Mitsubishi iMiEV Ride & Drive Review

When I heard Mitsubishi was offering their right-side drive iMiEV concept for testing at the EcoXperience track at the North American International Auto Show, I immediately headed for the basement at the Cobo Center, signed an injury release form, submitted to a breathalyzer, and got in line. Almost everyone else in line was also waiting for their chance to try the iMiEV, ignoring nearly all of the other, more readily available, zero-emission vehicles.

It was really worth the wait. I don't know exactly what I had been expecting, but it surely wasn't this well-put-together, supremely quiet and peppy thing. Yes, the interior is a little spartan, but surprisingly spacious. The instrument panel is IKEA-like in its stark representation of anything a driver would want to know. For a car its size, it does have a fair amount of headroom and legroom, front and back, and the seating is comfortable.

Our product expert back-seat driver allowed us four times around the track, and though we were not allowed to drive at more than 10 miles an hour, iMiEV handled cornered tightly and handled well, and the little bit of acceleration we were allowed was strong, without hesitation. "Supremely quiet" really doesn't cover exactly how silent the iMiEV is — unless our product expert had told us the vehicle was running, we would not have known.

iMiEV is being fleet-tested in Japan now, and while it does seem a little pricey, if the testing goes well, our product expert told us we can expect to see the iMIEV for sale in the U.S. as early as 2010.
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Comments (12)
  1. Weel I read in the Nikkei interactive net that the iMIEV was sold for 2 millions yens that is a little less than 15,000 €, if it is sold at this price in Europe I'm ready to buy one.

  2. Sorry for my typing, I should have written : Well, I read ...

  3. When I mentioned to our product expert that I thought the iMiEV would be very popular if it were priced about $25,000 USD, he actually laughed and said it would be more than that (due to its battery technology). Given its battery life/power issues in cold weather, and living in Michigan, I don't think I'll be buying one...

  4. Price is tagging around 4 million yen in Japan (before heavily gov't subsidies). I would wager the US price is in that 'magic sweet spot' of all EVs-$37,000ish, at least until that gov't rebate is chewed up.
    (I think your analysis of 'very popular' at 25K is a understatement JennK, would be burning red hot at that price, thats only $17,500 after rebate)

  5. LOL sorry, statik, I ought to have stated the $25k after rebate. You're right: it would be VERY popular at that price!

  6. Hey guys!
    "Round up the usual suspects", LOL.

  7. Noel Park said:
    01.13.09 at 3:42 pm
    Hey guys!
    “Round up the usual suspects”, LOL.
    Do I know you?

  8. statik, 6:22 PM:
    Well if you do, I would advise you to be very careful where you admit it.

  9. OK Noel and Statik,
    This is an excerpt from the The Nikkei, Thursday january 9th morning edition (subscript. only)
    " The i MiEV is expected to be priced at about 2 million yen in 2011, competitive with conventional gasoline-powered cars in France once the subsidies are taken into account.
    Under an existing initiative, Mitsubishi Motors is to provide PSA Peugeot Citroen with technical assistance in such areas as electric-car batteries and power systems."
    (The Nikkei Thursday morning edition)

  10. Still 25k is to expensive for a glorified golf cart. Give me a car I can actually drive my family in please.

  11. At 25k I'll take one. I can see full well that it's about the same as a Smart ForFour, but with more power, acceleration, better handling and I will never have to smell like diesel when I show up for work again. I detest gas and diesel fuels, no matter how hard you try and how carful you are, even if I don't spill a drop, I always smell of fuel when I fill my For Two up at the pump. Not to mention $200-400 dealer A-B service charges every few thousand kms. Curse you fossil fuels, I spit my last breath at the!!

  12. Jean-Charles Jacquemin ,
    Thats confusing...does that mean 2 million yen once French subsidies are taken into account? Because it should be in Euros then right? Weird.
    I know it is priced just below 4 million yen MSRP in Japan pre-subsidy, but that is jacked up so that Mitsu gets the benefit of the heavy rebates...much like the US cars will all be inflated up around, oh...$7500ish, lol.
    Pricing on EVs...truely a strange and mysterious place.

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