I've previously complained about Chinese companies making knockoffs of western-designed vehicles and basically stealing intellectual property. (For more on that, click here).
Now, it's Toyota's turn! The Toyota IQ concept that it revealed in Frankfurt not only appears to bear a more than coincidental similarity to the Smart city car, but even the car's NAME ITSELF - IQ - seems to want to imply intelligence (Get it? Smart - IQ...?)
However, other than the unoriginal name and basic shape (and the shape is actually more pleasing to the eyes than the Smart's, in my humble opinion), it's actually a pretty interesting little city car. It seems to have been better-received than the Volkswagen Up! concept, which is intended to fill a similar niche and debuted in concept form around th same time.
The Toyota IQ was designed in France by Toyota's Advanced European Design Studio, and is just a short 2.98 meters in length. For some perspective, it's 770 mm (0.77 meters) shorter than a Yaris, yet according to the press release, has a similarly-sized interior. The seating configuration is advertised as "3+1," meaning that other than the two front seats, there is one adult-sized seat behind the front passenger and one child-sized seat behind the driver, which can also be folded to increase luggage space. The dashboard is designed to sweep away from the front passenger so that when only two people are in the car, the passenger seat can be roughly aligned with the driver's seat, but when a passenger needs to ride in the back seat, the front passenger seat can be moved forward of the driver, still leaving adequate space for both passengers. Toyota calls it the smallest four seat passenger concept car.
Again, the concept is a fine one - it's arguably a more attractive car than the Smart ForTwo, plus it has more seats (as the Smart is only designed "for two" passengers), but couldn't Toyota come up with a more original shape and a better name? What's next - the Honda Intelligent? The Nissan Clever?