New York 2008: The Mitsubishi i is A-OKei

Click image for a high-res gallery of the turbocharged Mitsubishi i

I'm the resident kei car obsessive here at Autoblog. That means I'm the guy who actually thinks, "That is awesome," when he reads the (Google translated) announcement of yet another Suzuki Wagon R variant. Hell, I did two posts on the one-off Hello Kitty Mitsubishi i. Keis are cool. So, you can imagine how happy I was to see that Mitsubishi brought along a small fleet of its i minicars to the New York Auto Show this year.

Foreground: i MiEV, Background: i TurboMitsubishi's focus at the show was squarely on the the all-electric i MiEV, which goes on sale in Japan next year and will be tested in North America this fall. The gasoline-powered version was on hand, too, though. I drove the i MiEV for AutoblogGreen, and was a passenger in a black i Turbo. Head over to AutoblogGreen for driving impressions of the i MiEV, and note that many of the observations there apply to both the electric and gasoline-powered cars.

The i Turbo you see here is powered by a 660cc 3-cylinder that delivers around 64 horsepower. It's got around half the torque of the electric i MiEV and it's buzzier-sounding (obviously), but it felt just as well-suited to city driving in New York as its battery-powered counterpart. It can comfortably transport four adults and a bit of cargo, too. Try doing that in a smart.

Mitsubishi is monitoring public reaction to the cars this week, so if you go to the show and like what you see, make sure to let them know. Me? I'll happily take one in black -- with a DAMD kit for optimum not-exactly-badassedness.

Head to AutoblogGreen for a full i MiEV review and video.

All photos Copyright © 2008 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.


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