Twin Test: Ultra-compact city cars

  • We pit popular city cars against each other
  • Both well suited for urban living
  • Read on to find out which will come out on top

It’s the battle of the ultra-compact city cars with the Smart ForTwo taking on Toyota’s IQ. Which is best for zipping through grid-locked streets, can park in the smallest of spaces and is kind to the shallowest of pockets? Read on to find out which is the king of the urban jungle.

Toyota IQ VVT-i 2 (2009-2014) vs Smart Fortwo Passion mhd Auto (07-14)


IQ: There’s a larger engine available but the 68bhp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder is the best bet. It won’t light up the tyres in the pursuit of a fast 0-60mph time, taking 13.6 seconds, but it performs well in first and second gear. A low centre of gravity gives it the superb agility you need in a congested city centre.

Fortwo: Smart offers three power outputs for its Fortwo and we’ve picked the fizzy 71bhp version as it’s cheap to run too. The automatic gearbox is standard and has been tuned for a bit more smoothness between shifts. Handling wise the Smart is no go-kart but it nips in and out of traffic with ease.


IQ: As the IQ boasts a pair of rear seats, standard boot space is a very small 32 litres, but you can carry up to three adults in total or fi t two young kiddies in the back. With the rear seats down boot space increases to 242 litres. Where the IQ really shines is its size, because it means it has a seven-metre turning circle to make three-point turns a thing of the past.

Fortwo: There are only two seats and you’ll be sat in one of them, so if you need to transport a lot of people or things, look elsewhere. That said, there is plenty of space for your passenger and a 220-litre boot is not to be sniffed at. At just 2.7 metres you will find yourself, on more than one occasion, slotting into a parking space where a normal car couldn’t possibly fi t.


IQ: With prices between £3,995 for a 2009 car in this trim and £6,675 for a 2014 model, there’s bound to be an IQ to fi t your budget. An efficient engine and a subtonne vehicle make for a promised economy of 64mpg too. Car tax is free and insurance should be minimal as the IQ is in group 4.

Fortwo: A Smart Fortwo in this spec can be had for as little as £3,905 for a car from 2009 and £6,805 for a 2014 model. It also claims a tiny thirst of just 65mpg thanks to its updated engine and it can be taxed for the grand total of zilch per year. What’s more, insurance group 3 suggests tiny bills for owners too.



Toyota IQ

Smart Fortwo Coupe


998cc 3-cylinder petrol

999cc 3-cylinder petrol

Fuel capacity

32 litres

33 litres

Road tax

Band A – £0 p/a

Band A – £0 p/a




Insurance group




13.6 seconds

13.3 seconds

Boot space

32 litres

220 litres




CO2 emissions



The Winner – Smart Fortwo Coupe

If you need a car to zip around a city or for a short commute to a train station then the Smart is the more focused and uncompromising choice, but if you need occasional use of back seats (and a bigger boot when they’re collapsed) the IQ does start to make more sense. If you regularly drive and park in a crowded city centre the Smart’s diminutive size is a major advantage. Yes, it’s less practical than the IQ, because it doesn’t have rear seats but it’s shorter and more usable, more of the time, so it gets a thumbs up from us.

Click here to read our full review of the Smart Fortwo Coupe

Click here to read our full review of the Toyota IQ