Previously available in small numbers to select fleet customers, the 2012 i is finally available to retail customers. Initial deliveries will begin on the east and west coasts by spring of 2012, but the i won't roll into showrooms nationwide until the beginning of 2013...more
Mitsubishi has seen the future, and it's green. Instead of pursuing development of the sports cars and SUVs long associated with the brand, the company is pursuing a portfolio of small, efficient--and sometimes electric--automobiles. Case in point? The new electric i, which finally arrives stateside for the 2012 model year. Although bumpers, headlamps, and other small details are unique to the U.S.-spec car, the i's dimensions and specs largely mirror those of its Japanese sibling. The egg-shaped EV is undeniably small, although its cabin offers a surprising amount of room for four. SE models toss in amenities like a two-tone interior, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and argent interior trim. Apart from the eerie lack of engine noise, the i drives like most other, larger subcompact hatchbacks, despite its physical dimensions. Predictably, the i's nimble steering and slight frame are boons in urban gridlock; cruising at highway speeds produces more wind noise, a somewhat nervous ride quality, and a decrease in total range. On that note, Mitsubishi says the i's lithium-ion battery pack provides 85 miles of travel on a single charge. With a 120-volt charging cord, a full charge should take twenty-two hours; upgrade to an optional 240-volt charger, and that time drops to six hours. ES models add a connector for level 3 quick charging (an 80-percent charge takes only thirty minutes), but few such stations are installed nationwide. Competitors may offer more range and more space, but the i is still an affable little EV.
Trim levels: ES, SE
Body style: Coupe, 4-passenger
Engine: AC motor, 66 hp, 145 lb-ft; lithium-ion battery, 16kWh, 330-volt
Transmission: Single fixed reduction gear
Passenger volume: 85.0 cu ft
Cargo space: 13.0 cu ft
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; stability and traction control; and tire-pressure monitoring are standard, as is a system that warns pedestrians of the vehicle's movement.
EPA Fuel Economy
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