In March, when Toyota unveiled a concept version of the 2011 Scion iQ at the New York Auto Show, it said only that it was studying the idea of bringing the "micro-subcompact car" into the US.
Now it looks like the iQ will arrive by September or October of 2010. That's a few months earlier than the previously-expected early 2011 date--and the confirmation that it's coming is new too.
The Scion iQ is likely to be fitted with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a 5-speed gearbox. In Europe, it's also offered with a smaller 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine and a small diesel.
Unlike the 2009 Smart ForTwo, which it slightly resembles, the Scion iQ has four seats. One is only large enough for a child, but the iQ will hold three adults in a package that's less than 10 feet long.
Toyota spent a great deal of time engineering components for the iQ to take up minimal space. The engine, heating and air conditioning units, and steering gear are all significantly more compact than those in larger vehicles.
Inside, the Scion iQ's seats are extremely slim, the dashboard further from the front-seat passenger, and a very flat fuel tank is built into the floor rather than sitting under the rear seats.
Toyota hasn't stinted on safety, though. The Scion iQ includes nine airbags, including the first one ever fitted across a rear window (to protect rear-seat passengers' heads).
The iQ, by the way, may also serve as the basis for a very low production, very expensive Aston Martin model called the Cygnet.
It's all about reducing the marque's average carbon emissions, but the Cygnet (it means baby swan) will carry the traditional luxurious leather and wood interior on top of standard mechanicals.
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