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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
As part of a publicity glitz to highlight the iQ's fuel economy credentials, Toyota Europe recruited two very regular lads with no prior experience in the iQ and set them off on a journey across 18 cities in England, using just one tank of fuel.
In the end, the lads managed to clock 502 miles with just 8.5 gallons of petrol. That's 808 km with just 32 litres of petrol, which works out to about 25 km/litre of petrol or about 60mpg. But bear in mind that these figures are mostly obtained in urban driving conditions. They also kept a blog chronicling their journey here.
The tiny 3+1 seater Toyota iQ was awarded 2008 Japan Car of The Year award. Many journos are of the opinion that this is what the Smart ForTwo should have been. Although I think Daimler should be credited for coming up with the concept and building the a compact two-seater fuel efficient urban vehicle.
But...building compact cars at a profit is not a forte of Daimler, who is more used to building high powered luxo barges. Daimler lost heavily on the Smart venture and even its smaller A-class have not been quite a profit generator that the bosses at Stuttgart would like it to be. Chief among the problem was Daimler's very costly "sandwich floorpan" design which Daimler sees as the solution to making its compact cars meeting its stringent crash safety standards.
Toyota too initially wanted to emulate a similar idea but found it to be too costly, and reverted to a more conventional front engine, front wheel drive setup and yet still managed to ace all the mandatory crash safety standards. Toyota also "recovered" some interior space by rethinking conventional designs of HVAC systems and instrumentation which allowed for a very compact dashboard, and placed the fuel tank below the seats to save space.
The differences in the financial standing of the two projects is more than a technical design issue. In short, Toyota has far more experience building compact cars with very small budgets and making a profit out of them. Looking at the iQ, one has to wonder why does Daimler makes such a big fuss of the Smart ForTwo, when Toyota's creation made so much more sense.
Below is British TV series 5th Gear's test drive on the iQ. Watch it before Youtube removes it (copyright violation).
Posted by AutoIndustrie at 6:05 AM