Mitsubishi i

The Essentials

  • Price from £29,045
  • What Car? says: 1 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 0.0mpg
  • What is it? Tiny electric car with an enormous price tag.

Great

  • Running costs will be a lot lower than for a petrol car
  • Quick off the mark and nippy to drive around town
  • Zero emissions at point of use

Gripes

  • How much?! Other, better electric cars come cheaper
  • No steering wheel adjustment
  • Too much noise reaches the cabin
  • Drive

    It's nippy enough around town but disappoints in too many other areas

  • Inside

    The steering wheel can't be adjusted which makes finding a good driving position more of a challenge than we'd like

  • Safety

    No scrimping on safety kit which includes six airbags and stability control

  • Reliability

    Mitsubishi has scored well for reliability in recent surveys and breakdown assistance is thrown in for free

  • Space

    Four adults will fit at a push - rear leg room is minimal and they'll need to pack very light, so it works best for two

  • Standard and extras

    Air-conditioning, electric windows and a CD player are standard; options include biodegradable floor mats

  • What's it like to drive?

    First you'll need to charge the Mitsubishi i-MIEV which takes six hours on a domestic socket. Once you're up and running it's quite fun to drive  quick off the mark, perky around town and capable enough on major roads, too. It's small, which helps when manoeuvring and parking, although the steering is surprisingly heavy. It's also let down by the unsettled ride - the car scuttles over every bump in the road and loses grip too easily which doesn't inspire confidence. Far too much wind, road and motor noise can be heard from the cabin, too.

  • What's it like inside?

    That bubble-car styling makes the i-MIEV feel light and airy inside and there's a good view out from every angle. If this were a cheap city car the interior quality would feel acceptable, but at this price we'd hope for nicer feeling plastics and 'luxuries' like an adjustable steering wheel. Standard kit includes alloy wheels and air-con. Although technically you can fit four adults inside, the rear seats offer very little room for passengers' knees, so are best left for children.

  • How reliable is it?

    Mitsubishi has performed well on the reliability front in both the 2012 What Car? reliability survey and JD Power survey. Safety kit is good and includes six airbags and stability control.

  • Should I buy one?

    Even with the government grant for electric cars the Mitsubishi i-MIEV is eye-wateringly expensive, particularly when compared with better electric cars like the Nissan Leaf. Running costs should be very low but it will be a while before you make up the difference. The company estimates that 12,000 miles driving will add £115 to your electricity bill. The maximum range of 90 miles will be difficult to achieve if you plan on carrying passengers, driving quickly or driving in cold weather. Benefits include exemption from road tax, the London congestion charge, and free parking in some areas.