Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion brand enters the increasingly dynamic minicar segment with the introduction today of the ’11 iQ at the New York auto show.

With a length of 120.1 ins. (304 cm), it is shorter than the Mini Cooper by 25 ins. (64.8 cm), but 14 ins. (35.8 cm) longer than the Smart ForTwo.

The iQ, which arrives on U.S. dealer lots early in 2011, will make the minicar segment “the choice for new urbanites who want clever transportation without a sacrifice in style or new features,” says Scion Vice President Jack Hollis.

Toyota does not hint at pricing. Depending on the sticker, the iQ would be either a Small Specialty Car or Lower Small Car, according to Ward’s segmentation.

Combined, these segments account for 10 nameplates. But that number could more than double by 2016, as auto makers target cost- and style-conscious urban consumers with vehicles such as the Fiat 500, which launches in fourth quarter.

Powered by a 90-hp 1.3L 4-cyl. engine, the iQ seats four with a unique “3+1” configuration. Its front seats are slightly offset, enabling an adult to sit behind the front-seat passenger while “a child, small package or pet” can sit behind the driver, Scion says in a statement.

Its continuously variable transmission is expected to help the car earn a fuel-economy rating of nearly 40 mpg (5.9 km/100 km).

The iQ’s standard equipment list also will feature 10 airbags, including a rear-window side-curtain airbag Toyota calls “a world first.”

Joining the iQ on Scion’s New York show stand is a redesigned tC.

“The all-new tC features styling that is both refined and aggressive, appealing to a sports coupe owner who wants to make a bold statement,” Hollis says, adding the car attracts the youngest median-age buyer of any vehicle in the U.S. market.

The second-generation sports coupe arrives this fall.