KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 1/6/2014
Mitsubishi figured the fastest way to bring an electric car to market was to take an existing micro-car platform, add an electric powertrain, and then meet all U.S. safety and emissions requirements needed to bring the car here. That's the theory behind the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but unfortunately for Mitsubishi, other manufactures have come up with a far better plan. On its surface, the i-MiEV looks like the perfect commuter car, easy to park in small spaces and requiring only an electric charge to send it on its way. But, the i-MiEV is rather crude, both in its technology and interior features. Its biggest plus is the low price, which may be enough to sway those looking for a second car purely for in-town errands.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a low-priced electric car, the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a contender. Though not as polished as the Ford Focus or Nissan Leaf electric cars, the i-MiEV is doable if limited to urban runs in warm-weather climates.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need to go further than 62 miles a day, but you still want to be green, a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius plug-in makes a better choice. Those looking for a comfortable all-electric vehicle would be better served by the Ford Focus or Nissan Leaf.
What's New for 2014
Mitsubishi drops the 2014 i-MiEV price nearly $6,100, making it one of the most affordable electric cars on the market. New standard features include heated driver's and passenger seat, a "CHAdeMO" DC quick-charge port, heated side mirrors, rear speakers, a leather-covered steering wheel and shift knob, fog lights, and aluminum-alloy wheels.
We give Mitsubishi credit for giving the 2014 i-MiEV responsive steering feel and a very maneuverable platform. However, when it comes to smoothing out road imperfections, the i-MiEV's suspension appears to be MIA. Power delivery is smooth and strong at first, but once in motion the i-MiEV takes its time getting to 60 mph. For this reason, we don't recommend prolonged freeway driving. To achieve the 62-mile cruise range, you'll need to go light on the throttle, and you also won't want to run the in-cabin heater for fear of draining off precious electrons. 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.
With a starting price nearly $6,000 less than the Nissan Leaf, the i-MiEV's one saving grace is its affordability. Factor in the government's $7,500 tax credit and California's $2,500 electric-vehicle incentive credit, and you could conceivably drive away with a brand-new electric car for around $13,000.
The i-MiEV design may not be beautiful, but it is efficient. The tall profile, big windows and hatchback design maximize space, as does the clever compact electric motor and a battery pack placed underneath the rear seat.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…