2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Switching Gears
April 12, 2012
What you see here is our i MiEV'sgear selector. Nothing too far out of place here, but its operation could be better. Then there's that Eco mode.
I'll start with the actual selecting of gears. The shifter clunks from position to position with a decent, positive engagement, and that's a good thing in my book. My problem arises when I'm trying to transition from drive to reverse. Without looking at the gates as you're moving between gears, it feels as though you're just blindly bumping into obstructions. And you're never quite sure you've found the right gate.
There is a gear indicator in the instrument panel, but it's rather small. So unless I become very familiar with this car (let's say if I keep it for a week) it'll take longer for me to execute multiple-point turns.
Then there's Eco Mode. Drop the i MiEV into drive and it's not like it's a fun little rocketship; the way our Mini E was. No, it drives more like a personal transportation pod. Select Eco mode and it feels as though you're driving through a foot-and-a-half of semi-solidified Jell-O. Sure, I've driven other cars with Eco modes and they generally relax throttle response the way you'd expect. In the I MiEV, it truly feels as though something is pushing against you from outside.
In heavy traffic, it's certainly not that big of a deal. You get used to other drivers swerving into the gap in front of you. After a while, you come to expect it. Off topic: I will never get used to typing "i MiEV." In Microsoft Word, the "i" automatically gets switched to uppercase and the mix of upper and lowercase in "MiEV" makes me feel like I'm trying to spell Sarah Jessica Parker's name in L.A. Story (SanDeE).
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 644 miles