Jeremy Clarkson - Toyota iQ

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    As a long-distance car, it’s about as much use as a horse, but as a station car or an urban runaround, especially if your children have no legs, it’s good.

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    Jeremy Clarkson
    The Sunday Times
    March 8, 2009

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    For the past month, I’ve been on the Top Gear Live world tour so the only driving I’ve done is in a Lamborghini, indoors and sideways. The lights in the arena would go down, a voice of God would announce my name, I’d floor the throttle, kick the tail out, arrive on stage in a flurry of tyre squeal and fireworks and shout: “Hello, Sydney.” Which was a bit embarrassing if I was in Auckland.

    There would then follow an hour and a half of more tyre squeal, explosions and shouting. AA Gill described it as all the headaches he’d ever had in one go — and he had to go through the process only once. We were doing it four times a day, which meant as night fell I was too exhausted and broken to operate anything more complicated than a bottle opener. Which is why I’d be taken back to the hotel by a driver.

    This sounds very Elton Johnish but there is one big problem with using chauffeurs. Almost none of them can drive a car.

    Let us first of all examine the case of the chap I used in Hong Kong. We’ll call him Albert, because that’s his name. Albert had a Porsche Cayenne and what he liked to do was test every one of the speeds it would go. We’d start off with 37 and then we’d do 105, 21, 16, 84, 9, 0, 163, 41 and so on until he’d established that they were all working properly.

    Then he’d start testing the braking distances: 47 to 41, 50 to 5, 16 to 15 and, once, a terrifying 170 to 3. The range of possibilities was enormous and all of them were very bad, especially as Albert had the spectacularly annoying habit of impersonating the engine noise as we lurched along.

    Cornering, however, was his speciality. He would make the noise of the tyres screeching as he turned each bend into a series of straight lines interspersed with a series of violent jerks. He was a lovely man. Which is why I felt so guilty, sitting alongside him, imagining what he might look like with a pencil jammed into his throat.

    Elsewhere in the world the drivers were far better but each one of them had roadcraft habits every bit as irritating as hawking up phlegm. They’d follow the car in front too closely, sit too near the wheel, brake for no reason on the motorway, steer too vigorously, dawdle or, worst of all, pretend they knew where they were going when plainly they didn’t.

    Naturally, each would claim he was an above average driver — we all do, despite the statistical impossibility of it being the case — and it’s probably true. They probably were better than most. But the fact is that everyone has their own driving style and it’s never quite as good as your own.

    For instance. When the lights on a dual carriageway are red and you have a choice of lanes in which to stop, I would never pull up behind a Peugeot. This is because anyone with a Peugeot knows nothing about cars or they’d have bought something else. And because they know nothing about cars, they will know nothing about driving. Which means they’ll be sitting there in neutral with the handbrake on, and that means they won’t move off smartly — or even at all — when the lights go green. I have a rule at the lights. Always pull up behind the Beemer.

    But other drivers don’t do this. What’s more, they fiddle with the radio, changing stations whenever they are presented with a song they don’t like. Why? Tunes are never more than three minutes long and I can just about handle CeCe Peniston for that long. Leave it. LEAVE IT. But no. Chchch, goes the tuner . . . “In parliament today” . . . chchch . . . “nothing but a dreamer” . . . chchchshshsh . . . “on the day that you were born” . . . chchch . . . “Jade Goody” . . . and then, “Aaaaaaaaarghgurgle,” as I jam a ballpoint into his epiglottis.

    Worse, some drivers think an urban one-way street actually means you can travel on it in only one direction. Rubbish. If nothing is coming, then it’s idiotic to drive for miles just to satisfy some residents’ committee’s overinflated sense of self-importance.

    There is a similar problem with speed limits. Of course they are a good idea. Absolutely. Definitely. But when it’s one in the morning, a driver who puts his licence ahead of your need to get home as quickly as possible is just annoying.

    Seriously, being driven by anyone — even Jackie Stewart — is as horrendous as having someone else make love to your wife. “No. No. No. Not like that, you idiot. You have to be more delicate. What in God’s name are you doing now, man? You can’t park it there . . .”

    The worst thing about having a driver, though, is the sense of guilt. If you ask him to pick you up at midnight, you should — if you have a heart — feel duty-bound to leave at the appointed hour. Which is a damn nuisance if at 11.45 you meet Miss Iceland, who announces at 11.55 she’s forgotten to put on any pants.

    In short, it doesn’t matter how tired I am or how convenient it might be to have someone run me home; I always prefer to drive myself.

    Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly fraught with difficulties. Quite apart from the sheer expense, you have the speed cameras, the problems with parking, the sleeping policemen and the wide-awake ones in their vans. Then, in every major city, there are communists who believe what they hear about the environment and call you a murderer.

    I genuinely believe that soon there will be a sea change in our attitude to car ownership. That soon the number of families who own one will start to fall dramatically and that the few who do continue to plunge along in the wake of Mr Toad will drive and dream about machinery that’s far removed from the Ferraris and Range Rovers of today.

    And so, the Toyota iQ. First, the good things. It is 2½in shorter than the original Mini, but because the differential is mounted in front of the engine the cabin is big enough for four seats.

    Then there’s the business with carbon dioxide. The three-cylinder 1-litre petrol engine produces just 99 somethings of CO2 and as a result it falls into the tax-free category; unheard of in a car that runs on unleaded. More important, it should do 70mpg if driven carefully.

    Better than all of this, though, is the way it looks. In white, with the tinted windows, it’s like a Stormtrooper’s helmet. I liked that. And I loved the enormous array of equipment too. It’s hard to think of a single toy fitted to my Mercedes that isn’t in the little iQ.

    Now for the bad things. Yes, there may be space in the back for two seats. But very few people are small enough to actually sit on them. The boot is pitiful as well.

    Then there’s the price. The entry-level model costs a whopping £9,495. Add an automatic gearbox and the price shoots up by another thousand. And finally there is the performance. Or rather there isn’t. To keep those emissions down, the oomph has had to be abandoned, so that it takes a dreary 14sec to get from 0 to 60. Quite why it needs traction control I have no idea. And why you would ever need the button that turns it off is even more baffling.

    So, some swings and some roundabouts. As a long-distance car, obviously, it’s about as much use as a horse, but as a station car or an urban runaround, especially if your children have no legs, it’s good. I prefer the cheaper Fiat 500 because I prefer the looks, but, of course, that’ll be less reliable. Either way, these cars are the future. Small. Cheap to run. Good-looking. And surprisingly well kitted out with toys. They really do make Mondeos and Volvos and so on look awfully wasteful and unnecessary.

    It’s a brave new world and we have to get used to it. A thousand cc is the new black. No g in the corners is the future, and that’s that. I suppose it isn’t the end of the world. Certainly, I’d rather drive an iQ than be driven by Albert in his Cayenne.

    I should make it plain that none of the observations about drivers in this column refers to Paul Grant, who is brilliant

    THE CLARKSOMETER - [​IMG]

    Clarkson’s Verdict - I’ve seen the future. And it’s small

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  2. forgotmyname

    forgotmyname Active Member

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    Looks like a new version of the Fiat 500, the one that James reviewed.
     
  3. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    Quite why it needs traction control I have no idea.
    :rofl:
     
  4. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Yeti is watching you post

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    [​IMG]

    If I were looking at little faggy small cars, I would much rather have this
     
  5. OFI

    OFI New Member

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    :greddy:

    I think you mean this:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. OFI

    OFI New Member

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    :werd: :rofl:

    :rofl:

    Ice/snow :hsugh:

    But yes it never needed it in the first place.
     

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