The Mitsubishi i is a car that grows on you.
Designed by MMC, the all-new, all-alloy, petrol engine has a displacement of 660cc and is intercooled and turbo-charged. While this is a reasonable size of unit for a motorcycle, most ‘petrol-heads’ would find it laughable in a car but, the performance is very respectable. The engine features the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system or MIVEC for short and produces 57bhp at 6,000rpm and 85Nm (63lb ft) of torque at 3,000rpm.
The 0-62mph time is 14.9 seconds in this whizzy, lightweight car and the top speed is an adequate 84mph but, as is their nature, the 3-cylinder engine lets you know that it is approaching its limit a little before that.
A 4-speed automatic gearbox is fitted, as standard and a manual gearbox isn’t an option. It doesn’t have a sequential shift facility but is a good deal smoother than many of it rivals, particularly the smart.
Potential customers may not be overjoyed with the £9,084, OTR price tag but the fuel consumption figures might put a smile on some faces. For the urban cycle, the official figure is 52.3mpg; the extra-urban is 56.0mpg and the combined works out as 54.6mpg. Even better is the CO2 measurement of just 114g/km, which puts the i in VED Band B, that’s just £35 per annum and the Insurance is Group 4.
Despite the fact that the i looks too tall and thin to be any fun out of town, it is quite stable on fast bends but can’t be expected to have the inherent qualities of a low-slung sports car or hot-hatch. Motorway journeys do not produce the expected uneasiness but during the test period, there were exceptionally high winds, which did cause the tall car to want to drift across into the adjoining lanes, but strangely, passing trucks didn’t produce the same effect.
The i has an aluminium, space-frame chassis with crumple zones, front and rear and energy absorbing sides. It hasn’t undergone the EuroNCAP tests but MMC believes that the i will gain a 5-star rating in the JNCAP tests back home. ABS with EBD is standard, as are front airbags, but that is all.
The Mitsubishi i is a car that grows on you. It is fun, funky, practical and very easy to drive. It was voted ‘Car of the Year’ by the Automotive Researchers & Journalists of Japan (RJC) in 2006 along with the top ‘Good Design’ awards, in the same year. When it was launched in the UK in July 2007, it was MMC’s intention to start off with 300 units. However, they had been snapped up within two and a half weeks and the UK is well over half way into the next allocation. I can’t say that I’m surprised; it might be just the car for city-dwellers.10 December 2007
Mitsubishi i Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mitsubishi i|
|Body Type||4-Door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||14.9 Seconds|
|Top Speed||84 mph|
|Transmission||4-Speed Automatic Gearbox|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||56 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 10/12/07)||£9,084 OTR|