Used 2016 Mitsubishi i‑MiEV Hatchback
Mitsubishi i‑MiEV Hatchback
The 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has an alluring price and never needs gas, but it comes up short compared to rival plug-ins like the Nissan Leaf.
2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Pricing
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2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV KBB Expert Review
With a starting price under $24,000, the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the least-expensive electric car available. Because it is so small, this 4-passenger hatchback can slip into parking spots that even a compact car would have to forgo. But that's largely where the i-MiEV's positive attributes end. In most every other aspect, Mitsubishi's plug-in car is a letdown. Its cabin is crude, its ride is jittery at even moderate speeds, and we found its 62-mile range can drop alarmingly fast. On paper, Mitsubishi's plan to take an existing micro-car platform and bring it to the U.S. as an inexpensive electric vehicle seems logical, but in reality it has flopped. The i-MiEV's price is tempting, but you're better off spending a few thousand more for a Nissan Leaf.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want to spend the least amount of money on a new electric vehicle, have a very short commute that involves low speeds and routinely have to fight for a parking space, the i-MiEV might make sense. Even with all that, there are more recommendable EVs.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV's shortcomings are many. It's limited to 60-some miles, only seats four, has an austere interior with limited amenities, and can take over 20 hours to charge. Unfortunately, between its bubble shape and poor road manners, it feels more like a street-legal golf cart than a modern-day automobile.
What's New for 2016
After taking a year off, the poorly received i-MiEV returns for the 2016 model year much the same as it left us in 2014. The only significant news is that it's now available with a 7-inch navigation system/touch-screen display.
We give Mitsubishi credit for giving the i-MiEV responsive steering feel and a very maneuverable platform. But when it comes to smoothing out road imperfections, this electric car's suspension appears to be MIA. Like other plug-in vehicle's, power delivery is smooth and strong at first, but once in motion the i-MiEV takes its time getting to 60 mph. This, along with its jittery manners at speed, make Mitsubishi's electric vehicle ill-suited for prolonged freeway driving. We also saw its range meter plunge in unexpected ways. To achieve the 62-mile cruise range, you’ll need to go light on the throttle and limit use of the in-cabin heater for fear of draining 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 helpful when descending hills.
With a starting price around $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 under $14,000.
The i-MiEV design may not be beautiful, but it is surprisingly spacious. 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.
The i-MiEV's interior is about as plain as they come in a modern car. Even among economy-car standards, the cabin in Mitsubishi's electric vehicle is a tough sell. Woefully simple and filled with plastic, the dash is drab and feels cheap. The only way to spruce it up is by optioning up to the 7-inch touch-screen display. And where other electric vehicles have instrument clusters that innovatively display driving habits, range and the like, what's found directly ahead of the driver in the i-MiEV is utterly basic. The Mitsubishi only seats four passengers, further limiting practicality, but at least there's plenty of headroom. Behind the rear seats is a small hatch for cargo.
The 2016 i-MiEV has what can only be described as a unique look. Glass-half-full types cheer its cartoonish bubble profile, elongated headlights and nipped rear end as "cute." Cynics deride it as an overgrown golf cart. We'll let your eyes and heart decide which you see. On the non-subjective side, all i-MiEV electric cars have four doors and an upward-lifting rear hatch. At 144.7 inches, this Mitsubishi EV is shorter than a Mini Cooper Hardtop but longer than a Fiat 500.
Notable Standard Equipment
Available in just one trim (ES), the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV comes with heated front seats, a 6-speaker/100-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, keyless entry, folding rear seats and a 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat. Also standard is a Level 3 DC quick charge port for faster recharging.
Notable Optional Equipment
The main option for the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the new Navigation Package. It includes a 7-inch touch-screen display that relays 3D mapping, real-time traffic and points of interest. The system also has voice command, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a USB port, and steering wheel controls for audio and Bluetooth functions. Other add-ons are limited to accessories like a map light, rear parking sensors and a USB kit for iPods.
Under the Hood
The electric heart of the i-MiEV 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 electric hatchback's rear wheels. It can go up to 80 mph, so short freeway jaunts are doable, provided you have enough charge in the battery. On a regular 120-volt home outlet, a full charge for the i-MiEV takes nearly a day – 22 hours. On a 240-volt outlet, that time is cut to six hours. A public quick-charging station – not a common sight just yet outside of major cities – can charge the battery to 80 percent in about 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
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 126/99 mpge
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 62 miles
The 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $24,000. Adding the Navigation Package is $2,000 more. The $7,500 federal tax credit and state incentives like California's $2,500 credit can further reduce the Mitsubishi's cost. At its base price, the i-MiEV is roughly $6,000 less expensive than the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and over $10,000 below the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. But the fact is, all of these cars are far better choices than the rudimentary i-MiEV. And practical – albeit gasoline-powered – alternatives ranging from the Kia Soul to the Mazda3 also make better choices in under-$20,000 transportation. If you're truly set on an i-MiEV, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. As for resale, electric vehicles in general have not held their value well, and the i-MiEV is among the weakest.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Consumer Reviews
April 25, 2016
The reason owners love it and the media don't.
The i-MiEV takes more than a ten minute test, or even a day-long drive to understand. Once one's mind has mended and can plan a whole...
December 07, 2014
Extremely good car for it's purpose.
My IMIEV after 2 years, still the best car I ever had. My savings are simply ridiculous , considering that I can charge at work. I was...
March 30, 2014
This is a great car!
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...
March 01, 2014
Great car - unless the outside temp is below 20F
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...
August 07, 2013
More than I expected!
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...
October 02, 2012
One car family. Works great teamed with solar photo-voltaic. Nice on highways too. Amazing turning radius.
August 16, 2012
The technology is ready, we are not
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...
May 24, 2012
dream come true
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...
March 26, 2012
User control of regen makes the i more fun.
I've put 3500 miles on my i so far, and a few hundred on a Leaf, which rides like a Buick in comparison to the i, but the i is more...
January 04, 2017
An enjoyable and practical EV
Bought this car in July 2016, and we are still enjoying it 6 months later. It's nimble and quiet (except for wind noise at high speeds)....