Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review | Ultimate Guide

i-MiEV Review and Guide

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Changes

In North America, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV went on sale in 2012. It was the first model year of the 4 model years that were in production between 2012 and 2017. Before we dive any further, lets find out what changes the i-MiEV went through.

  • 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (All new, available in GS and SE Trims.)
  • 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (Now standard features are: front heated seats, CHAdeMO DC Quick Charger Port, Battery Warming System, Heated Mirrors, Rear Door Speakers, Leather Steering Wheel and Shift Knob, Daytime Running Lights and Front Fog Lamps. Also when new, the car's base model price dropped by $6,130.)
  • 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (7" MMCS Navigation System now optional.)
  • 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (No significant changes.)

Buying a Mitsubishi i-MiEV

FUN FACT: MiEV means “Mitsubishi intelligent Electric Vehicle

If you wanted to buy the i-MiEV back when it was NEW, most would say it wasn’t worth it. *Unless all tax incentives were accounted for.
 
Looking at the car now, it’s a different story. While there isn’t hundreds on the used market, there’s at least a few dozen for sale at any given time. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has experienced one of the biggest price reductions an electric car could have.
 
By buying one at 1/3 the price, you are saving a LOT more money compared to NEW.
 
With its very limited range, you might want to think twice about driving it back home. While most i-MiEV’s have the CHAdeMO charging option, current infrastructure isn’t capable of making low range EV’s charge every 40-50 miles.
 
This goes for every “short range” EV at the moment.
 
If you weren’t aware of the massive devaluation compared to brand new, I outlined the price difference between each model year (NEW vs USED).
 

New Bolt EV Prices:

2012: $29,975

2014: $22,995

2016: $22,995

2017: $22,995

Used Bolt EV Prices:​

2012: $4,500-$7,500

2014: $5,500-$8,000

2016: $7,000-$9,500

2017: $9,000-$11,000

 

i-MiEV ES Trim

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Specs

  • Years in Production: 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017
  • Battery Capacity: 16.0kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Top Speed: 80 mph
  • 0-60 mpg: 13.0 seconds
  • Horsepower: 60 
  • Torque (ft-lbs): 145 
  • Electric Range: 62 miles (EPA)
  • Level 1 Charging Times: 2012-2017 (12-13 hrs)
  • Level 2 Charging Times: 2012-2017 (6-7 hrs)
  • Fast Charging Type: CHAdeMO (80% in 30 minutes)

Why the Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

Today more than ever before, there’s more choices for affordable low range EV’s. From the Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, and the Nissan Leaf, all costing $20-$40K brand new can now be had for less than $10K.
 
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has not shared the same success as some of those mentioned. Probably due to its odd shape, its STILL is a GREAT low price electric vehicle.
 
Much like the small electric cars like the Smart, 500e and Spark, the i-MiEV is only 144.7″ inches in length. To give you some perspective, its almost 2′ feet shorter than the Volkswagen eGolf.
 
As you’d expect, getting this car around traffic and parking is very easy.
 
The ugly duckling has grown on many people who bought it. Where at first the impressions were poor, they started to love the vehicle as time passed.
 
Being small and lightweight means agility, peppiness, and overtaking traffic with ease. While it won’t snap your neck into the head rest, you can sure feel a surge of acceleration as you lay your foot down. Although on its best day, it would have a hard time breaking 0-60mph in under 13 seconds.
 
Performance isn’t why you’d buy this car in the first place. Its one of the BEST secondary vehicles you can buy.
 
To know ALL the reasons why you should get one, read below as I lay them out one by one!
things to like about the iMiEV

Things to LIKE about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV

By now I’ve already mentioned a few good things about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. I may repeat them again below, but there’s more to it than a cheap price and small size.
 
Here’s the list outlined below of things to LIKE:
 
  1. If you like small vehicles, you’ll love the i-MiEV. As I mentioned earlier about it being shorter than a Volkswagen eGolf, its super easy to parallel park and squeeze through tight roads
  2. There are very few electric cars on the market that are rear-wheel drive. That’s right. The i-MiEV is one of them, surprisingly. While it won’t drift a corners like a Corvette, its still more tail-happy than its FWD competition.
  3. Since its mostly a commuter and running errands type of car, there’s an easy to access rear hatch. When you open the hatch, you’ll see a small amount of storage space. By putting the back seats down, the space will TRIPLE.
  4. Did I mention how affordable these are to buy nowadays? You can buy an early model i-MiEV for less than $5,000 in some cases. Most have less than 50K miles on them anyway, and if something breaks, its cheap to replace.
  5. For such a small car, it can seat up to 4 people (which includes the driver). For a car that is small than a Spark EV and an eGolf, that’s not too bad! *although if the rear passengers are anything above average in weight and height, comfort goes out the window.
  6. Aside for the Smart Fortwo EV, the i-MiEV has one of the shortest ranges of any EV. 62 miles is usually never enough to justify having a fast charging option. Aside for the Outlander PHEV, the i-MiEV is the second car to ever to have a fast charging hook-up.
 
things NOT to like about the iMiEV

Things NOT TO LIKE about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Due to the cars lack of popularity, there’s a few negatives worth mentioning. The i-MiEV may be a great car, but its far from perfect. Below I’ve outlined the biggest pitfalls of this car:

 

  1. This has to be the biggest pitfall for the Mitsubishi. The car looks like a street legal golf cart, with looks that will impress almost nobody.
  2. EV range is on the low end. In real world driving, it won’t be likely that you’ll get 62 miles. In winter it will likely get 10%-30% less.
  3. Its a small car. The front driver and passenger seats are fine for most people, but the back seats aren’t the best. Anyone who is above average in hight and weight would have some discomfort.
  4. For the price, you get what you pay for. To make this car affordable, Mitsubishi had to cut costs in places where it made sense. There are luxury touches like the leather wrapped steering wheel and 7″ MMCS navigation system, everything else is plastic.
  5. The 16.0kW battery pack charges at slower rate with choices of 8 to 12 amps. More so with level 2 than with level 1. Using a 220 volt system, you’ll be looking at a mere 2.6kW.
 
*The only saving grace is the CHAdeMO fast charging capability which gives 80% in 30 minutes.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV's Closest Competitors

Today, there’s at least a dozen EV’s that can compete with the i-MiEV in terms of price, and specifications. The top 4 EV’s below are its closest competitors. 

2014-2016 Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV Compared

While a rare and hidden gem, the Spark EV shares a lot in common with the i-MiEV. See below for specs:

  • Battery Capacity: 19.0-21.0kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 82 miles
  • Charge Times: 20 hrs @ 110-120v and 7 hrs @ 220-240v and 0.50 hrs @ 440v
  • Used Values: $7,000-$10,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD
  • Fast Charging: Yes (CCS)

2012-2015 Smart Fortwo EV

2013-2016 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

While this may be a 2-seater EV, there’s a LOT in common with the i-MiEV than meets the eye. See specs below:

  • Battery Capacity: 17.6kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 58 miles
  • Charge Times: 13 hrs @ 110-120v and 6 hrs @ 220-240v
  • Used Values: $5,000-$9,000
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Fast Charging: No

2012-2016 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

For all intensive purposes a compliance car, the Focus Electric competes directly in terms of price. Here’s some specs:

  • Battery Capacity: 23.0kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 74 miles
  • Charge Times: 20-33 hrs @ 110-120v and 3.5 hrs @ 220-240v
  • Used Values: $7,000-$10,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD
  • Fast Charging: No

2011-2015 Nissan Leaf

Untitled design (23)

The 1st gen Leaf is one of the cheapest EV’s you can buy (just like the i-MiEV). See how the specs stack-up:

  • Battery Capacity: 24.0kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 84 miles
  • Charge Times: 30 hrs @ 110-120v and 6.0 hrs @ 220-240v and 0.50 hrs @ 440v
  • Used Values: $6,000-$10,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD
  • Fast Charging: Yes (CHAdeMO)

Conclusion

And there you have it, a complete guide for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Are you still on the fence about buying one?
 
If you are, I don’t blame you. The first thing most people say is “its so dang ugly!”. You’d be right, looks are one of those important characteristics that can be a deal breaker.
 
If you can muster the looks, you are looking at one of the BEST value electric cars on the market today.
 
Don’t forget, it gets up to 70 miles of range, is RWD, can fast charge, and often costs less than $7,000 USD. While its not a great primary car, its a great secondary one. If your round trip is less than 30 miles in each direction, the i-MiEV is perfect!
 

AvtoWow is proud to give Mitsubishi i-MiEV the “Seal of Approval”

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