2012 Mitsubishi i electric car, New York City, August 2012Enlarge Photo
We also experienced an occasional rattle from some element of the interior trim, but it didn't happen often enough to be able to replicate. While lightweight and basic, the 2012 Mitsubishi electric car otherwise seemed pretty solid.
It's been a long time since we've driven a car with tires this narrow, though, and from certain angles--with the front wheels fully cranked in one direction, or from the rear--it does look undeniably like a tiny kit car.
In the end, we conclude that the 2012 Mitsubishi i would make a great urban car if your commute is 20 miles or less. It's going to be cheap to run--a complete battery recharge giving you up to 60 miles is only about 14 kilowatt-hours, or 30 cents to $3 of electricity (depending on where you live).
The acceleration is decent, if not Tesla-quick, and we can think of few cars that have as much space wrapped into such a small package. (MINI could learn a lot from how the i is laid out.)
But the electric Mitsubishi is severely limited by its range. If its battery pack offered half again as much range--93 miles, say--we think it could find huge acceptance as a large-inside, small-outside practical second car.
So while we liked it, we would have liked it a lot better if we could have driven it to Breezy Point.
The SE trim level includes a 360-Watt stereo system with an AM/FM/CD/MP3 head unit and eight speakers. The SE model also comes with leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated driver's seat, power windows, locks, and mirrors, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
Our test car was fitted with the $2,790 Premium Package that includes an in-dash navigation system with real-time traffic data, a 40-GB music server, Bluetooth hands-free audio and phone pairing, steering-wheel audio controls, heated side mirrors, a rear-view camera, and a battery warming system.
It was also fitted with a Quick-Charge port, although as there are no CHAdeMO quick-charging stations in the greater New York City area, we couldn't test it.
The total price of our 2012 Mitsubishi i SE, with the Premium Package and a mandatory $850 destination charge, was $34,765. The car qualifies for the $7,500 Federal tax credit for buying an electric vehicle.