2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review – Video Test Drive

APR 10 2015 BY JAY COLE 42

2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV at The Chicago Auto Show Last Month  (Image: InsideEVs/Mike Anothony)

2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV at The Chicago Auto Show Last Month (Image: InsideEVs/Mike Anothony)

Truth be told we are a little surprised to see a review on the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV already (yes, it is a 2016 so soon, as there was no 2015 model year car in the US).

The bi-annual i-MiEV (no, 2013 model year eitherunexpectedly arrived on the US market just about 4 weeks ago, and it appears as though Mitsu has only dropped off about two dozen in total to America so far.

Still, it has arrived and Autobytel got their hands on one somehow.

The latest version of the i-MiEV does show some necessary improvements over the original version for the most senior mass produced electric vehicle in the world.

  • New 7" Navigation/Back Up Camera Available On 2016 i-MiEV

    New 7″ Navigation/Back Up Camera Available On 2016 i-MiEV

    standard feature include heated driver and front passenger seats

  • remote keyless entry and heated side mirrors
  • optional 7-in. touchscreen display with rear back-up camera
  • standard CHAdeMO DC quick charge port

The 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV also keeps its industry-best price point from $22,995.

So if you don’t have to drive more than 62 miles, and you aren’t too fussy about how you get there…the i-MiEV could be the electric vehicle for you!

Hat tip to offib!

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42 Comments on "2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review – Video Test Drive"

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@48 seconds, the comment about Georgia is no longer true. And they tacked on more fees for EVs.

It’s a great little car, can’t understand why mitsu isn’t at least offering more range as an option…

where would they put more batteries? in the back seat?

Easy. They could use a denser battery.
They manage to fit an entire 24kwhr of last generation battery into the fiat 500e.

Mitsubishi could fit a larger battery than that if they wished to do so.

But Mitsubishi (and GS Yuasa) never really focussed on increasing battery density unlike Nissan or Tesla/Panasonic. The i-MiEV’s battery is pretty weak (less than 100W/kg I believe, compared to the +220 the Model S is equipped with. kW/L runs in the same fashion too. In change for that, Mitsubishi has a very reliable and cheap cell, which allows the Outlander PHEV to be cheap enough to be a success. On a further note, there was also that less dense (and heavier), but cheaper and more stable Lithium-Titanate, 12kWh battery from Toshiba that sold in Japan. The one that could rapid charge to 90% in 10 mins.

So in summary, with per volume and weight, not much energy can be packaged in the i-MiEV’s small frame. Unlike LG, Panasonic, Nissan, VW and any other we can think of, we really have not heard of that many (non conceptual) reports of Mitsubishi offering a battery that will increase range, whereas we have good faith that the LEAF and Bolt will see these brand new and improved “Gen 2” cells very soon. Hopefully Mitsubishi would, but I really don’t see them to be geared that way.

It’s low cost and support of Chademo are about the only two things going for the poor little thing. And neither one seem to be helping with the sales.

For basic transport, it’s an acceptable vehicle. Having had one for 2 years, it does have its good points. First, it is very light — even lighter than the i3. Second, it is rear-wheel drive, like the i3. Third, it has acceptable cabin room for four adults, like the i3. And it costs 1/4 of what the i3 costs (and accelerates 1/4 as fast).

In city driving, I could easily get more than 80 miles per charge. Because there are plenty of similarly-looking Smart cars on the road, my vehicle rarely got a second look.

We, too, had an i-MiEV for 2 years and would still have it if a move made its range (~80 miles) insufficient for us. Our public charging infrastructure hasn’t kept up with EV sales so finding an available public charging station when we needed one became too difficult. We loved the i-MiEV’s size, weight, RWD, and simplicity, so we replaced it with an i3 BEV whose dimensions, including weight, are similar except for the i3’s foot longer length (the i3’s frunk). The i3 costs slightly over twice that of the i-MiEV, not 4 times as much! I don’t care about relative acceleration rates; our i-MiEV was quick enough. Our i3 is much more car with a much more sophisticated suspension, advanced rust-free frame and passenger module, much nicer interior trim, etc., etc. But we were concerned about the future availability of i-MiEV parts and service with so few North American models sold, so we’re very happy having replaced our i-MiEV.

True that, Aaron, but I’d like to see acceleration curves for both the i-MiEV and i3. The i3 has a terrible delay built into the accelerator from a standstill rather than the instantaneous response one should expect from an EV. The i-MiEV, like an aircooled Beetle, beats most cars across an intersection.

Needs more cowbell

I test drove one of these a couple years ago and liked it, but I liked the Leaf better and so did my wife, so that’s what we leased.

The Mitsu is a great city car, and it does drive nicely. No complaints. And where I live in the southern San Joaquin Valley, you can get one for a net cost of about $10K. (7.5K federal tax credit, 2.5K CA rebate, and 3K valley air district rebate = 13K off the sales price).

But alas, In our next EV, I’m looking for something that can do regional travel. That means something a bit larger, and, more important, with at least 150 miles of range.

I wish this were available as a NEV with a 45 mph limit. Here in WA State NEVs are exempt from the $100/yr EV tax. It would work just as well as my Leaf (since there really aren’t any DCQCs close enough to “get out of town.”

I have never seen an i-miev in the wild. And I live in the DC/Baltimore area, which is ripe with all kinds of EVs. Why does Mitsu even bother to sell the i-miev in the States?

I live in Mount Airy and have a 2012 MiEV. Bought it new in June 2013 and drove 25,000mi since. Love it for my commute since I can officially use the HOV-lanes around DC.

The relevant question is why Mitsubishi doesn’t bother selling the Outlander PHEV in the States.

Higher profit margin in Europe.

I’ve seen a purple one in the wild in Virginia.

I am SO excited NOBODY took a shot at the iMiev! No “golf-carts are faster and bigger” kind of cheap shots.

And, interesting comments on the battery tech, offib.

We’ve had an even model year iMiev (are odd numbers bad luck ??) for nearly three years now and have really loved it and have had no major issues. I think Mitsu is trying to build some EV credentials with it so that when the PHEV Oultander comes out next year sometime, people will trust them a little bit more AND they’ll have a bit more dealer support/experience with electric drive trains.

I think the article is saying that the i-MiEV is only produced in even years, not in odd years. Or at least, the version sold in the USA is only produced every other year.

As Mr. GOld states this appears to be a perfectly fine ‘second’ electric EV.

I can’t believe they are still selling this without any increase in battery size.

It must be their way of getting CARB credits.

I guess this can be a great car for your teen. It is cheap, you get a tax-credit, they are not gonna get laid in it, and they are not going to be able to elope in it. 😉

I have a 2012 i-MiEV and told my wife I plan on giving it to my one year old daughter on her sixteenth birthday. My wife laughed at me, until I said “think about it… it can’t go far, it can’t go fast, and no boy will be caught dead in it”.

I have 2 teenagers that want to get their license. They asked me if they would be able to drive our 2001 RAV4 and I told them – No, You will get to drive the electric car. My son got excited and then suspicious – Why? I told him, that I would never have to look far, since he even forgets to charge his phone.

Nice little car… needs a battery density revision… maybe source it from someone else… and see how much you can wring from the space available. I chose LEAF as our 1st and 2nd EV for our family… If Mitsubishi had added density they might have been our second… now trying to decide in a year or so if they will be our 3rd… with all the 200 milers coming out I doubt they will.
CHAdeMO quick charging makes these very serviceable cars. So chack plugshare and if there are a few CHAdeMO dc quick chargers around and your house can handle a 15 amp dedicated plug in the garage or carport this car is a great around town commute to mass transit, train stations or airports for long trips car.

They have a more exciting version of this in Asia perhaps? Bring the Outlander already..and make a regular EV, put solar on your dealerships!

Do any dealers have QC at least?

I would get the spark instead given the option and price range.

Indeed. It costs a little more but it is worth it for the longer range and better performance. However, the Spark EV is only offered in like 3 states.

Yup, the Spark offers better performance but much less utility and a useless DCFC feature. Its rear seats don’t fold flat and three grocery bags is about the limit behind the rear seats, while the i-MiEV’s cavernous 50 cubic foot rear can carry a pair of 55 gallon barrels!

We Bought a used 2012 imiev for $10,500 for just the reason the reviewer noted. “If you’re on a tight budget it’s a great little electric car”. No regrets what-so-ever! I agree with everything he said about it! Tall seats for great visibility and easy to get in and out of, great cargo capacity, easy to park, great little run-about for city errands. My wife really likes the low-tech design. Ours is used about 95% city driving, no highway so range is usually above EPA estimate. We get 70-85 miles to charge based on my wife’s driving style.

It definitely does the job. I thought it might become of the VW bug of EVs but they never increased the battery size and I’m sure that has severely limited sales despite the nice low price.

Great review! Only thing missing was how little it costs to run with virtually nothing to service and fuel costa at about 1/4 that of petrol (nearly a 10th if you live in the EU). I love mine but now every time I need to pop out, I have to decide between it and the Tesla. Life is HELL!

Mitsubishi would be wise to take one of their existing gas cars and make it electric(Lancer?) or even take their truck model and be first to market with it.

Or pump up the range of the iMiev.

Really as a city car, this car rocks AND it can haul my musical instrument AND is easily within my budget. I purchased one off lease after car sharing a Leaf for 8 months. This was a 100% spot on purchase. While intercity travel is not its strength (without level 3) I drive between cities and honestly have enjoyed it. I’ve gotten in the upper 80’s in range and expect to get better. Strengths: It is more roomy with better visibility than mentioned in most evaluations. A 2015 Dodge Charger owner Charger commented to me my imeiv was more spacious than his new vehicle. As a single driver without a heavy payload I find it peppy and a spritely drive in the D setting. (again… comments from friends, it moves better than they had imagined – better than ICE cars they know that are sold in thousands of units) I like the different regen strategies though I find D to be the most useful. ((I know others who find the hard regen B to work best for them)) As to range, and what I was looking for… it beats all other realistic options for price and performance over major ev’s… Read more »

As Ben mentioned, the i-MiEV is tops in interior volume. 50 cubic feet with the fold-flat seats down, and it’s a full-width tailgate, so not only can you carry the load- you can get it in and out. Loads during my 57,000 i-MiEV miles have ranged from two 55-gal drums to a dozen 32-gal trash cans, a dozen bags of sackrete, 600 lbs of dead lead batteries, etc. This little car HAULS. The Spark, on the other hand, has miniscule space behind the seats and they don’t fold flat.

Comparing an i-MiEV to the i3, there’s one thing that I found quite annoying in the i3, which is the acceleration lag. The i3 has a significant delay in all modes (comfort, Eco, EcoPro, and EcoProPlus) both in Forward and Reverse. You push the pedal, count to two, and then the power comes on. The i-MiEV is more responsive off the lien, but less powerful and doesn’t handle as well in all other regards. No factory EV gives the instant response that can be programmed into a Zilla controller pushing a series-wound dc motor (though I haven’t driven a P85D yet) but it’s amazing that BMW programmed in such a dramatic lag, perhaps to mimic an automatic transmission off the line.

My biggest complaints, really the reason I struck the “I” off of my list(after driving one for 2 years),was the heating issue. In the NE, if you drive an I, you really need to wear a lot of heavy winter clothes. If Mitsu Motors would introduce a hybrid heater or make available the diesel heater, this car would be much more practical. My winter range was about 60 miles, on anything other than a bitterloy cold day. (Summer was always 80+ miles).But that was without using the heater. Using the heater, I could not make a 32 mile round trip on some of the worst days. Many of the other complaints I had would have been moot if I had the QC option, and heated seats for all passengers. The car was 100% fun to drive, was very comfortable and had great visibility. Also, it never failed to garner quizzical looks from bystanders. If I had a few extra bucks I would look for a fully loaded(some of the 2012’s had QC)used model and use it mainly as a commuter car, and install some sort of add on diesel heater.

Heating is discussed in a thread on the myimiev forum:
http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1248&start=10

It really is unfortunate that Mitsubishi does not offer a fuel heater option, because installing a generic aftermarket heater does seem to require a lot of effort:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_DuLI … sp=sharing