Aug
27

The 2012 Mitsubishi: looks a lot like a washing machine.

I was dining in a noisy Italian restaurant with friends on Saturday when my wife shouted across the table: “Kathy wants to see your eye.”

“My what?”

“Your eye. Kathy wants to see your eye.”

Kathy, sitting beside my wife, was grinning. See my eye? I figured she wanted to see my eyes, so I took off my glasses and proudly flashed my baby browns.

“Not your eyes, you idiot,” my wife said as Kathy broke into hysterics, “your i—the electric car!”

Test Drive: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Platinum

Oh. That. Well, after the week I had with the Mitsubishi i, I was willing to let Kathy drive it home. In previous blogs, we have lauded the merits of this all-electric vehicle, which is currently part of Consumer Guide’s long-term test-car fleet. But recently, a series of uncool things have happened during my time with the i.

  • While driving about 33 mph on a curvy, wet (but not puddly) highway exit ramp, I fishtailed, losing control for about 3-4 seconds. Note than none of the several cars in front of me or behind me—all of which were going the same speed as I was—had a problem. Blame it on the car’s rear-wheel drive, rear-weight bias, and tiny tires.
  • My wife was embarrassed to drive in this funny-looking “progressive” car. Her prediction that people would make fun of us came true: Two guys in a Dodge pointed and chuckled. “See! They’re laughing at us!” she said.
  • Driving in B mode maximized the regenerative brakes, but the result was a “reverse” feeling that I felt in the pit of my stomach whenever I took my foot off the brake pedal.
  • While stuck at a light, I endured the long, disapproving stare of a rough-looking character, who panned the car with disdain. I’m sure he wanted to beat me up.
  • I went out to buy a new washing machine one day and realized that the i looks like a washing machine.
  • This tall, boxy, light vehicle was battered around on the highway on a moderately windy day. I can’t imagine what would happen during a gusty storm—especially on the exit ramps.
  • Plugging in an EV is not always easy. We have a long, narrow driveway with a basketball stand in the middle, which required me to drive around it and onto the neighbor’s lawn to get to the electrical outlet. Sorry, Howard!
  • I got soaked unplugging the car in the rain.
  • Without a flashlight, it took me two minutes one night to plug the i into the exterior wall outlet.
  • Because the A/C drains the battery, I felt compelled to always drive with the windows down. While stopping at a light, I was flipping channels and landed on Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Sure enough, a young woman (with her window down) stopped next to me at that very moment. Man, did I get that station off in a hurry.

“So there was this guy listening to that Rod Stewart “Sexy” song—and he was driving an electric car.”

“Oh, my God!”

“What a dork.”

This week, I want a different car.

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