2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test - Interior

2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

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2014 BMW i3: Beauty Is on the Inside

by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on December 1, 2015

2014 BMW i3

The 2014 BMW i3 is not a good looking car. It just isn't. And yet for the better part of a year now, I've raved about how excellent the i3 meets the demands of an urban-bound, traffic-snarled driver. I could absolutely make the case for buying one, but could I live with those looks?

Absolutely. You see, its beauty is on the inside.

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2014 BMW i3: Complicated Car, Simple Controls

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on November 12, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Is it odd that the most sophisticated car in our long-term fleet has the most straightforward climate controls? That's not entirely the case with our 2014 BMW i3, but it's close.

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2014 BMW i3: Passenger Airbag Recall

by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on October 26, 2015

2014 BMW i3

BMW has issued a recall for front-passenger side airbags on 2014-'15 BMW i3s and 2014-'16 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models. Our luck: Our long-term 2014 BMW i3 is among the affected.

I made a call to BMW Customer Service and was immediately put on the line with a representative. After providing our car's VIN, the rep initially told me that nothing about a recall for our car showed in their system. She wanted to verify that however, and put me on hold while she contacted an i3 specialist.

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2014 BMW i3: There Should Be a Door Grab Here, Part II

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on October 14, 2015

2014 BMW i3

After reading Riswick's post about the poor door grab on our long-term BMW M235i, it reminded me of a similar problem on our 2014 BMW i3. It doesn't even have a handle, just an angle cove to use as a door grab.

As you can see, it's not exactly in an ideal location. When you swing open a car door, where do you naturally grab to pull it closed? Probably not somewhere on the front half of it.

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2014 BMW i3: Actual Room for Four People

August 24, 2015

2014 BMW i3

I've already noted that the 2014 BMW i3 is pretty good at transporting a pair of dogs. But what about people?

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2014 BMW i3: Haunted Glovebox

August 7, 2015

2014 BMW i3

The glovebox in our long-term 2014 BMW i3 keeps opening itself. There's only one explanation: It's full of ghosts. Ghosts desperate for freedom.

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2014 BMW i3: Sustainable Can Be Beautiful

July 30, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Car designers love to compare their creations to things outside the automotive world. "The instrument panel was inspired by high-end watches," is an oft-heard boast. "The cabin was influenced by high-end home furniture," is another. Usually they're stretching to make a point, but in the 2014 BMW i3 they actually have a point.

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2014 BMW i3: Sacrifices Seat Comfort for Weight Savings

July 23, 2015

2014 BMW i3

As you can see, the seats in our 2014 BMW i3 aren't exactly plush-looking. They're purposely thin to save space and weight, and they aren't power-adjustable for the same reasons.

The result is a thoroughly average driver's seat. Not bad, but not great. Comfortable enough during an average commute that you don't really notice it. Anything longer and you start wishing for a little more support and a few more contours.

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2014 BMW i3: Does It Need a Start Button?

July 1, 2015

2014 BMW i3

The interior of our 2014 BMW i3 is refreshing. When you hop in, you can see the work of an automaker aggressively trying new ideas and taking new approaches to design. Take the gear selector. It looks like a stubby "D" in profile and feels like some kind of throttle stick in use.

But why is there a start/stop button?

The Tesla Model S doesn't have one, and it works great. After you hop in, you simply put the car in gear and drive off. I'm reminded of this every time I hop in the i3 to go somewhere. Can we ditch it, BMW?

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2014 BMW i3: Lovely Owner's Manual Case

June 18, 2015

2014 BMW i3

The 2014 BMW i3 has a lovely case (cover? satchel?) for its owner's manual. It's a wooly grey material accented with a cool shade of light blue and a strip of tan leather that matches the Cassia Natural Leather found in the i3's Giga World trim level. Tres chic, no?

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2014 BMW i3: Dog-Friendliness Rating

May 25, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Erin Riches has noted that the rear-hinged rear doors in the 2014 BMW i3 make loading a kid into her rear-facing seat a less-than-ideal experience. But what about when you're loading dependents that don't require a seat large and substantial enough for NASA to deem it excessive for missions to space?

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2014 BMW i3: Man Wrestles Floor Mat, Loses

May 7, 2015

2014 BMW i3

I was washing our 2014 BMW i3 last weekend. Easy stuff, right? Things were going fine until it came time to vacuum the floors up front.

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2014 BMW i3: An Extra-Large Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat Fits, But Rear-Hinged Doors Not Ideal

May 5, 2015

2014 BMW i3

A couple of months ago, I installed my daughter's compact convertible car seat in our 2014 BMW i3. It fit wonderfully, preserved useful legroom for the front passenger in front of it and heightened my enthusiasm for commuting around southern California in the i3. That car seat is not especially cushy however, so when I had to run some errands this week, I installed my primary car seat, the oversized (and discontinued) First Years True Fit C680 SI.

It fit, but not without compromise.

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2014 BMW i3: Climate Control Lacks Power

May 1, 2015

2014 BMW i3

It's already summer in Southern California's San Gabriel Valley  and I needed genuine cabin cooling when I drove our 2014 BMW i3 this week.

Ordinarily, I'm not very particular about air-conditioning systems in cars. I rarely set the automatic ones any cooler than 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and I usually have the manual systems on the lowest fan setting. I rarely use any Max A/C mode. I'm a naturalized Californian and I don't like to be cold.

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2014 BMW i3: Rubber-Wrapped Wagon Wheels

April 20, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Our 2014 BMW i3, has some crazy tires: 155/60 up front, 175/55 at the rear. That's a throwback to OG Beetle-skinny, but now wrapped around 20-inch wheels. Think of them like a modern wagon wheel or a big, fat BMX tire.

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2014 BMW i3: Doesn't Remember

April 9, 2015

2014 BMW i3

I like a lot of things about our 2014 BMW i3, but the car?s short-term memory is not one of them.

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2014 BMW i3: Excellent Center Console Display/Rearview Camera

March 20, 2015

2014 BMW i3

The center display screen in our long-term 2014 BMW i3 is one of the best I've ever seen. The resolution is crisp, the screen is barely affected by sunlight and the rearview camera provides an impressive amount of detail.

This first photo shows the rearview camera display (in broad daylight of course) along-side the parking sensors so it's not the harshest test of the i3's abilities, but it works well in several other scenarios too.

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2014 BMW i3: Stepping Up; Way Up!

March 18, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Admittedly, it's a first-world problem, but the unique carbon-fiber construction of the 2014 BMW i3 gives it a tall step-in height that tripped me up more than once while I was using our long-term model recently.

The height of the door sills doesn't require one to do a standing high jump to gain entry, but at 18.6 inches from the ground in front, 19.6 inches for the rear entry, they do require a stretch.

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2014 BMW i3: Here's a Rear-Facing Car Seat That Really Fits Well

March 9, 2015

2014 BMW i3

As we've written in our full road test and in our "A" rating on the 2014 BMW i3, this electric hatchback has more interior space than you imagine when you first walk up to it. The headroom is striking when you're in the driver seat. Yet, there's a surprising amount of legroom as well, and that's what really matters when you're installing rear-facing convertible car seats.

Because convertible car seats vary so much in shape and dimensions, you have to keep auditioning them until you find one that's a good match for your vehicle's backseat and your child. In this instance, I found that my second-string convertible car seat, a Safety 1st Guide 65, fit exceptionally well in the back of our long-term BMW i3. Not only is it a good match for our extended-range EV's interior dimensions, it conforms well to the shape of the BMW's seat-bottom cushion.

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2014 BMW i3: Surprisingly, the Shifter Is Intuitive To Use

March 6, 2015

2014 BMW i3:

Sometimes I'm slow to learn new things. When I saw the column-mounted shifter in our long-term 2014 BMW i3, I was pretty sure I would get befuddled and make the wrong selection at some point.

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2014 BMW i3: Clamshell Doors/Entry and Egress

March 4, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Not everyone likes the styling on our 2014 BMW i3. Admittedly, it has a complicated profile and a snub-nosed face that only a mother could love, but I like that it's different. It stands out from the crowd. Sure there are disjointed folds, interrupted character lines and mismatched colors everywhere, but I'm still a fan.

Aside from the endless aesthetic debate we could have about this car though, one of the design elements adds a bit to functionality: the clamshell doors

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2014 BMW i3: Movable Cupholder

March 2, 2015

2014 BMW i3

At first glance, the 2014 BMW i3 has only one cupholder up front. Au contraire.

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2014 BMW i3: Awesome Steering Wheel

February 27, 2015

2014 BMW i3

Like so much of the 2014 BMW i3, the steering wheel is unusual. But also like so much of the i3, the steering wheel is awesome.

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2014 BMW i3: Open Floor and Center Console

February 26, 2015

2014 BMW i3

One of the reasons my mother loved her first- and third-generation Honda CR-V was the open floor space in between the front seats as well as the low and/or non-existent center console. There were two reasons. First, she appreciated the sense of openness. Second, she'd usually keep her purse in that open area, or it would at least make it easier for her to access her purse when it sat on the floor. It was with this in mind that I knew my mother would love the 2014 BMW i3.

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2014 BMW i3 Hatchback: Interior Materials

January 14, 2015

2014 BMW i3 Hatchback

If you like cars that are different you will probably like the new 2014 BMW i3. I fall into that category too, since I think designers need to strike out in new directions rather than refining the all-too-familiar cues that we hardly even notice anymore. With this in mind, I was eager to experience the unusual interior with its — buzz word alert — "sustainable" materials.

Here are a few impressions from my three-day road trip in this unusual vehicle.

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