Last year, according to Autobloggreen, just over 1,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars were sold in the U.S. This year so far, only 75 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs have been sold, making it one of the slowest-selling electric cars on the market today.
With the 2013 model year skipped completely however, sales of Mitsubishi’s 2014 i-MiEV are now officially under way. Cheaper than previous model years by more than $6,000, the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is now available from just $22,995 before incentives, making it the cheapest all-electric, highway capable car on the market today.
But it is worth it? Is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV a good buy — or should you look for something else instead? Here are some pros and cons you’ll need to consider before deciding for yourself.
At $15,495 after Federal tax credits, the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is about the most affordable way you can get a brand-new electric car.
Unlike previous years where important features like heated front seats and CHAdeMO DC quick charge port were optional extras, this year’s i-MiEV comes with front heated seats, revised interior with leather steering wheel, heated side mirrors, DC quick charge port and battery heater as standard.
With just a 16 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack on board, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV can’t travel as far as some of its rivals on a full charge — at least on paper, that is. Official EPA range figures for the i-MiEV point to an achievable 65 miles of range per charge, but like other EVs on the market we feel the EPA estimates should be taken with a degree of scepticism.
We’ve heard real-world ranges from i-MiEV drivers extending anywhere from 50 miles per charge to more than 90, reinforcing that your range may — and will — vary depending on your personal driving style.
That said, we think it’s fair to say that the i-MiEV isn’t meant to be a long-distance car. Sure, you can use the growing number of CHAdeMO quick charge stations found in many major U.S. metropolitan areas to refill the i-MiEV’s battery pack from empty to 80 per cent full in under 30 minutes, but you’ll be making more frequent stops to do so than say, a Nissan LEAF or BMW i3 owner.
If you’re sick and tired of large cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the perfect antidote. Cute and bubble-shaped, it is surprisingly roomy inside thanks to its simple yet functional interior.
You’ll find room for four adults, although it works best as a two-seater with room for kids in the back.
The flip side of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV’s small size is its cargo carrying capabilities. With the rear seats down, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV swallows an astonishing amount of luggage — and we’ve even heard of a Farmer using one as a way to transport animal feed and straw cheaply around his farm.
But try to take four passengers, and you’ll find there’s not much space left for luggage.
With its simple design and astonishingly robust build quality, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the perfect vehicle for getting jobs done without fuss or bother — provided you’re within about 40 miles of home.
Easy to clean and with very few nooks and crannies — unlike cars like the Chevrolet Volt — the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is well suited to family life, with or without kids.
While some folks will love the i-MiEV’s quirky design and Japanese charms, it’s the kind of car design you’ll either love or hate. And we’re sad to say that while we like it, most people don’t.
If you want a car that blends in to the world around it, you’re better off with something like the Fiat 500e or Ford Focus EV — but if you like a car that’s unique and fun, the i-MiEV could be for you.
Our own Michael Thwaite has a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and he’s told us that with 10,000 miles on the clock there’s very little sign of wear and tear — and there are no unusual squeaks or rattles.
Used as generic family transport, Michael says that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the perfect Millennial’s car. It’s easy to drive, cheap to run, and a cinch to park thanks to its tiny dimensions.
If you’re looking for a cheap, easy entry into the electric car market and don’t mind the space limitations of the i-MiEV’s tiny design or the lack of the more sophisticated telematics systems found on some of its rivals, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV could be the car for you.
And what’s more, you can now buy it for about the same price as a comparably-sized. gasoline hatchback.
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