The entertainment side of the iQ is all wrapped up in the same module as the sat-nav, and once again it’s a rather feature rich affair considering the size and cost of the car itself. This means that all the entertainment features are controlled through that great 6.5in touch-screen. The Mode button will list all the audio options at your disposal, of which there are many.
The most obvious source option is the built-in CD player, which will also playback MP3 and WMA files. This allows you to squeeze quite a decent size music library on each disc, and if you want to have multiple discs stacked full of music, you can specify the optional CD changer. The latter wasn’t installed in the test car, but to be honest there are better options available.
I was very happy to see a USB port to the right of the screen, which opens the door to a huge music library stored on a USB memory key. I’ve read in the Toyota iQ forums that some owners have had problems using USB keys above 2GB, but I encountered no such issues. I loaded up a 4GB USB key with multiple music folders and it had no problem reading and playing back the files. Again, the touch-screen interface makes navigating a USB music library quick and easy.
The Mode menu also lists an iPod option, but when I plugged an iPod into the USB port it wasn’t recognised. A bit more digging in the iQ Owner’s Club Forum revealed that iPod support requires an iPod Integration Kit, which carries a cost of around £150. Unfortunately the test car didn’t come equipped with this kit, but I can at least confirm that the connection is located next to the gear lever rather than being integrated into the head unit. This will make placement of your iPod far less precarious.
As already mentioned, there’s an SD card slot, which can be used to playback music, as long as you’re willing to sacrifice your satellite navigation. You also get an analogue auxiliary input for hooking up any kind of portable player you might have to hand. Of course the problem with using that Aux input is that you won’t be able to control your player via the in car system, and you’ll have a tough time finding somewhere to place your player – unless you have an unusually long cable.
The entertainment system also supports A2DP, so if you have a mobile phone or MP3 player with integrated Bluetooth you can stream music to the iQ. I tested this with a Samsung YP-P3 and it worked flawlessly – sound quality was surprisingly good, while I was also able to control the player remotely via the iQ’s controls.
Talking of controls, the iQ sports basic audio controls on the steering wheel in the form of a small joystick. Assuming you’re driving with your hands where they should be, this little joystick will fall under your left thumb, and I’ve got to say that it’s very easy to use. Admittedly you only get volume and track skipping functionality, but on the whole that’s all I ever need while I’m driving.
The final part of the entertainment equation is the radio, with both FM and AM tuners built in. There’s also an option for a DAB tuner, but again the test car wasn’t equipped with this, so I couldn’t test it. That said, I doubt I’d pay extra for DAB, since many in-car systems come with it as standard these days – although, to be fair, not on a car this price.
Sound quality is pretty good on the whole, but don’t expect thumping bass – the bias is definitely towards the mid and high range. But in most situations that’s not a problem, and I would hope that most iQ drivers wouldn’t be tempted to pump the volume too high, considering how small the cabin is!