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Is Mitsubishi Motors being a tease? American subcompact and microcar fans may soon go postal when they discover that the automaker has quietly brought over two of its i-Cars to the U.S. where they are running about in currently wet Los Angeles, California.
"We will drive it to get customers' comments," states Hiroshi Harunari, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. "We will study things like which size engine is suitable for the U.S." Currently, the i-Car uses a 660cc turbocharged engine which, while not exactly peppy, puts up around 40 mpg.

Mitsubishi is also testing the i-Car in the U.K.

[Source: Automotive News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why won't Mitsubishi bring the i now?if i sold them in Puerto Rico the streets would be flooded with micro cars,it would be a raging sucess!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      40mpg is not very impressive for a car that looks like that and is so small.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Zverg said: "Am I the only one that thinks that 40mpg is really pathetic for a car this size?"

      Well, it depends on how you look at it. First, there are some drivers like me who yearn for cars that come in tiny packages, so while MPG may be important, the form factor is also important. The other thing to consider is that 40mpg may be for city driving. I am willing to bet that cruising mileage might be closer to 50.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Am I the only one that thinks that 40mpg is really pathetic for a car this size?

      I was reading about this car just the other day, it looks so happy :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      There's a useful U.K. review here:

      http://www.autocar.co.uk/FirstDrive_Summary.asp?RT=217588

      Seems like a city-streets-only proposition. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
      • 9 Years Ago
      They should just forget a crappy gas engine and go the Smart Car route, a small turbocharged diesel in it should easily get over 60 MPG.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The highway mileage probably isn't too great because of the fact that it only has 660cc, and no matter whether such a small displacement is turbocharged and intercooled (as this is) and still produces 63 horsepower (which this does - and this is phenomenal coming from about 40 CUBIC INCHES of displacement - or 1/10th of my 1968 Pontiac's) - the fact is, it revs at 4000 rpm at 60 mph (gearing made necessary by the fact that it is such a small displacement moving a A-class car). The high-speed revs at 60 mph wastes fuel, but if the car were geared down so it revved like a 400 cu.in. V8 in a '68 Pontiac (2000 rpm at 60), as soon as anything resembling a modest hill were encountered, it would bog down / have to shift down and rev.

      Remember two things. The actual physical size (dimensions) and 660 cc displacement are mandated by the Japanese government because this is a "Kei" car.

      Next. This car is intended as a primarily city car, whereas it is capable of (eventually) getting to 80 mph and interstate use (maybe with earplugs?), the primary purpose is getting about in town.

      Now, in real-world use, 40 mpg city is not too bad. Of course my Prius does better and is bigger, but it also costs $22,000 minimum.

      The downside of this car might be if the price is too high. IF (big IF) Mitsu could bring it in for the Japanese price of about $11,000, I think it might have a good market. US prices typically don't compare to British prices - they're constantly ripped off on car prices (50% of the cars sold there are sold to companies to give as so-called "fleet" - company perk - cars - thus the average joe and jane who buy cars in the UK pay 30-50% more than the companies).

      Gas prices are likely to be $3 a gallon plus very soon. Many middle sized towns have absolutely no, to very sporadic and poor bus services. It might be a good fit.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Very easy to get people to buy it here: Create parking spaces especially for ultracompact that is closer to the store. Byproduct, obesity rate goes up.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Great for city folks and commuters, and the turbocharged 660cc engine "should" provide enough "oomph" for US traffic, I'd think.

      Mitsubishi should just "do it" and bring them in, as well as increase production at their Nedcar plant and bring in the Colt cars, too, instead of laying off workers there. They need extra product for the U.S. and the owner of my local gas station and I had a talk last evening - I commented that I figured $3 a gallon in Michigan was going to be the going rate by summer - and she replied "it'll be higher than that."

      She implied $4 per gallon by summer, as her best guess. I then said, well that'll mean $5 a gallon on the east and west coasts then, right? Nod (yes).

      C'mon, Mitsubishi. You've got the excess plant capacity for the "i" and for the Colt in Japan and Holland, respectively.

      Bring 'em on. You'll see your sales going up up up.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, the car actually is quoted as closer to 45-mpg in Japan. They have also discussed using a larger dispacement non-turbo engine in US and Europe. They currently have a 1 liter and 1.1 liter engine that they can fit in the car. Right now the car is a huge hit in Japan (Mitsubishi's only hit)

      Buts let's look at the bigger picture:

      It's a RWD turbo-charged mid-engined car (with optional 4WD in Japan), that weighs less than a Lotus Elise, and seats 4 people comfortably for its size. AND costs a only little over $11k.
      • 9 Years Ago
      With only 40mpg I cant see this doing well in the US. You can get much larger cars that will get near this or better mpg. Now if it got 80mpg then maybe.

      Mitsu should focus on getting the new Lancer and lancer Evo over here ASAP. Then the can work in their MIEV technology in the near future which will be a selling point. And bring over the Evo wagon! At least that has a chance of selling. Want sports car performance and handling but have to haul around your 2.5 kids and the dog, welcome to the Lancer Evolution Wagon. Id so have one of those already if they would bring it to the US, ugly or not. Faster than an S4 Avant and almost half as much money.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The Europeans and Japanese have been building small economical cars for more than 50 years with good gas mileage. Why, because they have always had to pay more for there fuel and some countries tax you on the engine size as well, e.g Italy, Japan.
      Mitsubishi and all the other comapnies should be lobbying the US government and the NHTSA/DOT to get the BIG THREE!, from continuing to building these large Behemoths, that we really do not need...9 to 15mpg is not good, let alone eco-freindly.
      Don't lets kid ourselves $5 to $6 per gallon is not far round the corner as China and India develop and need more energy...the pundits on Wall Street say $100 to $120 per barrel for oil is being predicted as being a possible reality.
      Lets get used to smaller more efficient vehicles now and not later, when it may be too late. The infrastructure for public transport has over the years been dismantled,with the help of the big three car companies.
      So small economical cars like the Mitsubishi etc are a must for the future.
      By the way the SMART car and Mitsubishi-"i" are quite fun to drive and also quite big inside. Just look at the OLD Austin mini and new BMW MINI for comparison...small on the outside but big on the inside.
      Also the technology is there but not really being pushed, because BIG OIL's profits would be affected in the long run by high mileage vehicles both gas and diesel types (drive a VW Jetta TDI-read deisel, no slouch and good mileage- I got 38mpg at 75mph on a recent trip with three people between Paris and Frankfurt).The BIG THREE car companies need to start changing there mind set as well and the "Kei" type cars are a real good beginning.