Smaller, slower and sleeker: is the Toyota iRoad the future of city living?

on japan toyota iRoad_00001122
on japan toyota iRoad_00001122

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Story highlights

  • The Toyota iRoad is a three-wheeled electric vehicle
  • It was unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show in 2014.

Tokyo (CNN)The Toyota iRoad is like something from the future.

It isn't a car. It isn't a motorbike. This three-wheeled, two-seater -- driver and passenger sit in tandem -- is being billed as an electric-powered "personal mobility vehicle", and it reimagines how city dwellers could get around their urban environments.
With a 37-mile range, it's the perfect run around, able to squeeze into tiny parking slots and weave through traffic, while reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
CNN's Tokyo-based international correspondent Will Ripley took the iRoad for a spin. Here, he gives us the low-down on the five coolest things about the iRoad, first seen at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show.

1. It's bite sized

The i-Road is tiny. Three feet wide and 7 feet long, it's basically the size of a motorbike, but boasts the safety of a car.
At least two i-Roads can fit comfortably in a standard parking space. In a city like Tokyo with narrow, crowded streets, this small size gives you flexibility. It's also easy to park.

2. The support system

One of the coolest things about the i-Road is what Toyota calls "active lean suspension". When you turn the steering wheel, the i-Road leans like a motorcycle or like a skier.
It's a weird feeling at first, but really fun once you get used to it.

3. Safety awareness

The i-Road has built-in safety software that controls how deep it leans, based on your speed.
If you're going too fast around a bend, the steering wheel vibrates to warn you to slow down and avoid tipping over. When you hit the brakes, i-Road goes upright.

4. Charging power

The Toyota iRoad at a charging station.
The 600 pound (272 kilogram) i-Road is an electric vehicle that you can plug-in to power up. It takes about 3 hours to charge and can go about 30 miles per hour (mph), with a top speed of 37 mph.
It's great for buzzing around the city, although you wouldn't want to venture too far away from your charging station, or you could end up stuck.

5. It's a head turner

One of the best things about driving the i-Road is seeing people react when it's zipping down the street. Some reviewers say it looks like a jellybean, others less flatteringly compare it to a reject from the movie "Tron".
I think it's futuristic and fun. I usually walk around Tokyo to do my errands but the i-Road would make me get behind the wheel.