Car Review: 2012 Mitsubishi electric car, affordable and all-out eco-friendly

Did someone say electric car and Mitsubishi in the same sentence? Photo: 2012 Mitsubishi i, electric car of tomorrow is here Photo: Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, September 24, 2012 — Did someone say electric car and Mitsubishi in the same sentence? Yep, and it works out just fine. The 2012 Mitsubishi I is affordable and worth a look into for all you eco-friendly drivers out there.

All electric and affordable so already the ante is upped in favor of this Mitsubishi offering. The only downside is the fact that the drive range is a bit less than in competitors, but for a car to knock around town in you are definitely set.

An all new model, competition is the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius C hybrid or the Volkswagen Golf TDI and note too that the Mitsubishi I is cheaper than the other plug-in options like the Prius or the Chevy Volt.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i has four doors and it’s a hatchback available that is in two trims the ES and SE. 

On the ES you get 15-inch steel wheels, all power accessories, 50/50-split rear seats that fold and recline and an onboard recharging system with a 120-volt portable charging cable as well as a decent sound system including CD player and auxiliary audio jack, a heated and height-adjustable driver seat, a remote system that pre-activates climate control, and the charging timer.

Mitsubishi i, unplugged and rarin’ to go Photo: R. Dandridge

On the SE model you will find 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, automatic headlights, upgraded seat fabric, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

On both trims you get what is called the Cold Zone package that adds a battery warmer and heated outside mirrors. The ES trim can also add what is called a Level 3 quick-charging port and the SE model comes with an optional Premium package with a navigation system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a quick-charging port.

One item of note on this Mitsubishi i is that the range is only 62 miles from full to no charge and that is the least of the ranges in the world of electric cars. However, the others come in only a little ahead, so this is likely not a good reason to look elsewhere if the Mitsubishi has caught your eye.

When the i does need a charge it takes about seven hours to be fully juiced with a 240-volt at home charging unit.

Powered by a 49-kilowatt electric motor the 2012 Mitsubishi i is 66 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque and feeds off of a lithium-ion battery pack with top storage at 16 kWh.

For safety the 2012 Mitsubishi i offers standard antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, and front-seat and side curtain airbags.

For such a compact little car, you will also be surprised at the headroom in this one as well as the legroom in the front seat. It is a bit tighter in the back and in all there is just 13.2 cubic feet of space in the back for storage room. Since the rear seats do fold down the maximum cargo space in this case is much better at 50.4 cubic feet.

Overall the 2012 Mitsubishi i is a no-nonsense approach to driving, so there is no cutting edge options that will wow you, but if you are a candidate to drive such an eco-friendly set of wheels that’s more than okay.

As for driving, you can expect a quiet cabin even at higher speeds that top out in the high 70s or low 80s. As well, you will find that you have no problem getting on and blending in with traffic on the highway.

There are three drive settings to choose from the “Eco,” which reduces the rate of battery consumption for better energy, setting “B” with regenerative braking and the “D” setting offering up full power as needed and in this setting you will definitely feel all this car has to offer.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i is also easy to drive and rounds the corners and takes curves just fine, giving you that sense of handling needed behind the wheel.

Overall, the size of the Mitsubishi i is the biggest complaint, but in no way should it be a deal breaker. Do be aware that while the full charge does have an approximate range that can change depending on a number of variables, but after you get to know this car it shouldn’t be a problem. 

Should You Need to Know:   Keep in mind that the price tag on this electric car option is lowered thanks to the $7,500 federal tax credit and depending on the state you live in, there might be other credits you can look into as well.

Miles Per Gallon:  Estimated on this one is 126 miles per gallon in the city and 99 miles per gallon on the highway with a combined 112 miles per gallon overall.

Cost: The cost for the 2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev SE I drove came in at $34,920.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings. 

She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. Her third book in the Haunted Series will be released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.”  Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13. 


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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.

 

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