|
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

SMART PHONE REVIEWS
Great gadgets: Top 5 smart phones of 2014Video These state-of-the-art devices do more things right, more often.
WI-FI/BLUETOOTH SPEAKER REVIEWS
First look: Is the Amazon Echo all talk?Video It can play music and answer questions, but its people skills need some polish.
NEW CAR REVIEWS
Exclusive report: Best—and worst—new-car valuesVideo Our scores reveal which cars deliver the biggest bang for your buck.
INTERIOR PAINT REVIEWS
Budget face-lifts: 5 kitchen updates for $250 or less Learn how to add some splash without spending a ton of cash.
PAPER TOWEL REVIEWS
Best everyday cleaning products for big eventsVideo Find the top detergents and paper products from our tough tests.
SPACE HEATER REVIEWS
Space heaters that keep you and your room cozyVideo The latest crop of space heaters we’ve tested have improved safety features,

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