iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

toyota iq 01 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

What would it take for you to give up the spacious luxury of your Suburban, Expedition or Escalade? Nothing? Even if the word “compact” fills you with horror, bear with me a second. Let’s just say you were ready to take the plunge into downsizing for clean air’s sake. You might want to check out the iQ microcar.

Created in Toyota’s advanced European design studio, the iQ was first previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. Designed with their Vibrant Clarity philosophy in mind, Toyota managed to create a petite but viable alternative to the CO2-emitting vehicles we’ve been told are as good as it gets.

0 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

Yes, it’s tiny. In fact, as the world’s smallest 4-passenger concept car, the iQ is only 2.98m long, yet comparable to the Toyota Yaris in its height and width. But don’t let its compact frame make you nervous. The iQ’s 17-inch tires are a stable compliment to its daring proportions, leaving it with clean angles and definition. Its 1.0L gas engine will have start-stop capability, and its asymmetrical dashboard allows the passenger seat to be pulled forward so even adults can sit comfortably in the back.

And there’s my favorite feature — the upright, “head-up” GPS display within the driver’s line of sight that goes transparent when turned off.

toyota iq 002 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

toyota iq 008 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

Production is scheduled to begin later this year, and the iQ could be available in Europe as early as 2009. Alas, no word yet on availability in the U.S.

So, despite its size and rather angry look (it could be mistaken for cartoon villan), the iQ has enough positives going for it to allow us to minimize our footprint while maintaining our normally fast-paced, full lives.

toyota iq 003 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

toyota iq 004 iQ microcar | Small Car Big Concept

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