The Smart Fortwo isn't the smallest car that you can buy in the U.S. anymore. The Scion IQ is designed to compete with the Fortwo, but there's one thing the IQ can do that the Fortwo cannot. The Scion IQ can seat up to four people in theory. Being only so much larger than the Fortwo, can Scion lure customers away from larger more comfortable alternates.
Likes: Nimble around town, well equipped and easy to park.
Dislikes: Looks like a toy car, boot space doesn't exist if rear seats are in place. The stereo control is fiddly and the styling is rather dorky.
Performance: There's only one engine available for the IQ, that's a 1.33-liter four-cylinder with 98hp. Performance is spirited around town, but on the motorway you'll need to plan out overtaking other vehicles. Getting up to speed takes a little longer than you desire. But the IQ is much more peppier than the Fortwo.
Ride & Handling: The IQ is more comfortable to drive around town than the Fortwo. Thanks to an incredible turning circle and light controls. On faster roads, the IQ struggles to stay composed. There's a fair bit of body lean in bends and the front end runs out of grip quickly. The steering often feels vague and there's vulnerability to side winds. Making long journeys hard work.
Refinement: There's an incredible amount of refinement inside of the IQ. Although the door mirrors produce a bit of wind noise. Road noise is also very hushed. The CVT transmission makes the engine sound buzzy and thrashes when pushed hard.
Behind the wheel: The single stereo control on the steering wheel is very fiddly to operate. But it means the center console has extra space for the driver. However, comfort would be improved if the seat was height adjustbale and the wheel moved for reach as well. The heater is controlled via chunky buttons and dials.
Space & Practicality: The IQ in theory is a four-seater, but in reality there's only room for two passengers. The rear seat isn't big enough for kids and eats into the cargo space. So you'll have to choose between people space or cargo space. The boot is totally nonexistent with rear seats in place.
Equipment: The IQ offers plenty of kit for the money. You get six-speaker sound system, air-con, keyless entry and a cd-player. You'll have to pay extra for auto headlamps, fog lamps, rain sensing wipers and climate control.
Buying & Owning: The IQ is more expensive than the Fortwo, but the IQ is a more comfortable car to drive and live with. The transmission is smoother and the brakes are easier to modulate. However, the sheer size of the car may scare away some buyers. Residual values and resale values are unknown because the IQ isn't available in all states yet.
Quality & reliability: It's too soon to say how well the IQ will stand up in long term reliability. Most of the cars engineering is done by Toyota. So there's a piece of mind that you'll be buying a dependable vehicle.
Safety & Security: You get stability control, nine airbags including one that inflates across the rear screen in the event of a rear-end collision. Deadlocks and an integrated stereo makes life for thieves hard.
The IQ only strong points are its smooth transmission, good gas mileage and ease of use around town. However, like the Fortwo - the IQ isn't composed on faster roads. There really isn't much space for four passengers and many buyers will be scared away due to the small size of the car. However, if you desire a small car that's a little less crude than the Fortwo. The IQ is the perfect car for you.