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Getting To Know My iQ

4 August 2009  

I’ve spent the last week nipping about town in my new little iQ and this is my first report.

When I picked up the car at Toyota, I had to sit through an engineering/tech spec talk.  You know in school when you did those aptitude tests?  The ones about colours, words and numbers I always scored really high. But the one about the folded out boxes that are meant to check your spatial awareness?  Let’s just say that I would still be in the hall right now trying to work out the answers!  So the thought of enduring a talk on it was a little off-putting.

But I’m so glad I did it.  Understanding some of the unique features about the iQ has enabled me to talk about the car with interested people.  And boy – does everyone want to talk about it!  Even non-car people like my mum came over all “petrol pump queen” on me.  So being able to tell people that the way the heating/air conditioning system for the iQ was designed is so great, that Toyota are going to roll it out across all future models of car in future – is a good thing.  Or to demonstrate how the under leg air bags would work in the event of a crash is comforting; they would push your legs up which would have the effect of pushing you down in the car seat and enabling the seat belt to hold you in more.

Other features I’m liking a lot but which I’m told are standard in all new cars are:

  • Bluetooth – my phone hooks up with the car and whenever there’s a call, the music on the stereo lowers down and I can choose to accept or reject the call.  It also tells me when there’s a text.
  • Heated seats – I will get great value out of them come winter, but yesterday they came in handy to dry my jeans which were wet after a walk on Brittas in which waves came quite close!
  • Stereo – the speakers in my own car are blown so when you put the volume above 15, audio gets a little shaky.  Not so in the iQ which also comes with a jack for your ipod.
  • Smooth – I feel like I’m cruising up high, rather than rumbling down low as in my old car.  [My fiance misses the ball caressing vibrations that come with the MX!]

Things I’ve noticed driving:

  • I don’t get so many looks as I do in my MX5.
  • The car is much shorter in front and back, but yet the same width, so it’s rather like driving a square.  Took me a day or two to get used to this new scale.
  • There’s no such thing as a 3 point turn in an iQ.  Because the car is so short, you can about turn in the middle of the road in one.  I used to live in Australia, a country that is very fond of its ‘U-eys’.  I developed a dependency on U’eys as a way of  navigating, so doing it in one go is sweet.
  • iQ is easy to get a park.  And I do believe that iQ drivers should only have to pay half price for car spaces – because we only use half a space!  My MX5 is half a car – but it’s halved across the top, making it low to the ground.  The iQ is also half a car, but it’s halved vertically with bits gone in front and back.  Here’s a photo taking on a rainy night last week beside Trinity:

Things I’m not liking:

  • The car stereo is controlled by a button the driving wheel.  I like the fact that the driver is the only one who gets to control the sounds (!), but I’ve noticed my hand will flick off the button while driving and will change the channel on the radio accidentally.  Maybe I just need to get used to this and maybe I need to programme the stereo better…
  • I’ve had one go at tuning in the stations on the radio but it’s darned difficult!  At the moment, I’m enduring the presets of Q102 and 98FM which are very un-me.  I will not be beaten by a car stereo, more time will be devoted to this task this week.
  • Overtaking going fast on a motorway… I didn’t feel like I had as much power as I do in my automatic MX5.  When I want to overtake in my MX5, I floor it and go.  Yesterday on the N11, I found I was willing myself to go faster to overtake a fairly fast moving car.  I know that this might be me and getting used to driving a stick again.  I will know more next week after I take the car out of the city, we’ll see how she fares then.
  • Because it’s all space conscious, there’s only a small round space in the middle of the two front seats for dumping odds and ends.  In my old car, this is a long rectangle shape and I use it to keep all the kit a girl needs when driving her car: nail file, spare lip gloss and lipstick, tissues, etc.  They all have to live in the driver’s door which makes them not as accessible.

Overall though I’m liking the iQ.

It’s not as good-looking as my MX5, but is not as bone rattling or noisy either.  It just doesn’t have the same smile as the MX.  If we were to liken the two cars to girls I went to school with, the MX is the good looking popular girl with the long shiny hair and the perfect smile; but when you spend an afternoon hanging out with her, you find she’s a little disappointing. Not so disappointing that you wouldn’t go to her house after school some other day. But the enjoyment of hanging with her is more to do with being seen and the boys she’d attract.

The iQ on the other hand, is one of the quieter girls at school.  Not so pretty, in fact her face looks like she got a punch in it and it stuck… but once you spend a little time with her, you find she’s got a quick witted mind, has depth and ideas that the other girls don’t know about.  You would enjoy going to her house after school.

First petrol report: €29.90 to fill the tank.

I’ve done about 200 km so far.

Here’s how the others are getting on:

Rob Cumiskey is planning a trip to Dingle in it this weekend

Keith Bohanna has a video showing his parking skills

Christine Duggan who I can only find on Twitter – you got a blog I can link to Christine?

Let's get started


  1. I was looking forward to reading this. I am learning to drive at the moment so I have become a bit car obsessed!! I will be inheriting a 1997 Punto (at least it’s free!)so I like reading about your shiney new car.
    Loved the bit about the girls in school…just wattch out for the schoolyard bullies in their giant SUVs!

  2. @Ruth Oh good luck to you as you learn to drive! Thanks for the comment. Hey would you recommend your driving instructor? I’m on the lookout for a good instructor that comes with recommendations for my other half who is also soon going to be learning to drive.

  3. Yeah sure thing…I tried ISM but it just wasn’t for me (I need to know why/how things do what they do and ISM are more about the ‘just drive here, turn here’ teaching). I did 5 lessons with ISM and they never really discussed observation or anything so I didn’t feel that I really knew what I was doing.

    I went to Ladybird school 0857279575 and after 2 lessons during which I was a mess(I had a crash…in my boyfriend’s mother’s car…which seriously affected my confidence!) they sent a guy called John to teach me. He is amazing and specialises in nervous drivers

    If your OH is confident about learning then the ISM might be grand for him as they are pretty good. Boards.ie has a really good forum about learning to drive and there are recommendations for driving instructors there too.

  4. this is a warning to everyone who is either taking or thinking about taking driving lessons in Ireland.Please ask for the full name of your instructor and then go to the road safety authority web site to check that this person is an approved instructor.If they are not on the list then they are teaching you illegally.I saw ladybird driving school mentioned.i took lessons from this school and I made a horrifying discovery re my so called instructor.His name was Jeff yaafe and when I called the R.S.A. I was given horrifying news.Please check it out for yourself.

  5. I was online looking for info about ladybird driving school. There’s no website but after reading some of the comments I’d like to add my two cent. I’ve just had the most bizarre experience with the driving instructor. From the beginning I found him quite disorganised and forgetful and a little disconcerting. He text me to cancel a lesson over a week ago with little notice on the day.

    I text the next day to see if the lesson arranged for that evening had also been cancelled, and got no message back. I rang the number and it went to voicemail. A week went by and I was fairly miffed so I rang him and left a perfectly reasonable message wondering what what was going on and that nobody had called me to reschedule (I’d paid upfront so I wasn’t impressed with this lack of communication)

    I immediately got a text asking me to confirm the lessons I had yet to receive. When I tried ringing the number, again it rang out to voicemail. So I returned the text. And the next message I got was to say there were no drivers available that week, the balance of my lessons would be refunded and how would I like the money sent? Hopefully I’ll get it back though I expect I’ll have to chase it.

    I have no idea what happened – I mentioned nothing about a refund in my voicemail. I definitely won’t be dealing with ladybird again. Part of me believes the driving instructor decided to end the deal because he didn’t like my tone on the phone. Perhaps that’s a bit presumptuous, but I did find him a bit strange.

  6. I also took lessons with Ladybird and had John as my instructor. I found him to be extreemely. unprofessional, haggling over money, talking non-stop about everything other than the lesson in hand. On one occassion, he kept taking and sending texts to a “colleague” he said he needed to contact and was worried about. In the end, the class ended early for him to attend to this, I learned from him on the next and last lesson, that he had over-reacted. I honestly don’t know what this was all about, however in my experience, this “School of Motoring” should not be touched with a barge pole.

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