|
Preview: To see full article and/or Ratings, Subscribe Now!

When it comes to electric cars, Ford shows Mitsubishi how it’s done

Reviews of the Ford Focus Electric and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Consumer Reports magazine: March 2013

 

They’re easy to maintain, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive to operate. Still, plug-in electric cars haven’t yet clicked with mainstream drivers, largely because of their limited range, long charging time, and relatively high sticker prices. Alas, as the song goes, “it’s not easy being green.”

So should drivers who travel only short distances each day even consider an electric car as a way to save fuel and money? The answer might depend as much on the car as it does on driving habits.

We tested the Ford Focus Electric and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which join the previously tested Nissan Leaf as the first widely available all-electric vehicles. The Focus is the nicest of the three. It builds on the great handling and refinement of the conventional Focus and adds instant, silent power and the second best fuel efficiency we’ve recorded, the equivalent of 107 mpg (or 3.18 miles per kilowatt-hour).

The smaller i-MiEV squeezes out the equivalent of 111 mpg overall, or 3.28 miles per kWh, making it the most energy-­efficient car we’ve tested. But in almost every other way, the i-MiEV is everything we feared an electric car might be. It’s slow, chintzy, cramped, and so far off the mark that we often felt it was closer to being a glorified golf cart than an actual car.

Yes, the Focus Electric costs about $41,000, compared with $33,630 for the i-MiEV. But if you’re sold on going gas free, the Focus is clearly the better choice. Both cars qualify buyers for a $7,500 federal income tax credit, which offsets a good chunk of the cost. We also suggest that electric-car owners buy a dedicated 240-volt Level 2 charger, which should cost $750 to $1,600 and can provide a full charge in just a few hours.

Sign In or Subscribe to see full article and/or Ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

NEW CAR REVIEWS
Check out the scary-good car deals for Halloween The big savings you'll find on these models will have you howling.
HDTV ANTENNA REVIEWS
Will cutting the cable-TV cord really save you money? Our TV guy has run the numbers—savings aren't guaranteed.
Air purifiers
AIR PURIFIER REVIEWS
Change your furnace filter now to prevent bad air later This easy maintenance chore will save wear and tear on your furnace, too.
KITCHEN PLANNING GUIDE
You can remodel your kitchen for as little as $5,000 You don't have to spend a ton to get some of our top-rated appliances.
HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS & GUIDE
Expert picks: Best holiday gift ideas under $200Video Holiday-shopping season is coming. Find out what to buy.
INVESTMENT GUIDE
A new kind of financial adviser comes at a discount Low-cost robo-advisers offer the basics but not much else—yet.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more