There are times when being first to the market with something just isn't enough.

Take the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. It may have launched as long ago as July 2009 in Japan, but worldwide sales have been just a fraction that of Nissan's Leaf--and in the U.S, total sales are still in the low four-figures range.

The 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is unlikely to change that, but it does at least give drivers a different option, and it's hitting dealers as we speak.

There was no 2013 i-MiEV--in the U.S, at least--but the 2014 car brings with it a host of detail changes, a price cut and a few more standard features in an effort to boost its appeal.

The one thing you might ask to change--the car's EPA-rated 62-mile electric range, has stayed the same as it was with the 2012 car.

So too has its respectable 30 kWh/100 mile energy use, equivalent to a 112 MPGe rating (126 MPGe city, 99 MPGe highway)--just behind the Nissan Leaf's 114 MPGe and ahead of cars like the tiny Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and the Ford Focus Electric.

Also unchanged is the car's powertrain, with a 49 kW (66 horsepower) electric motor. It's good for 145 lb-ft of torque and draws power from a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack--but you won't be winning many drag races...

The car's $6,130 price drop will be more useful, bringing the i-MiEV's sticker price down to $23,845, after a mandatory $850 destination fee.

The low sticker price means some owners could spend under $16,000 buying an i-MiEV--if they're eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, and other local financial incentives and rebates.

Joining a refreshed equipment list are standard driver and front passenger heated seats, a CHAdeMO DC quick charge port, battery warning system, heated mirrors, rear door speakers, a leather-covered wheel and shift knob, new daytime running lights, front fog lamps and various trim upgrades.

Mitsubishi also offers a 8A/12A switchable Level 1 charging cable, and charging at night has been made a little easier by the inclusion of a charging port lamp--the little details make the difference.


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