When it debuted in the U.S. in 2012, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was a compromise as it couldn’t travel quite as far as its rivals and needed extra time to charge, but its lower price point made it worth the sacrifice. Sadly, while the rest of the EV segment has advanced, the little Mitsu was ignored, leaving it in the dust of more advanced models. This continues into 2017.

Pricing and Equipment

The one point where the i-MiEV still excels is pricing, as its base price of $23,845 (delivery fees included) falls far below its competitors. Take into account the $7,500 federal tax break you get for buying this small EV, and you’re looking at a price tag just a tick over $16,000. At this low price, it’s no surprise that the standard features are pretty simple. They include:

  • Level 3 DC quick-charge port
  • 120-volt 8/12-amp portable charging cable
  • Automatic headlights
  • Fifteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Heated front seats
  • Six-speaker, 100-watt audio system

There is only one trim level available for the i-MiEV, and that’s the ES. What’s more, options are limited to just a Navigation Package ($2,000), a Cargo Package ($95), and an LED Illumination Package ($315).

Performance Pros

Mitsubushi i-MiEV

There is not much to write home about the i-MiEV’s performance, but we did note ample initial acceleration thanks to its instant torque. This made zipping in and out of city traffic quick and easy.

  • Electric motor delivers immediate torque
  • Eighty percent charge in just 30 minutes on a Level 3 charger
  • We found it easy to maneuver thanks to its small footprint

Performance Cons

With just 66 horsepower, the i-MiEV is vastly underpowered and its range is the lowest in the biz.

  • Only 62 miles of range
  • We found that cold weather drops range in between 35 and 40 miles
  • Highway speeds drains the battery at an alarming rate

Interior Pros

Mitsubushi i-MiEV

Despite its small size, we were surprised to find that four adults could actually fit fairly comfortably in the i-MiEV. Additionally, even though they are slightly outdated, this low-priced EV actually has a long list of standard features.

  • A decent offering of standard features for its price
  • Room for four adults was surprising
  • 50.4 cubic feet of max cargo room is impressive

Interior Cons

It’s a $23,000 EV, so there are plenty of faults in the cabin. Things like the acres of hard plastic, road noise, and iffy safety ratings are just a few issues we ran into.

  • Outdated concept of minimal standard features
  • We were in a cocoon of hard plastics
  • With the rear seats up, there is limited cargo room

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The tiny i-MiEV is a breeze to drive, even in the most congested of cities. It can slide right into spaces that make the Mini Cooper feel cramped and zipping in and out of slow-moving traffic is actually enjoyable with its immediate torque.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Though its top speed is listed at 81 mph, we wish you the best of luck hitting that speed—you need a good tailwind to do so. Additionally, taking it over city speeds will result in the battery discharging quicker than expected.

The Bottom Line

If you live in a congested city and it takes you 40 minutes to travel 5 miles, then the i-MiEV is the perfect car for you. However, if you commute 40 miles from the suburbs, then you’ll want to look elsewhere for a thrifty set of wheels.