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2012 Scion iQ (Toyota)
2012 Scion iQ (Toyota)

The Green Highway

This little car is no joke Add to ...

I have never read so much ridicule about what should be a significant city car as I have seen coming from some from American car reviewers about the Scion iQ.

They simply can’t accept the fact that global warming, cutting off petro-dictators and slowly but surely improving the environment is going to have any effect on Americans’ taste for gas guzzlers.

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Several of the Scion iQ’s reviewers consider the Toyota mini-car a joke. One reviewer showed up with his daughter and son-in-law. “He’s 6-foot-2 and she’s about 5-foot-4, and I wondered which one I’d have to saw in half to go sightseeing in the Scion.” Har har, snort snort, hee haw.

The iQ’s rear seat is tiny but the front seats are just fine. It is an exaggeration for Toyota to pitch this as a four-seater, but it does have two seats for normal-sized people and enough room in the back for a child or shopping bags or whatever.

To get a car this small, you have to expect a short wheelbase. In this case, it’s just less than 79 inches. That makes it a bit squirrely on the highway, but in the city you don’t notice it. There’s a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission driving it. It’s not too bad unless you’re trying to pass while going uphill and then there’s zero acceleration left. Americans won’t like that.

When our comedian car reviewer put his daughter in the back seat, he concluded that, “after considering and then rejecting amputation, she said she’d be fine … as long as she didn’t try to move any body part below her thighs, which included wiggling her toes.” Har, har, har.

It’s easy to take cheap shots at something that is beyond the conventional. You will not get the same expansive back seat in a $17,000 Scion that you get in a $95,000 Jaguar XJL.

But people shouldn’t write mini-cars off as ridiculous. Government fuel economy regulations are going to make cars like the Scion iQ more and more necessary – if not popular. Fleet average fuel economy standards are going to push cars like this into every manufacturer’s lineup.

Is it a bad thing to be ridiculed by American car reviewers who would likely be more comfortable in the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car (now fortunately extinct)? The world is changing and people who believe they should be in a limo will soon have to face up to the new realities of the government-mandated industry-wide fuel economy standards.

Get over it, people.

Cars in the future will be suited for specific purposes. If you’re wealthy enough, you may have something in the garage for a long road trip; but a car like the maligned iQ will probably be your daily driver to Bay Street.

A lot of the big, heavy hitters who like to blow smoke in your face from a V-8, V-10 or V-12 today will likely find themselves within the decade driving something with 1.3 litres of displacement and zero to 100 km/h in 12 seconds just like the Scion iQ.

I’m just telling you that little city cars like the iQ are the future and not comedy material.

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