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The Top Gear car review:Mitsubishi i-MiEV
For:Funky design, useful size for town, surprisingly spacious inside
Against:Poor refinement, excessive purchase price, feels insubstantial
What we say:
Neat urban runaround feels out of its depth outside the city. With cheaper, better rivals now on sale, the i-MiEV was one for the early adopters...
What is it?
One of the better known electric cars, largely through being one of the first to market. Not bad, but pricey, and now a little tired.
We are fans of the i for its design and packaging. The electric one compromises nothing on the space, but is more fun to drive. It’s nippy off the mark, as electric vehicles tend to be, and there’s a simple one-speed transmission.
As the added battery weight is so low down, it’s smoother-riding and more stable than the previous, petrol-powered ‘i’.
Those slim batteries are supposed to give a range approaching 100 miles, implying a 50-mile commute and recharging at home. Hmmm. It ran out for us at 50 miles total, mainly because it was a cold day, which batteries don’t like. So you’d have to trickle-charge at the office, or commute just 25 miles. Which is actually all most city-dwellers do. 0-62mph takes 13 seconds, too.
On the inside
This is a mixed bag for the Mitsubishi ‘i’. It’s got proper rear doors and a decent amount of space back there, but the boot is severely hampered by the presence of that engine.
Mitsubishi has stuck the ‘i’ together very nicely, as you’d expect. It’s not exactly cheap after all. The plastics are good, the fit and finish top notch, and you can be confident that it’s mechanically sound.
It costs nearly £29k to start with, which is ruddy expensive.