That was the first thing I heard a complete stranger say right in front of me about the all-electric 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV which the manufacturer lent me for a week of test drives last month. It was to be only the beginning of the kind of attention the car garnered as I drove all around Los Angeles to try it out.
My first thought upon seeing the MiEV being delivered to my door was “cute.” That’s not a word I normally use when discussing automobiles, as most any car deemed “cute” would never normally be on my radar. But the MiEV is, in fact, cute.
The car I was lent was purple – which I found to be a little odd – and it was an egg-shaped, slightly awkward-looking compact car. It sort of resembled my idea of a future car when I used to doodle them on my notebooks back in school. Its wheels were tiny, almost golf-cart sized, and it looked easy to park and fun to drive. After getting instructions on how to charge it and operate the buttons inside, I was left to my own devices with the kind of car I had never driven before: a battery-powered one with no gas tank.
Upon climbing inside the MiEV, I was amazed at just how spacious the interior was. Wow. With tons of headroom and plenty of room to stretch, the interior is way bigger than it looks like it could be from the outside. Up front there is plenty of room for two adults and the back seat was comfortable enough for either a few kids or some adults going on a shorter trip. The visibility out the front window was great. Being over 6 feet tall, I did wish the front driver’s seat went back another inch or so, but it was decently comfortable. The steering wheel, however, didn’t tilt nor telescope, which I did not appreciate as it is at a strange angle. I found myself continually searching for adjustment levers which did not exist.
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