabin is a critical
engineering feature of any car. For the new iQ, engineers
developed a new protection system based on Toyota’s innovative
multi-load path body structure. This provides six key
countermeasures to mitigate the effects of any impact.
The engine is
positioned towards the rear of the engine bay, allowing more
space for an energy absorbing structure to be positioned at
the front of the front side members. In a heavy collision,
the engine will also function as a barrier, reducing impact
on the passenger cell.
The position of
the front wheels and tyres at the extreme corners of the car
provides valuable initial protection in a front impact.
absorption capacity has been increased by using the
suspension side member side rail in addition to the standard
collision area formed by the front side member.
The rear part of
the front suspension member is attached to the body in four
places, which allows load from the front side members to be
transmitted to the crossmember.
was further increased by directly connecting the front side
members to the rocker panel.
the dashboard means impact forces towards the passenger area
can be distributed more evenly and effectively.
In the cabin there
are nine airbags, designed specifically to complement the size
and shape of the interior, providing 360-degree protection.
They include a
driver’s knee airbag, which, as it is closer to the driver than
on other models, is smaller and deploys quicker. The front
passenger front airbag uses a dual-chamber design first seen on
Lexus models, which has the effect of cradling the passenger’s
face while the force from inflation is spread across the
shoulders. iQ also features Toyota’s first seat cushion airbag,
fitted to the front passenger seat. This inflates under the
thighs to help hold the body in place, maximising the protection
given by the front and side airbags.
Front and rear side
airbags are fitted, with separate sections that provide
different levels of pressure appropriate for protecting the
pelvis and chest areas.
As there is only a
small space between the rear window and back of the rear seats,
rear passengers are protected by the world’s first rear window
curtain shield airbag. This deploys first between the roof panel
and headlining, then along the rear window. Further curtain
shield airbags are positioned on each side of the cabin and
Isofix child seat mounts are provided on both rear seats.
In spite of its diminutive dimensions, iQ has been designed
with a view to achieving class-leading safety performance in
full-frontal, offset, side and rear collisions, aided by its
new, highly rigid platform and robust safety structure. The car
is intended to meet the maximum five-star standard for adult
occupant protection in Euro NCAP crash testing and a three-star
rating for pedestrian protection. In this last regard, the shape
and height of the bonnet and a collapsible cowl construction
help reduce potential pedestrian injury.
The new Toyota iQ is
available to order now, with deliveries from January 2009.
On-the-road prices are from £9,295.