Mitsubishi i

Published: 16 February 2007

So they're going to bring the i to Britain, are they?

They certainly are. It's Mitsubishi's answer to the Smart ForTwo - a diminutive four-seater that's 155mm narrower than a Peugeot 107. It was conceived as a K-car for Japan, under the tax breaks for small cars stretching less than 3.4 metres long, 1.48 metres wide and with engines under 660cc and 64bhp.

Ok, so it's pretty small then. But is it really a Smart rival?

Just one model will be sold in the UK for £8999. That's top-end Smart money, but the i car has four seats that'll accommodate adults in comfort; the clever rear-engine packaging liberates a surprising amount of room from such a small package and there is an abundance of equipment. Mitsubishi doesn't expect to sell very many i cars in the UK (just 300 in fact), but they'll be well equipped with auto box, climate control and electric windows and folding door mirrors. Build quality is pretty good, too.

What's under the (rear) bonnet?

The i is powered by a 660cc three-cylinder engine, turbocharged to deliver 64bhp and 69lb ft. It's rear-wheel drive and the four-speed auto is the only transmission offered. Our testers have found the i to be a perfect city tool - nimble and easy to thread through bustling town streets - but it feels less at home when driven out of town, with sluggish performance and wayward handling.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet