A new chapter in Philippine motoring history unfolded last Friday with the introduction of the all-new Toyota Prius. It will be the first time a hybrid car will be sold officially though the Philippine dealer network.
Like virtually all the important and relevant new car offerings in our market, we’ve already seen the Prius prior to its official launch. When the new car was revealed, we still act surprised, then we went back to the buffet table for more roast beef while everyone else went onstage to ogle the new model.
The Prius is definitely an exciting car, but I find myself getting excited about another quirky Toyota car—-the Toyota iQ. The iQ is Toyota’s take on the micro car segment, a category long-dominated by the Smart car.
Despite its small size (half a meter shorter than the Hyundai i10; do all small cars have to start in ‘i’?), Toyota claims it can seat four. We hope they mean adults by that.
It's so small it looks like one of those photoshopped mini cars that popped up in forwarded e-mails a while back.
But this is real. Toyota managed to maximize the size by traditional methods (moving the wheels to the corners as far as possible) and non-traditional methods (there is no glove compartment, just a pouch where the glove compartment should be).
A nifty feature is Toyota’s Stop and Start system. When the car comes to a stop and the manual transmission is put in neutral, the system cuts off the engine. Then when a gear is engaged, the engine restarts in 0.4 seconds. This contributes to fuel savings up to 15% in an urban environment.
A more powerful (in a sense) 1.3-liter engine has been introduced developing 98hp and 125Nm of torque.
In Europe prices start at £11,945 (P948,282) for the six-speed manual version. Given our more backwards tax structure, we’ll definitely pay more than a million pesos if it’s launched here. Still, that’s a moment I want to see. I might even put off going back to the buffet table for a closer look.
(Toyota iQ photos from NewsPress.co.uk, photoshopped Mini 350Z from www.gfxvoid.com.)