Welcome to the forum - Glad you found us!
ctromley wrote:First post, been lurking for awhile. Learned enough to go out and buy a used i-MiEV. (3000 original miles, cost $8k for essentially a new car - gotta love early adopters who shouldn't be.) It had a checkered past, came off lease and sat in an auction lot for months.
No 'early adopter' helped you get your car - In fact, the opposite is actually the case. There were far too few early adopters willing to pony up nearly $30K for the number of new cars imported in the initial offering. After too many unsold cars sat on dealers lots for a year, Mitsu ended up leasing them for $99 a month for 24 months. Thanks to a ridiculously high residual, virtually none of those who leased the cars were willing to buy them at the end of the lease - The price of new ones had fallen so much by then that some people did opt to buy a new one for essentially the same money rather than buying the one they had previously leased
That left a glut of lease returns about 2 1/2 years ago and there were some real bargains to be had. When we bought our original SE new in May of 2012 it was about $30K and we snapped up the last SE they had. They had several SE Premium models with QC, Nav, back-up camera, Blue Tooth and the HD entertainment system, but the sticker on those was about $4K more and very few buyers opted to spend the extra, so many of the cars which went to lease were the best equipped models. Two years later, we bought an SE Premium with 3,900 miles for only $8,700 - Like yours, essentially a brand new car for about 1/4 of what it cost new. We really liked all the extra features of the SE Premium models, but we weren't willing to pay an extra $4K for them when we bought our new one. Buying a lease return was a win-win all around!
Nobody appreciates a well handling car more than me. My 'other car' is an R package Mazda Miata which came with the oversized sway bars, stiffer springs and the highly damped Bilstein struts. Going from that to our iMiEV's is a real shock, to say the least. Yes, Mitsu kept virtually all of the 1900 pound kei car suspension, including the tiny front wheels and tires and put that under the 2750 pound iMiEV basically unchanged, other than the stiffer springs to carry the extra weight. What we got was an understeering pig which hates to be pressed hard into the corners. Do that often and you're going to be buying front tires every few thousand miles. I assume we did get a larger sway bar because the car doesn't roll over when pressed in the turns - It just doesn't turn!
The biggest problem is the kei car had about a 60/40 rear heavy weight distribution and the iMiEV is nearly 50/50 - Keeping the same suspension would be something akin to putting a 911 Porsche suspension under a Mustang
PV1 wrote:Although I don't know as much about suspension as others, the rebound has always seemed dampened to me. This is most notable when travelling over a speed bump too quickly, when it feels like the tires come off the ground because the suspension didn't extend quickly enough. Granted, the suspension doesn't extend very far when jacking the car up, either.
I agree - I don't find the springs to be lightly damped either. Very little rebound when you hit a bump . . . . . it just doesn't turn well. Good luck with making a good handling car out of the stock bones of an iMiEV - It would be cheaper to buy an old Miata if you like having fun in the twisties!