Consumer Reports Tests Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i — Digs 1, Rips the Other — w/videos

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 11

Included in this month’s Consumer Reports are tests of two electric vehicles: the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i.  This electric duo joins the Nissan LEAF as the only three widely available electric vehicles tested by the publication.  The LEAF fared well, but did the Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i impress, too?

According to Consumer Reports, the Focus Electric “builds on the great handling and refinement of the conventional Focus and adds instant, silent power and the second best fuel efficiency Consumer Reports has recorded the equivalent of 107 mpg (or 3.18 miles per kilowatt-hour).”

Consumer Reports continues to pile on the praise, stating “Add to those qualities a quiet interior and an upscale overall feel, and you can mostly justify the off-putting purchase price: nearly $40,000 before the $7,500 tax credit. But current lease deals of $199 a month make the Ford Focus Electric very attractive.”

The only knocks on the Focus Electric include its “cramped rear seat and the maddening MyFord Touch touch-activated climate and audio controls. In addition, the lithium-ion battery packs consume much of the modest cargo space.”

CR concludes with this statement:  “But if you’re seriously considering an electric car, the Focus is one of the best you’ll find right now.”

Okay.  So the Focus Electric fared well, but did the Mitsubishi i impress?  The short answer is “absolutely not.”

Consumer Reports opens with this statement: “The i-MiEV may fulfill its mission to be an efficient and basic urban runabout, but I don’t think it’s a car in which anyone will be happy spending time.”

Shortcomings, according to Consumer Reports, are numerous, including clumsy handling, a bumpy ride, limited cruising range, a tiny, tinny feel, slow responses, a cramped interior that’s spartan and unappealing and the list continues to go on and on.

In summary, Consumer Reports called the Mitsubihi i an expensive “glorified golf cart of limited use.”  Ouch!  And even added that the diminutive i made them feel vulnerable sharing the road with “real” automobiles.

Neither vehicle received a “Recommended” rating.  Both lack sufficient reliability data.  And the Mitsubishi i scores too low.

via Consumer Reports and Consumer Reports

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11 responses to "Consumer Reports Tests Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i — Digs 1, Rips the Other — w/videos"

  1. TAP says:

    I think evidence is mounting that consumers are not inteested in compromise cars. An EV must be a “real car”, not a stripped down econobox.

    1. Open-Mind says:

      I agree, since that market segment seems to emphasize the downsides of EV tech (high cost and limited range) but does not leverage the upsides.

      They should leverage instant EV torque by targeting performance cars (like Tesla is).

      They should leverage EV silence by targeting luxury cars (like Tesla is).

      They should leverage EV efficiency and cheap fuel by targeting gas guzzlers (like Via is).

      It seems so obvious. Unfortunately, none of the major players have done this yet. I have hope that someone at GM has finally figured it out, since they designed the Spark EV with acceleration that’s best in class and good enough to be marketable.

      JMHO.

  2. David Murray says:

    No surprise here. They basically confirmed what the sales figures have been saying for a while. I think the Mitsubishi I would have trouble selling even at a $10,000 MSRP. I’d rather have a used Gen-2 Prius, which can be bought easily for less than $10,000.

  3. danpatgal says:

    Well – I like it the Mitsubishi i. It’s smooth, quiet, easy to drive, has good visibility, decent range, has a great use of space and I paid (after incentives) less than $19k. The new Leaf S may get close to that price (though without some of the options in the i, like a B mode or quick charge that I have on my car), but the Ford Focus does not. It is a perfect second car for all our around town driving and though there was a price premium (it was still the most expensive car I have ever purchased), it was close enough for us to consider it on our budget. CR is obviously into picking winners and losers, instead of giving some impartial list of pros and cons about a product.

  4. Suprise Cat says:

    Americans need big cars to compensate dysfunctions of their genitals.

    1. taser54 says:

      Well, that’s not nice of you.

    2. Open-Mind says:

      Thanks for the laugh Mr Cat. BTW…

      I’m rubber and you’re glue.
      Bad genitals bounce off me and stick to you.

      (Amazing that posts with links get flagged for moderation, but not these! lol 😉

  5. Open-Mind says:

    I wonder if EV reviews like this will ever bother to mention that the fuel-cost of an electric-mile is about five times cheaper than a gasoline-mile. I bet most people don’t know that. Ditto for the EV car ads.

  6. alohart says:

    My assessment of our i-MiEV, our only car in Honolulu, is in accordance with that expressed by danpatgal. Living on an island with an extensive network of public charging stations, our i-MiEV’s range has not been an issue. I haven’t noticed the “clumsy handling” or “slow responses” attributed to the i-MiEV by Consumer Reports. It does “fulfill its mission to be an efficient and basic urban runabout” which is why we chose it over a Leaf. We rarely carry 4 people, so we didn’t need the much larger (2.5′ longer, 7″ wider, 800 lb. heavier) and more costly 5-passenger Leaf, a nice car that my brother owns. But we do appreciate the i-MiEV’s cargo capacity with its rear seats folded down which is much larger than the Leaf’s.

    The i-MiEV has all the safety and comfort features expected in any new car in its price range, so I reject the assertion that the i-MiEV is a “glorified golf cart of limited use”. How could anyone trust a review that makes such a ridiculous statement?

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Consumer Reports has had arrogant people in charge of their reviews for decades now.. Occassionally you get a level headed review but not often.

      For people who love the I-miev, more power to them. I’ve sat in one, but that was at the auto show here and there was no one around to ask questions and they even had all the 12 volt stuff disconnected so that we couldn’t play with the controls.. Just watching the thing roll down the street does give you a feeling that the car is a bit on the delicate side. For those who are ok with that, fine.

      I decided against an Imiev again, since the range is not nearly as much as I need in Cold Climate Buffalo. Turning on the wimpy heater would use up too much battery to get where I’m going. To people who say just bundle up more has never experienced high humidity cold weather… You have to have the defroster on high all the time to even begin to see out the windshield. And since there are no quick chargers in all of new york state, the level 3 port is wasted on me.

  7. Jay Donnaway says:

    Thank you Art! C.R. in the person of Mr. Leung above seems to have lost sight of what many of their subscribers like, which is an unornamented appliance that does it’s job very well. Since CR’s road testing was apparently limited to the track, they didn’t get to experience what i’m able to do every day, which is leave all traffic behind at every red light, while spending one tenth of what they do on fuel. My i hauls larger loads in it’s 50 cubic foot rear end than many compact SUVs do, and it’s limited usefulness only amounted to over 15,000 miles during my first year of ownership without a penny spent on maintenance, and under $300 spent on ‘fuel’. The driving experience is different from the fast-mattress LEAF, to be sure, but if you like actually feeling the road and turning on a dime while not spending one, give the iMiev a fair shake.