2012 Mitsubishi i Photo
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The 2012 Mitsubishi i comes with most of the same features as the Nissan Leaf, at a price that's thousands lower.
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The alternative is to rely on the i-MiEV's included 120-volt charger (which itself requires a dedicated 15-amp outlet), though you'll have to live with a 22.5-hour time to a full charge.
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While the cabin of the Mitsubishi i might feel like that of a typical subcompact, its equipment set is definitely not that of a bargain-basement small car. Two models of the i will be offered—a base ES and premium SE model. The base i stands as a strong value, including air conditioning, a four-speaker, 100-watt sound system, keyless entry, power accessories, and a six-way-adjustable driver's seat. Also included is a remote system that allows users to pre-activate the climate control and charging timer to help preserve driving range and optimize comfort.

The SE will include a more attractive two-tone instrument panel, eight-speaker, 360-watt sound, leather steering-wheel and shift-knob trim, upgraded door trim with cloth inserts, premium seats, fog lamps, and matte-metallic inserts. Also available will be a remote system for climate control and charging. Both models will include a security system and a heated driver’s seat with timer.

Unless you have a charging station at work that you can use daily (and plan to very rarely charge at home), you'll want to get the Eaton 220V charging system, at a cost of $700 plus installation—arranged through Best Buy stores. Otherwise, on a standard 110V household outlet the i will take about 22.5 hours to charge from zero to full.

Another extremely useful feature that's optional on the i is a DC fast-charging system. Using the Chademo charging standard—if you happen to be in a place like Portland, where DC quick chargers are publicly accessible—the MiEV's battery can then be charged from zero up to 80 percent in between 20 and 30 minutes.

Major options include a $150 Cold Zone package (on either model) that adds a battery warming system plus heated side mirrors, and on the SE trim, a Premium Package, bringing a hard-drive-based navigation system with rear camera, USB port, and FUSE hands-free link. That package also includes the aforementioned Chademo quick-charge system.

The only thing that the Mitsubishi i is missing, compared to rivals like the Nissan Leaf, is a sophisticated display system; instead, the i's trip computer is about what you'd find in any affordable subcompact. Depending on your wants and needs, you might find that refreshing, or somewhat off-putting.


The 2012 Mitsubishi i comes with most of the same features as the Nissan Leaf, at a price that's thousands lower.

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