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!”

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.

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1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) I went out to buy a new washing machine one day and realized that the i looks like a washing machine.

6) 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.

7) 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!

8) I got soaked unplugging the car in the rain.

9) Without a flashlight, it took me two minutes one night to plug the i into the exterior wall outlet.

10) 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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