The 2015 Scion iQ holds the distinction of being the shortest car with four seats sold in the U.S. But that's pretty much a technicality, as one of those seats--the one behind the driver--isn't usable by an adult, and we doubt that the seat behind the passenger will ever be used for something larger than a backpack or laundry bag. So it's somewhat of a dubious distinction.
Scion calls the iQ a 3+1-seat car. The dashboard is heavily asymmetric, with the portion in front of the passenger pushed far toward the base of the windshield, opening up room for the passenger seat to slide forward and fit another adult behind in a car that's only 10 feet long. (The right front seat also tilts up for better access to the rear.) While our 6'6" editor couldn't quite fit into the rear, a portion of the adult demographic certainly will--if the front passenger cooperates by sliding forward.
Much of the iQ has been miniaturized in order to make the packaging work and to make the car light enough for its small engine. The seats have very thin backrests, the air-conditioning compressor and other climate-control hardware have been hidden within the center console, and the fuel tank is sandwiched below the floor.
Folding the rear seats flat--which we suspect many or most owners will do on a semi-permanent basis--exposes a low load floor and 16.7 cubic feet of volume for cargo. You'll have to remove the rear headrests to get the seats folded, but they stow tidily under the cushions. Put the seats back up, and there's a miniscule 3.5 cubic feet behind them. That's not even enough to fit a laptop in a backpack. Think more like a handful of hardcover books.
And although the seats are thin, they're every bit as good as those in other small Toyota products, like the Yaris and Prius. Ride quality is hardly luxury-car smooth, but it's not harsh, especially considering how short the wheelbase is. The iQ's continuously-variable transmission also eliminates the pitching and lurching of the Smart's automated manual gearbox. It also tracks well on highways, meaning it's not too fatiguing over long trips, though high-speed cruising brings a lot of noise from a little engine that's trying to keep up. Scion has used acoustic glass in the windshield to reduce noise, though, and insulation is fitted under the dash and in the roof pillars as well.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel has audio controls, and its bottom is flat to increase driver leg room--though it doesn't telescope for adjustment. We were pleased to find automatic up/down switches on both door windows, a luxury-car touch that few other small cars offer. Pivoting dome lights like those on commercial passenger jets offer good cabin illumination, and there's a 12-Volt power outlet. Only its dark nylon seat material lets down the iQ's upscale image.