As far as electric cars go, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a bargain. Its take-home price is just under $23,000, and that's before the thousands of dollars in government tax incentives factored in. But you do get what you pay for: The i-MiEV may undercut its rivals on price, but it falls woefully short in terms of performance, range, charge times and amenities.
The egg-shaped i-MiEV is based on a Japanese-market city car called the Mitsubishi i; like its gas-powered counterpart, the i-MiEV bundles its powertrain near the rear-drive axle, freeing up a surprising amount of headroom for both front and rear passengers. Unfortunately, legroom is in short supply for tall drivers; the seats simply don't slide back far enough. Cargo space is also lacking, at just 13.2 cubic feet. The cheap cabin trim, simple instrumentation and flat seats belie the i-MiEV's bargain price.
The i-MiEV is powered by a 49-kilowatt (66 hp/145 lb-ft) electric motor fed by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. In Edmunds testing, the i-MiEV needed 14.7 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph, an excruciatingly long time by any standard; for comparison, the electric Fiat 500e needs just 8.2 seconds. Acceleration feels fine around town, but reaching highway speeds is a strain and the i-MiEV tops out at just 81 mph. With its bouncy ride and excessive noise at highway speed — not to mention the deleterious effect high speeds have on battery range — highway driving in the i-MiEV just isn't that pleasant.
Thanks to its light weight, the i-MiEV is one of the most efficient EVs on the market. The EPA rates it at 112 mpg equivalent combined (121 city/102 highway — mpg equivalent stands for "miles per gallon equivalent," a measure of efficiency for electrified cars). Unfortunately, the small battery means the i-MiEV's 59-mile EPA-rated range is among the shortest in the business. Most EVs offer closer to 100 miles, and Chevy's new Bolt offers 238 miles. With its short range, you'd expect quick charging, but the i-MiEV uses a 3.3-kW onboard charger (as opposed to the 6.6-kW units found in most electric cars) that requires seven to eight hours to charge using a Level 2 EV charger, twice as long as most other EVs. A full charge using a 120-volt household outlet requires the better part of 22 hours. That said, the i-MiEV does come standard with Level 3 DC fast-charging capability, which will charge the battery from zero to 80 percent in less than half an hour. Fast chargers are not as common as Level 2 chargers, but the i-MiEV uses the same CHAdeMO fast charger as the more popular Nissan Leaf, which helps with availability.
Mitsubishi offers the i-MiEV as a single model, the four-door ES; some electronic nice-to-haves are offered as either stand-alone options or as part of a bundle. What's the best way to configure yours? Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV for you.
Is the 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 i-MiEV featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Review What do you want an electric car to do? Better question--what do you want YOUR electric car to do? Zip around and make you look cool? There's a Tesla for that. Practical wagon / hatchback that you can use for slightly longer range trips? VW e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, or Kia Soul EV. Small, practical, extremely economical run-around car for errands with the kids and groceries that's also pretty fun to drive? This Mitsubishi i MiEV, Spark EV, and Fiat 500e. For a cost-effective answer in this last category, I don't think you can beat the i MiEV, depending on the price you can pick one up for. A few weeks ago, we bought a '16 after trying and crunching numbers on several of the other cars listed above. Was it the best? Depends. Was it the most acceleration and range and best handling? Clearly not. Was it the most economical EV option we could find? Definitely. We got ours for what we think was a screaming deal (especially including the up-to-$7500 tax credit: check your own tax situation before you assume a $7500 rebate on the price of the car...) and it fits precisely what we need / want it for. We have an amazing charging network around us and, yes, we wish our iMiEV would go farther and charge faster, but we weren't even considering roughly double the net price (after the tax rebate) for things that for us are pretty marginal considerations. I'm risk tolerant and have already pushed the limits of range and proximity to a charging network when I've traveled solo (without family). If you're using this to bop around town or for a reasonable-length daily commute as a second "utility" family car, I simply don't think you can beat the economics of the i MiEV it if you get it at the right price. Charing overnight at home via the included charger isn't elegant, but it works fine and this car isn't really about elegant. The included CHAdeMO fast charger is a boon for the unlikely / rare occasions when you'll want to go beyond its range (for me, driving it back home from the dealer many times farther away than the car's range--adventure!). For what *we* need it for, the reduced range affects us not at all. Although it's pretty darn fun to drive, it's not a Tesla roadster or even anything that imitates a sportscar. It's not meant for a cross-country road trip (though as I've mentioned, I've already dabbled a little in that) as it's pretty obviously only a second car unless you live in an urban area and don't intend to venture far from it with the iMiEV. If it's about $/kWh and the associated $/electrical mile traveled (including cost of vehicle...), this would seem to win hands down. If you want a sporty car that makes heads turn and goes 200+ miles on a charge, get a Tesla...or wait and pay whatever they're going to fetch for the upcoming 200-ish mile range cars (range ~= battery capacity ~= cost...), but that's the tradeoff--it's unlikely there's going to be a free lunch (i.e. a 200-mile range car priced similarly to a current 80-mile range car). The i MiEV is shockingly cheap to own and operate (again, depending on the net price you pay). Pun intended. $xx,xxx cost - up to $7,500 in federal tax credit - possibly $y,yyyy in state tax rebate = $z,zzz. What, really? A new EV car for a net of $z,zzz? I'll take one, please...
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What options are available on the 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV?
Available Mitsubishi i-MiEV 2017 Submodel Types: Hatchback
Available Trims: ES, SE
Exterior Colors: Cool Silver Metallic, Diamond White Pearl, Labrador Black