Toyota iRoad Concept

Andrew English:

“So that’s why everyone comes back with a smile on their face,” said the Toyota translator as she pulled up in the i-Road tilting-trike concept after begging a short drive.

If you thought the appearance of this space-age tandem two seater was pretty wacky when it first appeared at the Geneva Motor Show last March, let me tell you, the driving experience is equally out of this world.

It’s also more fun than it has a right to be, our translator completely nailed it. No one climbs out of i-Road without a silly grin on their visog, although rear passengers tend to have a slightly horrified look. As for chief engineer Akihiro Yanaka’s idea of selling the idea of swooping around town in one of these to pensioners, well it would have to be a super granny who put her shopping basket into an i-Road.
Designed in house by Koji Fujita with its tilting battery-electric driveline engineered by a team under Yanaka, the i-Road is an urban runabout concept.

The motor industry has a long history of both three wheels going back to the earliest Morgan trikes and tilting bodies going back to the Thirties and more recently with a series of Mercedes-Benz concepts the 1997 Lifejet and 2002 Carving and BMW’s tilting tricycle eco concepts. As with the 1970s Advanced Passenger Train or more recent Pendolino trains, tilting a car’s body allows it to cope with more horizontal force so you can corner faster and more safely.