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First drive: Mitsubishi i – on sale now



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The Mitsubishi i has been available in the UK since July and has already sold its entire allocation of 300 units.

The cult popularity of the car follows on from its success in Japan, where it has sold 37,000 units in its first year of sales.

Mitsubishi UK is importing 300 more of the Japan-built models to meet high demand from customers.

It has also asked Mitsub–ishi to consider adding a larger 1.0-litre petrol engine to the range next year.

A decision is expected to be made in November at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The i is priced at £8,999 on-the-road in the UK. This makes it more than £2,000 dearer than the Smart ForTwo which it shares an engine with.

However, unlike the ForTwo, i customers get five-doors and a high level of specification.

There’s just one model to choose from in the UK, but it includes automatic transmission, climate control, a six-speaker stereo with CD player, front and rear electric windows and electrically operated and folding door mirrors.

There’s also an alarm immobiliser but it has to be deactivated manually by pushing a transponder unit against a sensor in the dash. This can be a little irritating and highlights the budget quality materials used in the interior of the car.

The i is powered by a 660cc three-cylinder petrol engine which fizzes into life at the rear of the car just like the ForTwo.

Customers won’t be interested in the i’s performance credentials, but will find it comfortable in city centres and surprisingly capable on the motorway too, with a top speed of 90mph.

CO2 emissions are 114g/km, putting it in band B for tax. This will make it exempt from the London congestion charge if the proposed changes go through.

An oil change is needed every 6,000 miles or each year, with major services every 12,000 miles, but Mitsubishi is offering a three-service deal for £150.

The i is still expensive compared to a lot of other city cars like the Ford Ka, Fiat Panda and Toyota Aygo, which all have starting prices under £8,000.

However, none of these cars offer quite the same impact in terms of original design.

This is closer in spirit to the Mini, Daihatsu Copen and Fiat 500.

Price: £8,999
Engines: 660cc turbo petrol
Transmission: Four-speed auto
Performance: 0-62mph 14.9 secs, top speed 84mph
Efficiency: 54.6mpg, 114 g/km
Cap RV 3yr/30k: £3,625 (40%)
Rivals: Smart Fortwo, Citroën C1, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107, Ford Ka
Strengths: Quirky styling, spacious
Weaknesses: No manual option
Opportunity: Spacious alternative to the Smart Fortwo
Threat: Rivals with bigger engines
USP: Head turning design with high spec

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