The tradition for Autocar road tests like this to end with a five-star verdict. This one doesn’t – because there is still room for ‘evolution’ in this i-MiEV. It didn’t win the event it was designed for. But next year, with a more practised driver and a few mechanical updates, it could. We’d love to see it happen and are withholding the last half star as a motivator.
Even if it does become a winner, though, the i-MiEV’s real legacy could be bigger still. The official line is that this car is an accelerated testbed for the components you’ll find in the current i-MiEV and in Mitsubishi’s new breed of plug-in hybrids.
What MMC is not saying is that the next Lancer Evo is highly likely to be a plug-in hybrid and equally likely to benefit directly from work done on the i-MiEV Evolution. This isn’t just a race car, then; it’s cause for hope that Mitsubishi’s rally-bred performance saloon icon can have a sustainable – and seriously fast and exciting – future.
So there you have it, Evo fans: be careful what you eat for breakfast.