There's a Long List of 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Problems

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV was not a reliable electric car. What problems should you be on the lookout for?
Written by Andrew Kidd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
At one point in its history,
beat many of its contemporaries to market with a highway-capable fully electric car: the
i-MiEV. But if that name doesn't ring a bell for you, you shouldn't feel like you missed out on much. The 2012 Mitsubishi-MiEV proved to be quite a disappointment for many people.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV biggest problem? It drove like a golf cart

With an abysmal 0-to-60 time of 14.7 seconds, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV wasn't going to break any land speed records. It was also one of the cheapest electric cars on the market for a reason, with a 63-horsepower electric powertrain boasting a 59-mile range and a six-hour recharge time.
Despite being the most "efficient" electric car available at the time,
Consumer Reports
wrote that it "exemplifies all of the stereotypes of electric cars being little more than fancy golf carts." Ouch.
With a starting MSRP of just under $30,000 in 2011, it's what you might consider a little underwhelming—especially compared with today's electric vehicle offerings.
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How reliable was the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

Reliability is a bit of a mystery, as Consumer Reports has no detailed reliability data to give and anecdotes aren't necessarily an objective gauge of such. 
The publication notes that it normally needs reports from 200 to 400 samples for each vehicle model year to develop a reliability rating—which can be tough for less popular vehicles like the i-MiEV, which didn't provide a large enough sample size for a reliability score.
But one tell about a vehicle's reliability is how many times it has been recalled for the same issue.
The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been recalled six times by NHTSA. The first time was in 2012 for potential airbag deployment issues, followed by two recalls in 2013 and 2014 regarding a brake vacuum pump failure. 
It was recalled for airbag issues twice more in 2015 and 2017 for possible failure to deploy and for a rupturing inflator that could send metal fragments into the car's occupants. The final recall was in 2019, again for a sudden loss of braking assist.
If you're keeping track, that's three times each for airbags and brakes/hydraulics. If you're buying a used vehicle, you'd probably steer clear of the i-MiEV based on that alone.

Was it a good car to drive?

Absolutely not, at least according to Consumer Reports. Apart from the hellishly sluggish acceleration—some of the worst reported by the publication at the time—the i-MiEV's ride comfort is terrible while its small, zippy appearance betrays poor handling, slow steering and a bit of tipping while cornering.

Can you still buy a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

Yes, but why would you want one, especially when you can find similarly priced electric vehicles with gobs more range and much better styling and handling? 
If you're hellbent on getting one, we won't stop you; you can expect to pay between $4,750-$5,650 for a used model, per Consumer Reports. But that's assuming the battery still delivers its full range more than a decade later—or that its recalls have been addressed.

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