Scion iQ
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Scion’s tiny iQ has plenty of neat features, but the increasing number of rival products don’t require the same level of sacrifice.

The iQ’s itty-bitty 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine makes 94 horsepower; city fuel economy is good at 36 mpg, which is the iQ’s “smart” suit.

Although it might be a small niche in North America, the need to fit in the tiniest parking spots and wind through narrow streets is the iQ’s greatest asset. It’s barely 10 feet long (roughly a foot longer than a smart fortwo) and has space, but not necessarily room, for four people. The person sitting directly behind the driver will have to be sufficiently flexible of to sit cross-legged for extended periods. That’s because this so-called “micro subcompact” offers a unique seating arrangement, with the driver’s chair positioned a few inches aft of the front passenger seat. This allows for reasonable legroom available behind the shotgun position, but barely any behind the driver. For all practical purposes, the iQ is a three-person proposition, but it still handily beats the Smart. With three people aboard, there’s a mere mail slot’s worth of storage space that’s accessible through the hatch opening. With the back seat folded, stashing a couple of sets of golf clubs or full-size suitcases would not be out of the question. Yes, it’s small, but there’s nothing minimal about the 11 airbags strategically located about the cabin, including the first-ever rear-window airbag plus driver and front-passenger knee and seat-cushion airbags. Keeping the iQ on the go is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 94 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque. Considering the car’s modest 2,100-pound curb weight, it’s likely all that’s needed for most urban driving scenarios. The $16,300 iQ arrives in a well-equipped state, which means it costs a bit more than some larger competitors such as the Nissan Versa Note. Standard gear includes air conditioning, keyless remote entry, power windows and outside mirrors and a leather-wrapped adjustable steering wheel with audio controls. Also standard is a 6.1-inch touch-screen display audio system that’s rolling out through the Scion line this season. Options include a navigation system, 16-inch alloy wheels, extra body plastic and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) lowering springs and front sway bar.