Home » Daily-Driving The Tiny Toyota America Ignored: Why The Scion iQ Is Criminally Underrated

Daily-Driving The Tiny Toyota America Ignored: Why The Scion iQ Is Criminally Underrated

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At the beginning of December, my wife and I brought home a new toy. Sheryl needed a daily driver and decided to go with a reliable Toyota. But she didn’t go with the expected Corolla or Camry, instead choosing Toyota’s attempt to beat Smart at building the ultimate city car: the Scion iQ. The iQ promised to better a Smart Fortwo by offering seating for four, a 37 mpg combined rating, a ridiculously tight turning circle, and 11 airbags. However, just 15,701 of them were sold after Smart delivered Scion a sales-floor beating akin to an angry Mike Tyson on a plane. Toyota may have failed to beat Smart, but after driving this tiny automobile for a month, I think America slept on a great little car.

If you’ve been reading my work for long enough, you know that I’m not afraid to praise the Smart Fortwo any moment I can. I own five of the things and plan to get more. Most of my brain stores are occupied with Smart facts that are useful only in highly specific settings. All of this is to say that when you read my admiration for this tiny Toyota, you know I’m serious about it. Cars like these are on the verge of extinction in America, and that’s sad because city cars are awesome.

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Oh Deer

The end of the year has not been kind to Sheryl’s cars. Remember that Toyota Prius Sheryl used to have? We loaned it to a friend. Things were going okay with that deal until Sheryl and I were walking through Walt Disney World’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme area during our vacation last month. As we enjoyed a brief break away from reality, a call rang in, reminding us that we weren’t in a galaxy far, far away. My friend broadsided a running deer with the Prius. As if that wasn’t unlucky enough, the deer’s body tumbled down the entire length of the left side of the car. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Even the deer jumped back into the darkness.

But even I could tell from the photos that the car was trashed. It would have needed a hood, bumper, core support, headlight, driver door, and fender at minimum, and that was what I could see with my eyes through blurry phone pictures taken at night.

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It didn’t take much time at all for insurance to total the Prius, which was sad for a multitude of reasons. That car still had lots of life left in it and wasn’t ready to give up yet. Worse was my friend had the cheapest possible insurance and Sheryl did not have gap coverage. It got even worse from there as the insurer discovered a crumple in the unibody, presumably from the bottom of the vehicle impacting something hard at speed. Something that wasn’t the deer. The insurance company said that to fix the deer damage plus mystery structure damage would cost $14,000, or nearly twice what the car was worth. The Prius was totaled that day and the payout was abysmal, even after Sheryl flexed her lawyer muscles.

To add insult to injury, the BMW E39 we bought from the Bishop had just started exhibiting a puzzling problem. The vehicle started consuming oil at a rate of a quart roughly every 50 miles. When we bought the car, I noticed it burned a quart every 700 miles or so. Some searching on forums suggested this burn was normal, so we kept things topped up and lived with it. The change from a quart every 700 miles to a quart every 50 miles seemed as if it happened overnight. It didn’t, but Sheryl started noticing the BMW’s low oil level light was illuminating every day even though she was topping up the oil daily. The dipstick always confirmed what the light was suggesting, too.

I still haven’t figured out what’s going on, but the car now smokes like a poorly-tuned diesel truck. Well, that’s where a lot of the oil is going. Still, a quart every 50 miles is aggressive. I found no external leaks that add up to that much oil. The coolant is also clean, so the oil doesn’t appear to be getting sent somewhere else. Unfortunately, some searching would suggest a long list of possible causes for BMW M54 oil burn from an aged crankcase vent system to worn rings. Our German mechanic friends gave other, equally time-intensive potential causes. The wounded Beemer is fixable, but not in the time we have to diagnose and then chase the oil burn down.

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Besides, Sheryl put about 25,000 miles on the car since I gave it to her earlier this year, so this steed was just two years or so from 200,000 miles. A few months ago, I asked you for solutions to the car’s rusting rockers. Honestly, a few of you were right when you said she drives the car so many miles so quickly that it would suffer a major mechanical failure before the body had the time to rust out. Given the ridiculous oil consumption and our still unsolved rust issue, Sheryl decided to demote her beloved BMW to weekend driver. As of now, it sits in her garage, awaiting warmer weather.

Hellish Car Search

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Like me, Sheryl is allergic to high car payments. Besides, she already had to pay off the Prius earlier than planned. So, she wanted a newer daily driver with low miles, but she also didn’t want to pay new car money for it. Oh, and it needed to be reliable, which meant none of my high-mileage sort of broken hoopties would apply. This led her down a path of looking for the unloved, the basic, and the underrated.

In what looked like a Sheryl’s Marketplace Madness, my wife had assembled a list of cars she wanted to try out. That list contained such vehicles as a Volkswagen Beetle, a Jetta TDI sedan, a few Mazda3s, a Subaru Legacy, some Smart Fortwos, and similar cars. The more popular cars of the bunch, such as the Mazdas and Subarus, sold quicker than Sheryl could request information. We also decided that the Smarts would be too small since Sheryl sometimes carries a lot of stuff in her cars.

Somewhere along the way, Sheryl started finding Scion iQs and they seemed like a great idea. Sheryl loved the concept of a Smart, but wanted a little more space. That’s what the Scion iQ is! The iQ’s backseat is sized perfectly for our birds or for the odd friend to ride in the back. And when the car isn’t carrying the birds, the rear seat’s backrests fold flat, making for a regular car-sized trunk. Add the 37 mpg combined fuel economy rating with regular fuel plus Toyota reliability and Sheryl was sold.

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Unfortunately, buying a car proved to be difficult. One lender backed out after learning about the Prius. Another dealership refused to work with transgender people. One dealer dragged Sheryl through the whole process and multiple hard credit pulls before eventually claiming that they could not work with people who changed their gender markers. Eventually, I told Sheryl that I’d just buy her a winter beater from Facebook.

Before I could do that, Sheryl tried a couple of more dealers. One of them was nearby and had a Scion iQ in stock. Sheryl told them what was going on and for the first time since we started the car search, we heard back something heartwarming. The dealer told us her issues weren’t a problem. And that iQ? Yeah, they didn’t see why she couldn’t just come down and drive out with it.

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Admittedly, I’ve heard lines like those so many times in the past by used car dealers, and every time led to disappointment. But this dealer made promises and kept them. Sure enough, we rolled up to the dealership on a Saturday afternoon and drove out in the Scion iQ a couple of hours later. The purchasing process was surprisingly painless and the dealer was transparent about costs. We paid around $8,000 for the Scion and the financing rate wasn’t horrible, either.

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Perhaps the most mind-blowing part for me was how when we pointed out some rust on one of the car’s fenders, the salesman said the dealer could fix that for free. Mentioning the rust was a shot in the dark. I never expected such a response, especially since 11-year-old used cars don’t have warranties. The rust has been repaired and they did such a good job you can’t even tell it was there. So, I don’t normally give used car dealerships praise, but thank you International Car Center of Lombard, Illinois.

Sheryl’s iQ

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Sheryl drove home with a 2012 Scion iQ with about 67,000 miles. According to some research I conducted on the vehicle, it was distributed by Southeast Toyota and lived all of its life on the East Coast before moving to the Midwest. You can tell the car had lived on the East Coast because it has the wear to show for it. Surface rust appears on engine compartment components and bits and pieces of the vehicle’s undercarriage. That’s just how things are with cars out here. Thankfully, none of the rust is actually bad and an oil-based undercoating should help the car battle road salt. I mean, oil undercoating saved David’s Valiant from getting any worse!

The car comes painted in Pacific Blue Metallic and wears a design that Scion says is supposed to mimic a larger car up front while tapering off dramatically at the rear. To me, the design itself looks like it could have belonged on a Yaris, only this car shrunk in the wash. The diminutive proportions are what make this car stand out. At 120.1 inches, or 10 feet, the car is 14 inches longer than a Smart Fortwo. Its width of 66.1 inches makes it 5 inches wider than a second-generation Smart Fortwo. Add it all up and you get a car that feels normal width inside while sporting just enough room to carry more than two people.

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That doesn’t stop people from mistaking the iQ for a Smart. Everyone will make comments about your “Smart Car” before being surprised to learn that Toyota made its own interpretation of the pint-size city car. Granted, with just 15,701 units on American roads there’s a good chance there are people who have never seen an iQ before.

Like the Fortwo, the iQ is a packaging marvel. Toyota was proud to call the iQ the “World’s Smallest Four-Seater” and a lot of clever engineering went into the vehicle to achieve it. Click here to read my retrospective, but the short version is that Toyota moved the differential to the front of the engine, made a more compact steering system, designed a smaller air-conditioner pack, hid the fuel tank under the cabin floor, slimmed down the seats, staggered the interior, and even deleted the glove compartment.

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Your rear passengers have their head literally a few inches from the rear glass. So, to protect their noggins in a crash, Toyota implemented what it calls the world’s first rear curtain airbag.

Unlike a Fortwo, an iQ keeps its smart engineering pretty low-key. A Smart likes to advertise its safety cage and its rear engine, but an iQ feels like a regular Toyota inside. Your clues that the car’s a bit funky come from the offset seating, no glovebox, and when you turn your head to reverse and realize you could touch the back window. You never really get the feeling that the engine is buzzing away right in front of your feet.

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We’ve also used up the whole car a few times already. We fit our birds’ travel cage in the backseat and also shoved a friend back there, too. Our friend commented that she wouldn’t want to be back there for any real length of time, but she fit well enough that it sort of felt like a full car back there. Unfortunately, if we were to carry a fourth person, we would hope they are good with less legroom than sardines get in a can.

The best part about the iQ’s interior is the upgraded stereo. The iQ doesn’t have trim levels. Instead, you got a base car and Scion let you pick and choose options. A base iQ has steel wheels and only two interior speakers. Whoever originally ordered this car decided to spend their money on sound. They opted for the 160-watt Pioneer sound system with two front speakers, two tweeters, two rears, and a subwoofer.

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The system isn’t kicking out a ton of power, but there’s more than enough bass and clarity for rocking out inside of your little phone box. Certainly, it’s a better stereo than what I have in any of my Smarts. Mercedes Jam Session Approved

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Better Than The Smart, Sort Of

Now that I’ve had a month to drive this car, I think Toyota came really close to succeeding in its mission to build a better Smart.

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Personally, I think the advantages start under the hood. When the iQ was unleashed into America during the 2012 model year, the Fortwo was in its second generation and was getting by with a 999cc Mitsubishi three-cylinder good for 70 HP and 68 lb-ft of torque. Personally, I love the Smart’s engine, but it doesn’t really do things fast. A good 60 mph run in a second-generation Smart is 11 seconds.

The iQ’s engine was an immediate improvement. Sure, it wasn’t placed in the rear and powering the rear wheels, but the 1.3-liter four-cylinder unit makes 93 HP and 89 lb-ft of torque delivered to the front wheels. Yes, the 2,127-pound Scion iQ weighs about 300 more pounds than a Smart, but that little engine gets the iQ rolling with more gusto. An iQ hits 60 in about 9.6 seconds.

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Despite what some readers have commented, the iQ does not beat a Smart Fortwo in real-world fuel economy. I can get 42 mpg with my second-generation Smarts easily, but I get about 35 mpg in the iQ under the same circumstances. On the highway at 70 mph, my Smarts will do 40 mpg while the iQ does about 35 mpg. Go above 80 mph and you’re into the 20s. I know what you’re saying, that’s terrible! However, keep in mind that these cars have the aerodynamics of bricks and were geared toward city prowess, not running down the American autobahn. The iQ’s saving grace is the fact that it takes regular fuel, making the iQ cheaper to fuel. Both the iQ and the Fortwo were available with thrifty diesel engines, but neither were offered in the United States.

It would seem most people prefer the iQ’s transmission over the Smart’s, too. In America we got the iQ only with a CVT, and while it’s not a particularly exciting transmission, many prefer it over the sometimes jerky single-clutch automated-manual featured in the Smart. In the iQ, the CVT leaves the small powerplant droning most of the time and this engine isn’t one with a particularly pleasant engine note. At highway speed, the engine runs roughly 3,500 RPM, so you cannot escape the noise. It sounds a lot like a Prius engine, which means your blender at home makes better noise. In terms of operation, it works like every other CVT in that it lets the engine rev up in exchange for forward motion. If you’re really punching it, the iQ’s CVT will “shift” at redline.

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The suspension is also a winner. Both cars have MacPherson struts up front, but the tuning is different. The front suspension of a Smart is hard and harsh, while the Scion’s is a bit more forgiving. Things get weird in the rear, where a Smart has a De Dion tube and the iQ has a torsion beam. I think the Smart’s De Dion wins in the rear because it’s actually quite soft. However, the iQ’s suspension is overall better suited for taking hits from potholes without making your fillings fall out. Neither car, with its short wheelbases, tiny tire sidewalls, and little suspension travel, feels like a “normal” car, but the iQ is noticeably better at not beating you up.

On the performance front, the iQ outruns a Fortwo. It hits highway speed a little faster, it has a slightly higher top speed of around 100 mph as opposed to the Smart’s 90 mph, and it even has a better turning circle game. The little thing will pull a 180 in 26.4 feet, or tight enough to do a U-turn from the left lane and end up in the left lane. Also, that turning circle is two feet sharper than a Smart’s.

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The iQ’s steering is quick, too, which is great for zipping around the obstacles that you’d find in a city. Darting the iQ around a city takes no effort and it’s really fun. See a tiny gap? Point the wheel there and slide your little Scion in. Someone parallel park their pickup truck poorly? No problem, you can fit in the space left over. Driving the iQ around a city feels like having a superpower.

With that in mind, I wouldn’t say the iQ has particularly great handling. Like a Smart Fortwo, once you start pushing the iQ it shows its limits relatively quickly. I’ve experienced loads of body roll with the iQ and the tires quit just when you’re really starting to have fun. Just like with a Fortwo, I suspect wider tires will make the iQ feel like a go kart. It’s a shame because the iQ comes with a thick, sporty steering wheel that makes you want to whip it around a corner.

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While I’m on the subject of handling, the iQ can feel a bit twitchy on the highway. So far as I can tell, that same zippy steering that makes the iQ a city beast makes it a bit less of a performer on the highway. Keeping the iQ centered in the lane seems to require more steering correction than you’d need in a larger car. Or at the very least, it feels like you’re constantly correcting. Second-generation Smarts have this problem, too, and I’ve found wider tires to be a good fix.

What Was Toyota Thinking?

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The Scion iQ kills the Smart Fortwo in a number of metrics. It’s faster, it seats more people, it has a softer suspension, and the transmission won’t infuriate you. On paper, it’s a better car, and I say this as someone who owns five Smarts. But Toyota didn’t hit it out of the park.

One thing bothered me immediately about Sheryl’s iQ, and it’s the joke of a dome light. Seriously, someone (or multiple someones) thought it would be a great idea to give these cars a horrible spotlight as the interior’s main lighting. If you lose something between the seats at night, it’s staying there until morning because the comically bad dome light isn’t helping you find it. Seriously, the reading lights provided in an old Greyhound bus are far more useful.

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Toyota also didn’t seem to care that much about your comfort. The steering wheel telescopes and tilts, but you have only the most basic seat adjustment. To be fair to Toyota, Smart didn’t offer an adjustable wheel at all. However, what Smart did offer that Toyota didn’t was cruise control. Aftermarket cruise control units are available for the iQ, but require drilling and soldering.

The lack of comfort features don’t end there. Here in America, you were not able to option your iQ with heated seats, leather, automatic headlights, or automatic wipers. Some of these are baffling as Toyota did offer leather and heat in other markets, but seemingly felt such niceties weren’t worth bringing to America. Toyota also didn’t bother with a center console of any kind, meaning your right arm is sort of just hanging out with nowhere to go. Sheryl rectified that with a cheap aftermarket center console with an armrest, pictured below:

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The quality is a mixture of that bank vault solidity you’d expect from a Toyota, but with a few oddities baked in. There are some choices that concern me. For starters, the vehicle doesn’t seem to make an attempt to protect the metal in the rear wheel wells. You won’t find any liners there, exposing the structure to hits from rocks, dirt build up, and road salt accumulation. At first, I thought the car was just missing liners, but it’s supposed to be that way. I make sure Sheryl blasts salt out of any area a hose can reach.

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Also a bit odd are the vehicle’s door seals. On my inspection, I found that the seals seem to trap a lot more dirt, sand, and fine road salt dust than the other vehicles in our fleet.

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Under those seals are metal trim clips. On Sheryl’s car, one of those trim clips was rotting out. I have seen some iQs with rust in this area and wonder if salt trapped under the seals ends up permitting the start of rust. I cleaned Sheryl’s seals just to see dirt trapped under them again. In fairness to Toyota, this car is 11 years old, so maybe it’s an age-related issue with the seals.

Either way, if you own an iQ, periodically check your door seals for unwanted junk.

Too Much Fun

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Despite the annoying lack of features, the iQ is a barrel of fun to drive and live with. Everyone wants to ask you questions about your little car and the thing is cheap to run, too. The iQ has an itty bitty 8.5-gallon fuel tank, so even 20 bucks fills you up. Sheryl reports no more struggling with parking downtown and the cargo room is still just enough to do our daily activities. Really, the iQ has been like a Smart, but more. Even better is the fact that I’ve seen a lot of these with 200,000 miles and higher, so it would seem that Toyota still baked in some durability.

Ultimately, I think Toyota sealed its own fate. In 2012, the debut model year for the Scion iQ, a Smart Fortwo had a starting price of $12,490. Sure, that car had no features, but neither did the base model $15,265 Scion iQ. To make matters worse, a base model Toyota Yaris was $14,115. So, you were paying more for less car. The Yaris still did about 38 mpg on the highway, too. At least a Smart could say that it was the cheapest way into a Mercedes-Benz product.

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Subjectively, I think the Smart is a bit more special, too. Take away its size and the iQ is styled like any other car that you’d lose in a parking lot.

There’s no official reason why the iQ failed to even come close to Smart’s sales, but it doesn’t matter. Cars like these are a dying breed. City cars didn’t really capture America’s attention, and now the vast majority of them are gone. That’s a shame because regardless if you sit in the Smart camp, rock an iQ, or get a Honda Fit, these vehicles remind you of the sorts of fun you had as a kid. Every day, you could drive something that provides the smiles of a theme park go-kart track.

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(Images: Author)

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Greensoul
Greensoul
3 months ago

I almost bought one of these. The piston slap thing is what scared me away….Anyways, love it. I almost bought an orange one of off car max a year ago

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
3 months ago

I like the IQ but the Fiat 500 does everything this car does but better with more interior space and comfort at a similar size.

Dr. Asteroid
Dr. Asteroid
3 months ago

These cars were pricey for their size but they were small for the SAKE of being small. You bought one of these when you desired an itty bitty car. I also drive a 2012 iQ with 67k miles that I’ve had 9 years. I bought it at 8800 miles for under 10 grand. It’s been the best car I’ve ever had and I became a huge fan and nerd for them because of it. I’ve had “cooler” cars but this one is here to stay. It also makes me happy to see that one of the journalists here is now a part of the iQ community. I’m an isolated and lonely iQ owner so it’s awesome to know of another.

VanGuy
VanGuy
3 months ago

I definitely got “into” cars after Scion’s sunsetting, so this was an interesting deep-dive.
Not a useful car for my use cases, and the lack of cruise control is puzzling. That’s one feature that’s been a must-have for me ever since the first time having it.

I will say, I’m not sure how I feel about the name. I know “i[capital letter]” was their typical name scheme, but “iQ” feels like it could’ve used more market testing?
“iQ? Ha, you’d need a low iQ to get into one of these instead of a Smart!”

Roofaloof
Roofaloof
3 months ago

So sorry you two were discriminated against!

Transphobes can rot

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago

Re: the rust – it must have lived near a coast then, the southeast region for Toyota wouldn’t have any conditions once you’re inland that would really cause corrosion as described especially the engine compartment more than elsewhere on the vehicle. Seems more likely caused by salty air. And given SET is headquartered in FL, that would also track if it came from there.

Another point to pricing contributing to the lack of success of the iQ – Scion was supposed to be a no-haggle brand, so the price you see is what you’d pay. To the iQ’s credit, it had power features that a base Yaris didn’t, but that only put them at the same price comparably equipped. And then selling a 2-door non-sporty car was already tough too, most would want 4 doors, so add a few hundred more for a 4-door Yaris. But even the Yaris suffered against a Corolla at the time as Toyota was selling those cheap. A base Corolla automatic stickered about $17k but had more margin than a Yaris and could be had for the same price or less. Same story for the Scion xD too at a hair over $16k.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

“Seriously, someone (or multiple someones) thought it would be a great idea to give these cars a horrible spotlight as the interior’s main lighting.”

Can you install a second, brighter dome light a bit further back by tapping into the crappy light’s power lines? Or if you don’t mind some Gambler aesthetic maybe just glue a strip of 12V LEDs down the center of the headliner, again tapping power from the crappy light.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cheap Bastard
VanGuy
VanGuy
3 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I was thinking similarly–I’ve replaced all the interior lights in my 2012 Prius v with LEDs. They even make cheap panels with adapters you can put inside fixtures, which are especially useful for those stupid festoon lights. Visibility is fantastic now.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

Rule #1: Happy wife, happy life!

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
3 months ago

many of the confusing things not included or offered on the iQ can be explained with the fact that they sold it as a Scion, that really limited what they could or would do here.

I randomly have the urge for wanting to turn an iQ into a Cygnet! really confuse the people for fun. lol

also, also, I’m so sorry you have to deal with trash people making your lives difficult for no reason other than to make themselves feel better.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
3 months ago

I don’t get it. Do trans people use Monopoly money or something? If you’d like to name names, I’m sure that info would get around with a quickness. I’m glad Cheryl found something that works for her, I look forward to hearing about your adventures in it. And I’m just curious, what kind of birds do you have?

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Layshio

Legitimately, what the fuck does that second sentence mean?

I was going to edit this into oblivion, but I’ll let it stand for posterity

Last edited 3 months ago by Utherjorge
Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
3 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

Really? Your joking right? It means tell us who disrespected you so we can make it public. Remedial reading comprehension courses would be a great idea.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
3 months ago

I’m hearing similar reports of discrimination from trans truck drivers in the states where republicans are trying to outlaw trans folks- The republicans are giving bigots permission to act out their hate.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
3 months ago

I agree on the need to name and protect the queer community by outing any business that treats us badly- Then we can spend our money where we’re welcome!

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
3 months ago

I think it would be good to name and shame the dealers who refused to work with you.

SCOTT GREEN
SCOTT GREEN
3 months ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

It’d be good, yes, but might open the doors to litigation for “defamation” or some crap.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago

This is one model Toyota should definitely revive. Hell, if having 4 seats would make it hard for it to pass crash regs then give it 3 seats with the third seat being in the back and between the front seats where the 2nd passenger’s legs go between the front seats.

A BEV iQ makes a ton more sense than the b4zlmnop whatever it’s called. A hybrid iQ with a planetary e-CVT like the Prius would be great. A manual anything is always great

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

I’ll defer to the world’s largest automaker (depending on the day) that the b4zlmnop actually makes a lot more sense.

I would not consider the iQ, but when I’m bored I look at the rare (in the US) Smarts that have a proper 5-speed manual, along with bubble kei sports cars, but that is as a 5th car. No way I would own a microcar as a primary car in the US.

The b4zlmnop qualifies for generous US subsidies if leased, massively improves Toyota’s CAFE average, and fits the 5-door crossover profile that is very popular with buyers.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

Would you consider the iQ if it had a manual? They made manual variants, they just sadly were never sold in the US.

Would a BEV iQ not qualify for US subsidies? Would an iQ Not massively improve Toyota’s CAFE average?

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

I would consider a $17K new stick Versa more compelling.

They could get a BEV version to qualify for the lease credits. It only helps the CAFE averages if they can sell a lot of them, which I doubt.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

I think they’d sell at least as many BEV iQs as they would the B4Z-LMNOP except the iQ BEVs would require less materials per car (especially batteries which is a big cost) and Toyota could make an actually good BEV for the city pretty easily whereas the B4Z-LMNOP is mostly a subpar Model Y copy.

If Toyota’s goal is to only help CAFE averages the iQ makes the most sense as it’s the lowest cost way to do so.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

But how many buyers here really want or need a good city EV? They didn’t want an iQ before and a Corolla could be had for the same price or less, only a slight hit in fuel economy. And that’s nil now that there is the Corolla hybrid at 50mpg in a far more popular vehicle format; I can’t see them purpose building an EV that would also sell for meaningfully less, while also overcoming perception and anxiety over charging.

Even with better EVs for the price, the 6500 copies of the bZ4X they’ve sold in 9 months from Jan-Sept 2023 are already about 40% of the <16k iQs they sold in 3 model years. And because the development and materials are spread across Subaru too, throw in the 5700 Solterras in the same period and they’ve almost exceeded it, surely will have once full 2023 sales are released.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago

How many buyers want a half-assed ground up compliance knockoff of a Model Y with a worse charging network?

I batteries are a substantial cost when it comes to BEVs and an iQ BEV would use a lot less batteries than the B4Z-LMNOP.

Toyota can make a much better iQ BEV than they can make a Model Y competitor and they can do so for much less money in basically every way.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Apparently at least 12k people this year do. Small sales volume for Toyota, but way more than the iQ was – because how many buyers want a city car that costs Corolla money?

The charging network is not a difficult fix (edit) or should I say, already accounted for – Toyota has already said they’d move to NACS, that’s also not a Toyota specific issue.

The bZ4X is not really the issue here and it isn’t like that is the only EV Toyota is ever going to make. An EV iQ is of limited use to most of the American public and it won’t matter how good it is if nobody is going to buy it. And when we’re talking about best use of batteries, Toyota is maybe the last manufacturer we should be talking about given their hybrid push to transition toward electrification rather than skipping straight to EVs like so many others.

Last edited 3 months ago by GreatFallsGreen
Needles Balloon
Needles Balloon
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

A BEV iQ would not have enough space to have a big enough battery for US tastes. For example, the new Fiat 500e has a 42kWh battery that gets 200mi on the optimistic WTLP cycle, and that car is at least 20% bigger. The more comparable 2018 Smart EV has a 17.6kWh battery (which is just bigger than a 14.4kWh Ford Escape PHEV) and gets 58mi of EPA range.

Even with newer technology, an iQ EV would likely only get 100mi of range, which is definitely good enough for an around town city car, but not good enough for the general public to rationalize, especially since potential buyers likely won’t have the ability to charge at home. Level 3 charging would be too expensive and not worth it for such a small battery (smaller batteries charge at lower power levels), meaning it’d be stuck with 1-3 hour charging times on Level 2 chargers.

A hybrid iQ would be an interesting idea, but it’s still questionable if there’s enough space. The Toyota style hybrid transmission contains 2 electric motors and a very compact planetary gearset, which will likely add lateral width compared to a belt CVT. Additionally, you’d need to find space fit in a battery somewhere alongside the existing fuel tank, which sounds tough.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago

Honestly the battery doesn’t need to be large nor does it need to go far. The B4Z-LMNOP is for all intents and purposes a compliance car with a bigger budget. A BEV iQ would get that job done at minimal expense to Toyota.

People are still driving original Leafs with less than 30 miles of range. A cheap iQ BEV 100 miles of range would sell at least as well as the B4Z-LMNOP but it most certainly would be a city car only. I imagine a lot of pizza chains and such would buy them for local delivery vehicles.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
3 months ago

The real reason it’s underated: It’s secretly an Aston Martin.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
3 months ago

So mad that trans discrimination is a thing in 2023/4. Being Illinois, there has to be some kind of anti-discrimination statue those people violated, right? If it has any teeth is another issue.

Interesting to hear about this little nugget. It’s an interesting vehicle from a period when Americans kinda sorta gave a care about smaller vehicles.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
3 months ago

Ugh. That definitely bites.

Yes, you have the right to exist. So does my lesbian cousin and her wife. So do my current and former LGBTQ coworkers. We’re all people. Hoping I can be a better ally in 2024.

lastwraith
lastwraith
3 months ago

Pretty sure everything-discrimination is a thing now. Bigots are out in the open with political protection.
What really gets me is the discrimination against common sense. Politicians pretend to care about the issues of the masses but weaponize any little difference and then sit back and laugh. And they barely hide their contempt. We deserve better choices, even if a large portion of the country is gullible.

Last edited 3 months ago by lastwraith
Ophidia
Ophidia
3 months ago

I’m so sorry to hear about the discrimination you two faced for being trans. It breaks my heart. We have one trans child and we live in a state that’s steadily legislating away all of their rights (as well as all women’s rights). People can be so… evil.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
3 months ago
Reply to  Ophidia

It’s easier for people to be evil. Being a decent, good person takes effort for some folks. And that sucks. Blessings to you all, and best of luck in the fight for kindness and acceptance.

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