We’ve heard plenty of rumors that Mitsubishi might be pulling out of the United States’ car market and it’s not hard to see why such a rumor is circulating. Let’s face facts, the automaker hasn’t exactly had a big hit in America for some time and the only real seller in their lineup is the Lancer and even that is lagging behind the competition.

It goes on as well. The Galant is old and dull, theEclipse got fat and slow, the Endeavor is just bad and the Outlander series has the look, but not much else. Even theLancer Evolution has been a slow seller. So, what can this company do to save themselves from becoming just a page in automotive history?

Well, that’s where the i-MiEV comes in. It might not look like a Nissan Leaf beater, but it should offer up some fierce competition.

Hit the jump to read on.

Exterior and Interior

2012 Mitsubishi U.S Spec i-MiEV Exterior
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The i-MiEV is tall, narrow, and swoopy for a five-door and it makes for a funky, unique package that you’ll be able to spot from miles away when coming out of the store.

The U.S.-spec i-MiEV is 11.2 inches longer, 4.3 inches wider, and 0.2 inches taller than the JDM version. This was a wise move, as larger things tend to do better in the American market. Not to mention something as small as the JDM i-MiEV would cause many to wet themselves as they passed a semi.

Up front, that cute face could brighten up anybody’s day and the same could be said of the rear. Just think, you’ll be making the trees and the person in the car behind you happy as you drive along.

The tall roofline and long wheelbase gives the back more than adequate space for four adults and there is plenty of space for luggage and shopping bags.

It’s pretty barren on the inside, with minimal controls on the center stack and not a whole lot in the way of instrument cluster gauges. That won’t bode well for sales, as theNissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt offer much more for the money.

The Power

2012 Mitsubishi U.S Spec i-MiEV Interior
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Power comes from a 330-volt, 16-kWh battery pack that is placed under the rear cargo bay that develops 63 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, you’re not going to lining up versus sports cars, but it feels nippy around town, as it weighs as much as a feather. Torque is delivered instantly off the line thanks to there being only one gear, so there’s a smooth rush of power as soon as you press it.

The Mitsubishi has three driver modes, D, Eco, and B, just like its Toyota rivals. Eco mode reduces the amount of overall horsepower and increases the car’s regenerative braking, while D will give you performance similar to that of a gasoline vehicle. Finally, you get B, which offers the maximum amounts of both horsepower and regenerative braking.

The i-MiEV will easily travel up to 100 miles on a single charge, but we imagine in U.S traffic that number will come down a bit. To charge it up, you get adapters for both 110- and 220-volt outlets. The former takes around 12-14 hours for a full charge, while the latter takes half that.

The Competition

Well, there are two that will rival this machine, the Volt and the Leaf. The Leaf and the i-MiEV are going to be main rivals, as both offer 100 miles on a charge and the same cute looks. We prefer the look of the Leaf’s interior, but the exterior design is a toss up. We haven’t had the chance to drive the Mitsubishi yet, but we hear it’s a bit scary at first on the motorways.

The Volt is an entirely different animal and will easily beat both the Leaf and the i-MiEV in terms of power and driving range. So, as much as we have turned away from Chevrolet in the past, we would recommend the Volt in this case.

When Will It Be Here

Mitsubishi is still targeting an on-sale date near the end of 2011 for the all-electric i-MiEV, with prices coming in below $30,000

What do you think?
Show Comments

15 comments:

  (473) posted on 02.29.2012

It is so cute to have this golf cart-like a car comes in taller height and longer wheelbase. The space provided for the stuffs like cargo is enough for shopping bags, golfing set, and, etc. It has a good price at $30,000.

  (328) posted on 01.20.2012

Wow! I surely love to see this Mitsubishi U.S Spec i-MiEV it reminds me of the MiEV Sport Air concept. Anyway, its design is very refreshing. I love its unique exterior, it will surely gain attentions on the road.

  (449) posted on 11.28.2011

The platform and abstract design of this vehicle are so different and refreshing! Well, I must say that it is already quite satisfying, but I’m curious if what will be the engine specification of it.

  (600) posted on 11.16.2011

If only they use some lighter color on its interior touch, so it could be kind of refreshing and impressive. Anyway, I have to agree that it looks so cute and unique on its platform and style.

  (474) posted on 10.26.2011

It is absolutely looking so cute and awesome but sad to say, the interior of this one, didn’t impress me at all. I also noticed that its light body paint is really suited on its appearance.

  (374) posted on 10.17.2011

I don’t like the interior touch of this Mitsubishi U.S spec, I-MiEV. It looks so boring and as for the exterior appearance of this, I can say that it looks so cute on its platform and sort of unique.

  (504) posted on 09.28.2011

One of the unique designed car for Mitsubishi, very cool and trendy one. The bumper and headlights also proportional.

  (320) posted on 09.15.2011

Impressive platform design and I found it also a cute car, but I noticed that the interior seems to bore, but I still want to see this in person.

  (248) posted on 09.14.2011

You will definitely not line up than a sports car, but it feels cold around the city, because it weighs as much as a feather. So, maybe you rush smooth power as soon as you press it.

  (334) posted on 05.20.2011

just remember about the woes that Top Gear on Nissan Leaf..And I think
it would be the same for this car..Actually, I want to consider a more reliable car than this.

  (553) posted on 05.20.2011

hmm. I don’t like the styling of this car and the fact that its an electric car. Heck!
The power performance not that impressive! I was looking forward for more power and
I would say that electric car is not the best car to be considered.

  (325) posted on 04.28.2011

Well. Its cool and cute outlook. Yet the ability to generate in a maximum level capacity the amounts of both horsepower and regenerative braking..

  (460) posted on 03.11.2011

Im sure kids will love the style. It will be fun to seat while drive. Maybe because of its cute and funky style.

  (159) posted on 01.30.2011

It’s pretty barren on the inside, with minimal controls on the center stack and not a whole lot in the way of instrument cluster gauges.

  (579) posted on 01.27.2011

It is very cute car,cool,and you can seat back and relax while driving.

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