• Jun 11, 2006

AutoWeek spent a few days with the Mitsubishi i, the company's new microcar, in its native environ of Tokyo, Japan. While acknowledging some problems (seats designed for smaller frames, some ride discipline issues), the magazine came away impressed with its diminutive packaging, nippy handling, and amount of standard equipment.

AW indicates that Mitsubishi has brought over a pair of testers Stateside to see how the urban runabout fairs on North American roads.

Does this presage a move by Mitsubishi to sell the i in the U.S.? Given the company's precarious financial situation and ailing reputation, Autoblog's take is that this is highly unlikely. That said, we can certainly see a market for a vehicle like this in crowded city centers. With rising gas prices and the increasing hip-quotient of small cars in the U.S, thanks to vehicles like the MINI Cooper and Scion xB, a distinctive and thrifty motoring experience might just sell Americans.

[Source: AutoWeek]



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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Requires Flash & knowedge of Japanese: http://mitsubishi-i.jp/
      If oil markets go nuts this car will have a future in the States. Something about an EV version in the works, too.

      It might also have a chance if Apple and Mitsubishi collaborate and co-market the iPod edition that has the built in iPod dock. Just go to the Apple Store, choose your iPod, click "iCar" on the options list, choose powertrain & color, finance online, and pick up at your local Mitsu dealer. Heaven help you if you have 1-Click turned on and your kid or teen accidentally buys you a car while browsing apple.com.
      http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/17/mitsubishi-i-eye-play-car-for-ipod-nano-fans/
      • 8 Years Ago
      @Brian W.
      First, the new Colt would pass the US crash test. In Europe the Colt get 4 of 5 Stars in NCAP-Crash Test. I own the 3 door Model called "CZ3" in Germany and it is with ABS, electronic stability program, 8 Airbags and enough space for 4 passengers. With 95 hp (horse power) I am able to drive faster than 180km/h (112 miles/hour) on german highways with the 1.3 litres engine. My sister drives the new Colt CZC (it's the hard top cabriolet) with 1.5 engine and I must say, that the new colt is quite good. But in my opinion the CZC cabriolet ist only produced for europe. Well I think the new Colt is better and smarter than the Smart 44.

      So long
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like and would be interested in it. I have an 2002 Lancer and like it a lot I would give it to my wife to drive and I would drive this "I".
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice car :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      You know, I usually crap on micro cars (tree huggers and vee-gans).....but this one looks good. Besides, with high gas prices I think we are long overdue for mass micros. Europas and Asians have them, let trim the fat (in more ways thatn one) and bring them here. I see them as an excellent first teen car or even for those who work hard for small change. I really think now is the time to start mass producing micros. If you don't believe me, the heavy drop in truck and SUV sales should be a perfect sign. Also, they'll be less likely to be stolen; I mean come on, have you ever thought about doing a robbery or drive-by in a micro?
      • 8 Years Ago
      We have a ZAP dealer in Exeter NH and they seem to be selling well. This is the SMART that Daimler keeps talking about bringing to the US. One passed me the other day on a dry road doing about 70MPH. Don't know how they would do on an icy road with a semi passing them. I'd rather Mitsubishi bring back the Colt. I was commuting 100 miles a day. Now it's 3 miles per day. I could use something just bigger than a roller skate with all weather protection.
      dan
      • 8 Years Ago
      i =/ smart. durrr
      • 8 Years Ago
      I quite like the idea of this car but if I were to buy one I would want a shorter 2 door version (maybe make it a hatch). I reckon it would be cool market it as a ralliart version and make it manual, theres the possibility to have a new (origional mini)a good sporty second car with some character. Another idea would be to chuck the colt CZT engine back there if it would fit (as stated before 1.5L turbo). The RWD version would be fun too (and lighter) so it should be interesting to see a test on that one. I can't wait to check this thing out in the flesh and maybe even take one for a drive as I see in this vehicle the possibility to have smaller vehicles to be small, RWD and practical just like the japanese cars in the 70s (being a 78 Lancer owner).

      It's not a bad idea with the EV thing #1 mentioned either as the packaging really lends itself to it as the engine already doesn't take up too much space and it is light and holds 4. With MIEV engines that Mitsu have I'm sure they would make good hybrids too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Colt won't pass crash tests here. To fix that and change to left drive with a big engine would cost too much to make it worth it. There is a demand for small cars here but not much profit unless you can sell 100k.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Overall, it seems that the comments above seem in favor of bringing more Mitsus to the states. I think the I car should sell in certain states first and then take if from there. As far as the Colt, that is another good idea.
      If and when Mitsu bring the new Outlander, Lancer and either one of its smaller cars, there is a good chance of success in the U.S.
      • 8 Years Ago
      People keep saying that the "i" would be a great "city" car, but only if you live in the city. I would not want a 660cc engine for 40 minutes on the highway when driving in from the 'burbs.

      However, if you are a city dweller this is a great little car. Parking it is a breeze, fuel economy is great, and you can pretend like you're George Jetson all the time.

      I'll take a Colt Cabriolet, personally.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you intend to work as a travelling salesman in Texas then a microcar probably isn't what you're looking for but if, as most of us do, you commute to work and go to the supermarket then why wouldn'tthis be what you need? Hire a car if you need to make a longer trip and chances are you'll end up saving money and have the chance to thrash the sh*t out of a hire car now and then. What more do you want?
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