True, the i-MiEV is far from perfect, but the engineering is quite solid and well thought out.
It's the little things that make or break a car for me, and the i-MiEV checks nearly all of the little things (speed sensitive wipers, headlights that default to low-beams when turned on, a fully manual climate control system, and something else I thought of this morning but can't remember ), which makes me a very satisfied owner.
It looks goofy, tiny, even cute, but you can't find another car in the US that uses space as efficiently as the i-MiEV does. Don't believe me, trying finding space to install a subwoofer and amplifier, a carputer box for your head unit, or a Playstation 2 and a power inverter. The sub and amp had to be returned (had space for the sub, but wasn't satisfied with the sound), the computer is in the glove box, the power inverter is in a wood box covered in duct tape under the passenger seat (which looks like something home-made that will prevent my car from ever entering a secure area ), and the Playstation 2 is mounted in the secret rear compartment. Or better yet, try (rather don't) to see around a blind curve when coming from a road on the inside of the curve. Only a Smart Fortwo or motorcycle will allow you to get as close to the road as the i-MiEV and still be out of the way of cross-traffic. The lack of a front-end makes it easy to turn off of my road, at either end.
Compare this (not so compact) compact car to other economy compacts, not the more up-scale Nissan LEAF. How does the i-MiEV compare to the likes of the Chevy Spark (gas or EV), Honda Fit, and Ford Fiesta? Honestly, I feel the ride is quite good except for the tendency to react to potholes like they are open manholes, the handling could use a bit less understeer (the Yokohama tires fix this), but overall I wouldn't change the car in these regards. It more than makes up for these issues once you drive the i-MiEV on snow/slush/icy roads. There were several times last winter where I was getting really annoyed with other drivers having trouble pulling away from stoplights, only to realize that's how well the i-MiEV handles bad roads. These were four wheel drive SUVs of all different sizes with good tires on them having more trouble than my rear wheel drive EV with half-worn, all-season, LRR tires on. You just can't beat the smooth, ultra-controlled torque of an electric motor. The i-MiEV seemed to ride on rails over the last two winters.
I've never been more pleased with a car.