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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Overview
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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The recipe for the 2012 Mitsubishi i goes something like this: Take one award-winning small car sold in Europe and Asia, and add an electric powertrain to the mix. Sell 10,000 units. Take everything you've learned from the experience, make a few modifications to meet U.S. safety requirements, and then bring your zero-emissions electric vehicle (EV) to American shores. Sound appetizing so far? We think so. With a compelling rear-wheel 5-door hatch-bubble that seats four, emits zero emissions, is rated at 126 highway/99 city mpg equivalent (MPGe) and costs less than any other EV on the market, Mitsubishi could have something very sweet on their hands.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interested in owning an electric vehicle, but find them to be a bit out of your price range? The 2012 Mitsubishi i is the most affordable EV on the market, starting for nearly $8,000 less than the Nissan Leaf.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Is your commute unpredictable? Want to be a 1-vehicle household? If you answered yes to either of these questions, the 2012 Mitsubishi i hatchback's approximately 62-mile range might not work from you. Options like the Toyota Prius, the Chevy Volt or a gasoline-powered high-mileage car such as the Mini Cooper or the Hyundai Elantra might be a better fit for your lifestyle.

What's Significant About This Car?

On sale in select states in 2012 and nationwide in 2013, the 2012 Mitsubishi i is the most fuel-efficient mass-production vehicle money can buy for under $30k. Make that closer to $21,500 if you qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Driving the i-MiEV

Driving Impressions With light steering and compact dimensions, the 2012 Mitsubishi i is easy to maneuver in and out of congested city traffic. And with smooth and immediate power delivery - thanks...

to the vehicle's single-speed fixed reduction gear transmission and electric motor delivering 145 lb-ft of torque between 0-300 rpm - it's actually fun to drive. We just wouldn't recommend too many freeway trips if saving battery power is a concern, since frequent mashing of the throttle seriously diminishes the car's 62-mile range. To help curb a lead foot and put some regenerative energy back into the car's battery, the transmission can be put into "Eco" and "B" modes, respectively. We found the "B" mode to be especially helpful when descending hills, where the extra energy we generated with the brakes gave us a little extra juice around town.
Favorite Features

Pricing
We're still a long way from seeing electric cars from manufacturers that everyone can afford. Until that happens, it's nice to see an EV that fits into Average Joe's budget and not just the guy who buys one as a weekend novelty driver.

Space-efficient design
Sure, this little-bitty Mitsubishi hatchback slightly smaller than a Mini Cooper. But with a taller profile and a plenty of windows to let light in, the i feels more spacious inside.

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Details
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV photo Interior

The inside of the 2012 Mitsubishi i isn't all electric-car flash with informational screens to show energy flow or how efficiently the car is being driven. Instead, the i looks more like a conventional gasoline-powered car. It uses a regular key, has a regular-looking gas gauge indicating how much "fuel" you have left in your theoretical tank and a regular-looking gear selector. The cabin climate is adjusted through regular-looking knobs on the center stack. If someone didn't know the Mitsu i hatchback was an electric vehicle, sitting inside one wouldn't convince them otherwise. The only features that might draw some attention are the flip-down cupholders located beneath two air vents on the dash. Although practical, they're sized more for drinks befitting a trip across the city rather than road trip-worthy Big Gulps.

Exterior
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV photo

There's no denying that the 2012 Mitsubishi i has a unique look. With its engine positioned in the rear of the vehicle, this small electro-runner has no need for a long hood. As a result, it sports compact front and rear dimensions and a high roofline - giving it a somewhat jelly-bean-like silhouette. Large windows serve to further cartoonize the i hatchback's distinct dimensions, but they also give the driver a good view of the road - always welcome when darting in and out of city traffic (and avoiding bicycle messengers).

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A 2012 Mitsubishi i ES comes equipped with niceties like a driver's seat heater (a more energy-efficient way to get warm), a 50/50 split folding rear seat that reclines, a 100-watt, 4-speaker audio system, auxiliary 12-volt DC power outlet and power windows, mirrors and locks. The more upscale SE model features a 2-tone black/brown interior with silver accents, a 360-watt, 8-speaker, premium sound system, auto on/off headlights, fog lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Optional Equipment

Both the Mitsubishi i ES and SE hatchbacks can be equipped with a battery warming system and heated side mirrors. They can also be had with a quick-charging port for public charging stations (known as a "Level 3" charger - good for an 80% charge in about a half hour), navigation and the Mitsubishi Fuse infotainment system, which includes a USB port, Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The standard 120-volt plug-in charge takes almost a full day, so we recommend getting the 240-volt "Level 2" charging station, which can be purchased through Best Buy's Geek Squad and installed in your home garage for faster charging (about 7.0 hours).

Under the Hood

The electric heart of the 2012 Mitsubishi i isn't under the hood - it's behind the rear seat. Comprised of an electric motor, a fixed reduction gear transmission and a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery (with an 8-year, 100,000-mile limited warranty), this powertrain delivers 66 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque to the Mitsu's rear wheels. It can go up to 80 mph, so short freeway jaunts are very doable, provided you have enough charge in the battery. On a regular 120-volt home outlet, a full charge for the i will take 22.5 hours. On a 240-volt outlet, about seven hours. A public quick-charging station - which aren't a common sight just yet outside of major cities - will charge the battery to 80% in a matter of 30 minutes.

AC synchronous permanent magnetic motor
16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
66 horsepower @ 3,000-6,000 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 0-300 rpm
Projected per-charge range: 62 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent (MPGe): 126/99

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 7 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    10.0/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

This is a great car!

By on Sunday, March 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive and no gas"

Cons: "limited range and depreciation"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The iMiev is a great car that I truly enjoy driving daily. As i maneuver in and out of traffic, find the most incredible parking spaces and smile back at the looks and questions I get about the iMiev. Electric cars are the way to go and Mitsubishi has done a great job on building this one."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car - unless the outside temp is below 20F

By on Saturday, March 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Peppy motor, low cost to operate, roomy inside"

Cons: "No audio input jack, heater could be better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have had my iMiEV for almost a year and it is a fun and economical car to drive. The electric utility company gave me a separate meter with lower rates at night. My bill runs between $15 and $20 per month! But we have had a unusually cold winter and my feet have gotten cold even with the heater blasting. In the morning the car is in a semi warm garage and I can preheat the car. But when I leave work and the temp is only 12 degrees, my feet are "frozen" by the time I get home."

More than I expected!

By on Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Ok, I've only owned the peanut for a short period of time, but this is my thoughts on the EV. My wife and I drove it through a storm to get it home, around DC & Baltimore. It handled great, was quiet, visibility was excellent, seats were comfy for the 169 mile drive. We stopped 3 times to charge it, just to be on the safe side. Each charge was done at a Nissan dealer and all cost us nothing out of our wallets, zero, nada, 0. It's a courtesy that is provided at all dealers that have the charging stations, which is most Mitsubishi, Nissan, etc. Fuel costs at home are $2.51 for each 100 miles traveled. Since we drive it mainly for work, running errands/groceries, we no longer are concerned about running out of battery power. We charge it overnight with a regular GFI receptacle, designated just for the car, on a 15amp breaker, about once a week. If we plug it in before midnight, it normally has a full charge the next morning. Something of importance, at least for me, I have a hearing problem and with most cars my ears pick up road noise and everything else, but my wife's voice, but not in this car. It's so quiet! Driving it in "D" will give you more speed than you'll get out of most small cars, with a top speed of over 80 mph, ours will never see that. I'm 6' 5" tall and I have tons of head and leg room. I remember my wife saying how much room she had in the back seat during the demo drive. We normally leave the back seats down and use it for our shopping, etc. We are considering another and we may just rent a vehicle for our out of town LONG drives, like so many others are doing. Gas savings will be about $9,800 every 5 years. Battery warranty is for 8 years or 100,000 miles, which ever comes first. If you have never driven an electric car, your really missing out on the future and how enjoyable these cars are. I hope this review helps those of you that are on the fence and considering these amazing cars. Have a wonderful day!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

100% satisfied!

By on Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very green, economical and great fun!"

Cons: "A convertible and/or pickup option would be nice."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"One car family. Works great teamed with solar photo-voltaic. Nice on highways too. Amazing turning radius."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

The technology is ready, we are not

By on Thursday, August 16, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "economy, smart hatchback design, zippy"

Cons: "no center arm rest"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have this car for a half year and it became the primary car in our family. Our kids, 3-year old twins love it, too. The car completely changed my way of thinking as owner and driver. Going to a gas station is now hassle to me. Range anxiety is non existent as I learned that I need to think just a little before going for a trip. If the expected distance is above 80 miles, I take our Jetta TDI, that simple. Very recently, I have taken my iMiEV for a long trip to test its range when driving up to 40 MPH w/o A/C. I was able to get 93.4 miles with 1 mile remaining. No need to reach for the hidden reserves. Cons: I miss the central arm rest. Also, the road and wind noise at high speeds is so strong, that it would be nice to have speed sensitive volume control on radio. The bottom line, no matter what your excuses are, the technology for EVs is already out there. My motto is: «I prefer to drive imported car on domestic fuel rather than domestic car on imported fuel.»"

18 people out of 20 found this review helpful

dream come true

By on Thursday, May 24, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "money saver"

Cons: "cup holders in front of vents"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"excellent car for what it is for. i'm pushing car to limit and have had no problems. getting used to distance can go learning how to get most out of charge is biggest change."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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