Our Point of View: Two News Cars in the City of Light

October 02, 2008

by Toyota Open Road Blog

Paris, of course, is known as the City of Light, but this week it might better be known as the City of Headlights. That’s because this week, the action will be at the Mondial de l’Automobile, as the Paris auto show is known.

We’re introducing a couple of vehicles there today that we thought might interest you. One of them is the production version of our tiny iQ, first seen in prototype form last year. It’s our take on the concept of a city car. The other is the Lexus IS convertible.

Thanks to clever packaging, the iQ is one of those rolling contradictions that seems larger on the inside than it is on the outside. With an estimated base curb weight of 1,950 pounds, it is 9.8 feet long – shorter, even, than our Yaris – and is 5.5 feet wide and 4.8 feet tall. The iQ’s turning circle is about 13 feet, much less than that of the Yaris.

It contains seating for three adults, with a fourth seat that is suitable for a child, or that can be stowed to provide luggage space.

Power is supplied by a high-tech three-cylinder 1.0L engine that is, according to tests by Britain’s respected "Car" magazine, capable of more than 60 mpg. Larger 1.3L gas and 1.4L diesel engines also are slated as options for the iQ.

All the usual items – air conditioning, quality audio systems, a full suite of air bags, including the world’s first rear air bag, and other safety systems – will be available.

Our other new car takes us from the clever to the sublime. This new Lexus IS 250C and IS 350C convertible features a three-panel hard top that quickly folds into invisibility to treat driver and passengers to the joys of top-down motoring in traditional Lexus comfort, quiet and style.

Powertrains for the two IS convertibles are the same as for the IS sedans, and the convertibles share double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension systems with the IS sedans. Revisions to the convertible body structure and suspension enhance torsional stiffness and ride comfort.

The convertibles’ exterior features a design that maximizes aerodynamic efficiency, but never mind that. This car is gorgeous, with lines that look great from any angle.

The convertible’s interior features the luxury touch points associated with the IS sedans, while comfort and entertainment features provide a consistent atmosphere regardless of top configuration. Active safety features from the IS sedans transfer to the convertible as well.

The IS 250C and IS 350C will go on sale in the U.S. in late spring or early summer next year.

The iQ, meanwhile, goes on sale in Britain and Europe early next year.

So here’s our question for you: We all might greatly desire a Lexus convertible, but is there a place for cars like the iQ here in the U.S.? If the iQ became available here, would you consider buying one?

Originally published on the Toyota Open Road blog on Oct. 2, 2008.


Displaying comments 1 - 5 of 16:

Richard Suchoza said...
What about a 36 MPG Yaris vs the Prius? I understand it is not the same class of car, but for those interested in merely the least expensive method of commuting 110 miles per day to work and back, the comparison does have merit. The Yaris is an amazingly comfortable, and roomy car for the driver and front passenger (2 door hatchback), is very solid and peppy, and extremely easy to keep clean inside. Just wipe it down with a soft cloth. I consider my Yaris an appliance, and it serves this purpose remarkably well.
10/24/09 at 12:00 AM

Tony A said...
I've been driving my Prius for 2 years and while cost comparison is a component for the decision to purchase, there are other factors that are more important. Toyota's technology in propelling the car using the battery at low speed was an important factor. Additionally, some, would pay a bit more for the extra 9 miles per gallon because of the impact to the environment, and the small step taken to lessen our dependence on importing fuel from the Middle East.
10/9/09 at 12:00 AM

Susan Rowan said...
I've had my Prius for 3 years. I will never drive another car. It has been problem free and gets right now 49.4 mpg. We also have a 10 yr old Camry that has had no repairs. But we are religious about our regular maintenance since we love our Toyotas so much. I know several people with Priuses and they all love them
9/30/09 at 12:00 AM

Judy said...
What this comparison doesn't take into account is the fact that you can't buy a Toyota at the "base" price because they generally come equipped with standard "packages" which increase the price from $2000 to $4000 over the base price. I do love Toyotas, but this is a fact that makes it difficult to price them.
9/30/09 at 12:00 AM

Laszlo said...
My wide and I are both 'in love' with my 2008 Prius. There is a daily competition for the key fob (looser gets the Corolla keys). My only beef is that it should be a plug-in. Even a 40-60 km EV range and an 80 km/h top EV speed would be fine. Most of our trips ara in town with a daily range of under 60 km.
9/23/09 at 12:00 AM

rod said...
8/28/09 at 12:00 AM

Larry said...
With all the technology Prius offers, it is very affordable. The true cost analysis is missing some other operating costs besides just purchase and fuel costs. There is maintenance, insurance, government incentives and licensing. Speaking for the Prius, one major advantage is brake wear. With the Prius hybrid system it uses the HSD to slow the vehicle, which extends the life of the brakes and lowers maintenance costs. So there are added benefits besides fuel economy.
8/18/09 at 12:00 AM

motor trade jobs said...
great and i love this car. it is very useful and comfortable
7/13/09 at 12:00 AM

ann said...
well great!i love or like this car! prado is fashion and fabulous car ! tpyota prado is for ever!
7/6/09 at 12:00 AM

JeSsICa said...
people just have to understand.. the Prius is the most fuel eff hybrid on the market . yes you may pay a little more upfront... but anyone who has ever owned a toyota knows the value in them... dont settle for something!! if your gonna buy a hybrid BUY A TOYOTA!!!
7/3/09 at 12:00 AM

Bob said...
6/30/09 at 12:00 AM

antoinette arianna said...
Thanks, Bill! Very helpful!
6/17/09 at 12:00 AM

Kevin Franklin said...
anyone who drives both vehicles back to back will wonder why they ever considered an Insight in the first place. It doesn't even compare to the Gen II Prius.
6/16/09 at 12:00 AM

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