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Mitsubishi Introduces the i Minicar

The rear-midship layout of the i.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today launched its new i minicar at Mitsubishi dealerships throughout Japan. Using a newly developed platform with an original rear-midship layout that mounts the engine forward of the rear axle line, the new i series includes 2WD and 4WD models.

The i platform is also the basis for Mitsubishi’s just-introduced Concept-CT series/parallel hybrid. (Earlier post.)

i Emissions
NOx 0.025
NMHC 0.025
CO 1.15
CO2 126

The i uses a new 3-cylinder, 660cc turbocharged engine with variable valve timing (earlier post) that delivers 47kW (63 hp) of power and 94 Nm of torque, coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission. The car delivers fuel consumption of 5.43 l/100km (43.3 mpg US) in the 2WD model, 5.56 l/100km (42.3 mpg US) in the 4WD version.

Emissions are 50% lower than the Japanese 2005 Low-Emission Vehicle requirements. The i emits 126 grams of CO2/km.

The rear-midship layout (which is also used in the Concept-CT), allows the front wheels to be placed as far forward as possible, and enables a wheelbase of 2,550 mm for the i—substantially longer than in any minicar to date.

Prices range from ¥1.3 million to ¥1.6 million (about US$11,300 to US$14,000); Mitsubishi is targeting sales of 5,000 units per month.



I'll buy one in the 4 wheel drive version when it gets to the states.

Even better would be one with the wheel motors and a diesel generator. Would likely get 100mpg plus.


...And don't forget the short bursts of power that a few supercaps would provide as well with those wheel motors.
Though in an effort to save space they have removed what little protection was available in a frontal impact. The engine in the back idea is great if you have a van where the cabin is located higher then most cars, or a sportscar that has plenty of nose. But not in a car like the i Minicar.

tom deplume

Do you really prefer to have a hot engine on your lap?


The hot engine would come close to your lap, but at least you could keep your legs :)
That said though, I will admit this car has a reasonable nose. As long as the cage is well designed, it may be alright in a frontal impact. Suppose these cars are looking more into the future where everyone drives similar automobiles in bussy cities where speeds are low.


I find it a little bit too smooth. Looks like a stone or a gem. But as the Mitsubishi CEO said: i-minicar targets aging baby-boomer. And I'm a child of aging babing-boomer. Maybe that's the reason I don't like that much. Anyway, very nice innovation on the MIEV.


Hey guys,

About the nose-crushing thing:

1. In in-house testing the i received the equivalent of a 5-star JNCAP rating (top of its class) for frontal impacts.

2. I know what it looks like, but if you take the skin off the thing there is actually the same amount of distance between driver and front bumper as you will find in other cars in its class.

3. Instead of an engine (which is a big lump of metal), Mitsu plugged in a front "crumple zone" which absorbs impact to increase safety, avoiding the "billiard-ball" syndrome which puts the engine in your lap.

That said, it's still a very small car, and I would be afraid to see how it stacks up against a Mack truck.


I rid in an Mitsubishi i recently.
The center of gravity of this car was low, and riding comfort was very steady.
This car was a movement like the middle-size sports car.
I did not think of this car in three cylinder engine of 660cc.
Ecology was united to sports, and I think that it is a good car, and a good engine


does anyone know if this car or the 3 cylinder engine plan on coming to america? i would certainly buy one of those fuel efficient cars if it were offered in america. imagine having a hybrid version of a 3 cylinder engine.

Darrell Sheets

Most cars you see on USA roads have one person, occasionally 2. A vehicle like this would be ideal for commuting and intracity driving...very efficient use of fuel and space. And in our fun cities where there is never a parking place, small cars like this would double or triple the parking space available. The big question to me is: Why can't a US company do something like this and sell it here? We see great little cars like the i being developed and nothing ever comes to the states. This and the Swatch are miles ahead of the Yaris and Fit which seem to be just smaller vercions of the Corolla and Civic.


there's no manual transmission type? or will there be? where else other than japan has this car gets into the market?

this car really sweet looking. i love it. i feel like selling my current car now and buy this Mitsubishi I

Phil Meske

What a great, forward looking vehicle. I would buy one in a heartbeat, if the U.S. consumer gets the opportunity. I would gladly drive it on my 20+ mile highway route every day to send a message that challenges the supersize mentality prevalent in the states. Recently I drove the Honda Fit and was considering purshasing one but after seeing and reading about the "i" I may hold off in hopes they make it across the Pacific; after all a version of the SMART car will be here next year.


Firstly, when i see the model for MITSUBISHI "i", i think that's a bad car because the model that is not reasonable with height is more than Honda Fit's height, but i'm suprised when i read the spec of "i", because it has powerful engine.
The engine is very efficient but very powerful, i see the stability of its car.
I'm suprised because, although the height is high for me, but MITSUBISHI "i" still can run stable. Now MITSUBISHI has a good design and good engine.

David Glass

We need cars like this in the US. It makes me angry that we don't.

Daniel Silva

this car was tested in the us by different car magazines, if car is imported , is very possible will be wider by few inches than the japenese the way i already wrote my deposit and if i can get it here , i will imported from japan

carlos escar

how do i become a dealer


mr gasket

My questions are...

Does this vehicle meet with full European Saftey requirements, or is it being imported in limited numbers to avoid having to meet them? Are there any crash tests avaílable for viewing in the internet? How was the mitsubishi performance parts doing? How's its engine and speed? ....

Looking at the pictures available I can not believe it would meet European Front, Rear or Side reqirements.

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