- - Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scion’s 2012 iQ premium micro-subcompact, first in dealerships this past October is only 10 feet long yet seats four people, making it the world’s smallest four-seater.

“Scion prides itself on being an innovative brand with a lineup of iconic vehicles that set automotive trends,” said Jack Hollis, vice president of Scion. “The iQ is the fourth vehicle in the family, and it will define the premium micro-subcompact segment as the choice for new urbanites who want clever transportation without a sacrifice in style or new features.”

Meeting the needs of a new trendsetting generation of urban drivers, the iQ succeeds at taking big ideas and concentrating them into a small package. Made possible by intelligent and functional packaging, the iQ is a small car that offers the functionality and comfort that drivers expect from a car twice its size.

Instead of sacrificing features or comfort to reduce its footprint, the iQ relies on intelligent design. Six engineering innovations are responsible for the iQ’s ability to be small in size, but large in capability. A compact front-mounted differential, high-mount steering rack with electronic power-steering, and a compact air-conditioning unit all amount to significant decreases in front-end length. In addition, the iQ is equipped with a flat gas tank housed beneath the floor that reduces rear overhang. Slim-back front seats optimize rear legroom, while the “3+1” offset seating arrangement allows one adult to sit behind the front passenger and a child or small package behind the driver.

With a 78.7-inch wheelbase and a unique suspension design - consisting of MacPherson struts up front, and a compact torsion beam rear suspension - the three-door hatchback can deftly maneuver through city traffic. In addition, its overall length of only 120.1-inches, and short front and rear overhangs allows the iQ to fit into virtually any urban parking scenario. Although short in length, the iQ has a wide stance at 66.1-inches, giving it a confident stance that handles like a much larger car.

The 2012 iQ is equipped with a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 94 horsepower and 89 lb.-ft of torque. It features the latest dual VVT-i, which allows the engine to be efficient, providing a broader powerband yet requiring less fuel and generating fewer emissions.

The engine is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that helps deliver smooth acceleration and excellent fuel efficiency. The iQ is rated an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) and achieves an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating of 37 miles per gallon, comparable to similar vehicles of its size.

In order to be considered a premium micro-subcompact, the iQ comes standard with safety features that drivers expect and demand. The iQ is packed with an industry leading 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear window airbag. Other airbags include driver- and front-passenger airbags; driver- and front-passenger seatmounted side airbags; side curtain airbags; driver- and front-passenger knee airbags; and a Scion-first driver- and front-passenger seat-cushion airbags.

All iQs will come standard with the Star Safety SystemTM, which includes antilock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Smart Stop Technology brake-override. A tire-pressure monitoring system is also standard equipment.

The iQ’s profile, defined by a strong and high beltline, glides from the large, stout headlamps, up the A-pillar, across the roof and wraps around the rear, emphasizing the iQ’s geometric shape. Side mirrors with integrated turn signals accent the clean design and give it a premium look.

The rear emphasizes the vehicle’s modern style. Trapezoidal lines run toward the wheels, from the hatch to the bumper’s rear diffuser-like accent, creating a substantial presence.

The iQ will be available in seven exterior colors, including Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Hot Lava, Pacific Blue Metallic and Black Currant Metallic.

The iQ’s functional “3+1” seating equates to the world’s smallest four-passenger vehicle. The four-seat configuration is made possible because the driver and frontpassenger seats are slightly off set.

The rear seats are extremely versatile, featuring a 50/50 split and the ability to fold flat, creating enough storage to accommodate large suitcases. The iQ comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, and features a flat bottom that provides additional thigh room. The steering wheel incorporates audio controls to manage the iQ’s impressive sound system.

The iQ comes standard with a Scion Drive Monitor that displays information like outside temperature, average MPG and an ECO-drive indicator that helps the driver maximize the iQ’s fuel efficiency.

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