2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a subcompact electric car whose main selling points are its relatively low price and its efficient drivetrain.

Recent Changes
The i-MiEV gains an optional navigation package for the latest model year.

Overview
Based on the Japanese market i that went on sale all the way back in 2006, the i-MiEV is essentially a "kei" car with an electric powertrain. In Japan, kei cars are narrow vehicles with small engines that merit their own tax class. This helps explain why the i-MiEV is narrower than just about any other new car in the United States.

All-Electric Drivetrain
The tiny i is powered by an electric motor mounted under the trunk that sends 66 horsepower and 145 lb-ft. of instant torque to the rear wheels. Power is provided by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery located under the chassis.

In the ideal driving conditions the i-MiEV can go 62 miles on a single charge. Although Mitsubishi claims that the car can achieve a top speed of 81 mph, don't expect it, nor the traditional zero-to-60 mph sprint, to come quickly.

The i-MiEV can be charged three ways: A standard 120-volt household outlet takes 22 hours, an optional 240-volt home charger trims that to 7 hours, while a CHAdeMO level three system like you'll find at some public charging stations will top off 80 percent of the battery in half an hour. The CHAdeMO port has been added to the list of standard equipment for the latest model year.

Trim Level Breakdown
Though the i is a very small vehicle, the base model still packs a respectable amount of standard features. Available in a single trim level called ES, it comes with leather upholstery on the steering wheel and the shift knob, heated front seats, a six-speaker 100-watt sound system, manual A/C, keyless entry, power windows, mirrors and locks, heated door mirrors, alloy wheels, fog lights and LED tail lamps.

Big spenders will opt for the Navigation Package that includes an MMCS navigation system with 7-inch touchscreen display, real-time traffic, 3D mapping, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, a USB port and a rear view camera.

Occupant Safety
Fears about the i's ability to protect its occupants should be allayed by the long list of safety equipment: dual-stage supplemental front air bags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard passengers, Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL), 4-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and a high voltage cut-off system are included on every Mitsubishi i model as standard equipment.

The i also has an Approaching Vehicle Audible System (AVAS) that produces noise when at speed to alert pedestrians to the otherwise silent vehicle's presence.

Key competitors
If you live in Middle America, the i-MiEV's only real rival is the Nissan Leaf, which costs a few grand more than a base i-MiEV.

Buyers in certain, primarily coastal, markets can also opt for region-limited vehicles like the Ford Focus Electric, the Fiat 500e and Honda Fit EV, the latter of which is sized the closest to the i-MiEV.