2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV – A Bargain Basement Electric That’s Actually Fun To Drive

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 39

2014 i-MiEV Interior

2014 i-MiEV Interior

2014 i-MiEV

2014 i-MiEV Available Now

Here in the U.S., we rarely hear a peep in relation to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, so imagine our excitement when we came across this mostly glowing review of the 2014 i-MiEV (a car that is remarkably still hard to find on any Mitusbishi dealer lot…hard to sell them Mitsu if you don’t ship any):

“It’s almost hard to write a serious review of a car that looks as silly as the MiEV. With its bulbous cab and skinny tires, Mitsubishi’s tiny all-electric car appears to have escaped from a carnival ride. You expect it to come packed with clowns that tumble out when the doors open.”

“But make no mistake, the MiEV — which stands for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle — is a real car. In a week of testing, it did everything required in day-to-day driving, from commuting back and forth to work to running short errands. And it made many of the trips fun, too, thanks to its torquey electric motor, nimble suspension and microcar dimensions, which allows it to be parked practically anywhere.”

The reviewer over at the Portland Tribute states:

“But the big news for 2014 is the MiEV’s new low price. Mitsubishi has it by a whopping $6,130 since last year, dropping the purchase price to $22,995. The existing federal tax credit of $7,500 for all-electric vehicles brings that down to $15,495, making it the least expensive freeway-legal electric car in America. That’s about as much as Mitsubishi’s new Mirage, which is the cheapest conventional gas-powered car in the country.”

How easily we all seem to forget just how cheap the i-MiEV really is.

There are a few drawback you’ll have to deal with though if you chose the i-MiEV:

“The interior of the MiEV is spartan and made largely of cheap plastic. The seats are thin. And the body is composed of steel so thin it sounds like tin when the doors close.”

“In truth, the construction is not all that different than the wave of small foreign economy cars that arrived in America in the 1980s like the Geo Metro, Subaru Justy and Toyota Starlet. But the MiEV stands out compared to today’s much more sophisticated economy cars.”

However, unlike those cars of the past, the i-MiEV does meet all current U.S. safety standards

The reviewer closes with this statement:

“Electric cars aren’t for everyone and the MiEV will not appeal to all potential buyers. But if you’re willing to take the plunge, you’ll find the MiEV can be a practical and even entertaining alternative to gas-powered cars. The bulbous body design results in a surprising roomy interior. Although the suspension is unsophisticated, the steering its responsive, making it fun to drive around town. It’s a little jiggly but ultimately stable at freeway speeds, and the motor is powerful enough to make passing even large trucks safe.”

It’s not often that we find an i-MiEV review and even less often one that sheds a positive light on Mitsu’s first EV, but when you think of what the i-MiEV has to offer at its low price point, there’s really no competition out there.  The only other EV close in price, the Smart Fortwo ED, seats just two and is two doors shy of the i-MiEV.  Maybe it’s time all of us give the i-MiEV another shot?

Source: Portland Tribune

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39 responses to "2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV – A Bargain Basement Electric That’s Actually Fun To Drive"

  1. Mike says:

    Should be great for a second car.

    1. JoeS. says:

      Do your own math: count the number of trips that you make that are more than 70 miles one-way and compare that to the total number if individual trips you take. After 32,000 miles on our i-MiEV, it easily serves as our family’s PRIMARY vehicle, used for well over 90% of our trips (and we don’t even have CHAdeMO QC). Best-kept secret in the EV community if seating for four fits your lifestyle. We love our capacious little workhorse!

      1. Big Solar says:

        I use mine as a first and only car now (sold the MS). I put 29k on mine in 26 months and love it. I am having a new drivers seat put in though as its not a very comfortable seat.

      2. Cavaron says:

        Maybe Mike wanted to say “second ELECTRIC car”, with a Leaf or Tesla S as the first one. Makes perfect sense to me 😉

    2. mike says:

      Many new owners say this until they find themselves driving it more than their first car.

  2. It’s our “first” car. It comes standard with QC now, and have taken it camping in the “mountains” (no, not like the Rockies, or Sierra Madres, but, still) in Pennsylvania driving 200 miles one way – and it performed really well and is way roomier than you’d think. I’m 6’4″ and can sit up in the back, which I can’t do in a Leaf.

    1. Assaf says:

      Wow Dan,

      Did you write anywhere about that camping trip? If not, it will be a perfect post for this site.

      I know firsthand, that both editors and readers like those road-trip reports, and a MiEV road trip story will open up quite a few eyes, hearts and minds 🙂

      Thanks for sharing, Assaf

      1. Thought about that – it would definitely be fun to put that together and we got a bunch of pictures of my 8 year-old daughter using the CHAdeMO plug – it’s as big as her head!

  3. Lou says:

    I have enjoyed my almost 2 years of driving the “I”. It is fun to drive, quick and absolutely a lot roomier than one would think at first glance. However, you MUST have QC if you plan on driving this as your main car and have any trips that exceed 60 miles or so. In the winter, running the heater will really drain the battery and subsequent range, if you experience colder weather such as we had in the Northeast last winter. The again, all BEV’s suffer from this problem, some more than others. If Mitsu would upgrade the heater to something more like what Nissan has done with their hybrid heater, the car would be a a lot more practical. Even with that, the car has been a pleasure to drive most days and exceedingly cheap too. My next car, though: a Chevy Volt. I need the abilty to do more than the average daily range, as my ICE car is on its last legs and I cannot afford 2 car purchases at the same time.

    Lou

    1. Big Solar says:

      Its my only car and I only use 110 charging. 29k miles in 26 months!

      1. mike says:

        I also only charge at home with 110v. I wake up to a charged car. I put 21,000 miles on my first one in 11 months and traded it in on a 2014 to get the quick charge port. Love it!

    2. Carsten says:

      The 2014 model has a heat pump heater instead of the resistance heater. This should help with the mileage when heating.

      1. Big Solar says:

        no kidding, i didnt know that. I got a letter the other day from mitsu offering me 10K towards a new one. maybe I should go look….

      2. alohart says:

        According to 2014 i-MiEV owners, the heater has not been updated. Wording on the Mitsubishi Website suggest an update, but unfortunately the previous resistance heater remains. However, a diesel auxiliary heater that largely eliminates winter range reduction caused by heating can be installed.

    3. iwatson says:

      Hi Lou, I’ve actually spoken with you before on another forum. We actually went the other way. We got our Chevy Volt first, It’s my car and I use it for commuting to work and back, it’s also the car we use for any out of town trips. In July I talked my wife into buying a Mitsubishi i-miev as her errand car. She’s a housewife and all of her activities fit nicely within the i-miev’s range. She was reluctant at first to go EV but has taken to it like a duck to water. As for the i-miev we both love it. Headroom is much better than my Volt (almost SUV like), sits up tall making getting in and out easy, has plenty of room to haul groceries, and is the easiest car to park I’ve ever driven….It’s like ying and yang the Volt and the i-miev complement each other well offering different strengths suited for different tasks.

  4. Ryan says:

    This could be like what happened with the Prius. Dig up some pics of the first gen Prius. It’s not the car you remember. It was either based off the Echo or what the Echo turned into.

    The car really took off from the second gen. Mitsubishi could hit a home run on the next model. The looks on this one were too love it/hate it and most couldn’t get passed how it looked to give it a chance even if it’s a great deal. The next model with 100-200+ mile range and normal or improved looks will be a winner.

    I personally would still like to seen an electric Eclipse. A base model and a performance model. Maybe even an ultra performance model..

    1. Josh says:

      I would love an AWD Eclipse GSX Electric, sadly I have been told all my vehicles will have 4 doors from now on.

  5. I talked with an I-MiEV owner yesterday at the Laguna Hills National Drive Electric Week event who picked up his car for an astonishing $4,000 after incentives.

    1. sven says:

      $4000 is beyond astonishing.

      1. Big Solar says:

        Yeah! I got 18.5k in mine after incentives. I compared it to my last gas car and it has paid for itself already though.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          The interior reminds me of the 1964 VW ‘Beetle” (officially a model “A” I think), which incidentally was the most popular car ever made, from 1934 on and off until the 1980’s. It actually is a very nice car, and I would probably have bought one myself if it were not for the lack of range, the big bugaboo for most electrics.

          For a ‘second electric’ or second car period, for most day-in, day-out driving the car seems ultimately practical due to the large interior.

          The Japanese ‘styling’ takes some getting used to, but other than that, you can see why I-miev owners are very proud of their pruchase.

          1. Big Solar says:

            I always refer to mine as a Japanese Beetle.

            1. DaveMart says:

              And ‘Beetle-san’ is a very fine name for a car! 😉

    2. Yeah, it gives a whole new meaning to “EV grin”. I’ll admit to being a little envious, especially because it was black and he had it tricked out as a rally car with lights and racing stripes. It looked good.

  6. JackDFW says:

    I wonder why the I-MiEV came back as a 2014 in late summer…why not call it a 2015??

    I have a short less than 20 mile round trip to work in Texas..so I am looking at I-MiEV to replace my 2013 Leaf in Feb when the lease is done ( I have under 12k miles on my Leaf so far).

    Does anybody know when the 2015 I-MiEV will arrive and any more improvements??

    A little more range would be nice.

    I like my Leaf S but the price on an I-MiEV after rebates is around 5K cheaper.

    Now I am more comfortable with electric drive I my buy my next car instead of leasing…but glad I did a 2 year lease to start.

    1. Josh says:

      It took almost 3 years to get the 2014s here. Model year 2012 was the last year they shipped them to the US. I wouldn’t expect a new MY anytime soon.

    2. John R says:

      I actually traded in my LEAF for an iMiev three months ago – and I have found I prefer the iMiev. The better visibility and amazing maneuverability is great. Plus, the 2014 iMiev comes standard with a quick-charge port. And despite the cheaper feel of the doors, I have found that actually the iMiev’s controls feel more solid. The iMiev’s brake pedal feels much like any other car, something the LEAF’s designers were not able to accomplish – and you have maximum manual control of the regen and climate controls. It really is more of a driver’s car. I’m happy to have made the switch.

  7. vadik_veselovsky says:

    I envy American EV prices, in (unsubsidized) Europe they are appalling

  8. Bill Howland says:

    “…The existing federal tax credit of $7,500 for all-electric vehicles brings that down to $15,495, making it the least expensive freeway-legal electric car in America. That’s about as much as Mitsubishi’s new Mirage, which is the cheapest conventional gas-powered car in the country……”

    Too bad a review of a nice car also has to have such nonsense. No Plug-in-Prius ever got a $7500 federal tax credit, neither do most of the fords, and $15,000 isn’t exactly ‘the cheapest’ gas car. The Nissan Versa (Looks kinda like a gas powered Leaf) starts at under $12,000.

  9. Spec9 says:

    Can’t they throw another 10KWH of battery in there? The 62 mile EPA rated range is just so short.

    1. Big Solar says:

      at 40 mph I get about 100 miles per charge.

    2. prsist says:

      They have to make all different types of cars for different people and their needs. Golf cart size cars will always be popular because there are people who need only that type of car. I live near Sun City, Arizona. When you have to drive through Sun City, you will always see people driving their street legal golf carts all over the place. The MIEV has a niche. Not mine or maybe Spec9, but it will have a following. Still waiting for Tesla Gen 3. I just have to hold out for nationwide FREE charging and travel!

      1. Big Solar says:

        Gotcha, I constantly post this because there are so many people out there that could benefit from an Imiev but dont because of many different reasons besides it not working for them.

    3. mike says:

      and then you’d want another 10. It never ends. I get 80 miles every day on a charge. I typically drive 100 miles a day so I pick up a charge along the way.

  10. Jay Donnaway says:

    I’ve now close to 46,000 miles in the i-MiEV and still loving it. Here’s a photo of our camping rig.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/23079348@N08/15299103676/in/set-72157647894969501/

    The car handles this trailer like it’s not even there, though regen with 500 lbs following you is certainly enhanced.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/23079348@N08/15299104536/in/set-72157647894969501/

    1. DaveMart says:

      Definitely a cool way to roll, Jay!

  11. EV says:

    dont want to drive a kidney bean

    1. mike says:

      your loss.

  12. nero says:

    Driving mine just 5 weeks, Peugeot iOn, same as i-miev just rebadged. Did 3000 miles, rarely charging at home as we have very good rapid charging network. From second car it became first, lexus gs collecting dust. And also petrol/diesel feels so outdated.. especially vibrations vibrations from engine which you can’t feel because you’ve got used to it