By Jennifer Newman on April 29, 2012
With the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and its battery-electric drivetrain, the Japanese automaker has its sights set on the Nissan Leaf. The four-door sedan, which is also marketed as the Mitsubishi i, can go 80 to 100 miles on a single charge, much like the Leaf. Unlike the Leaf, the four-seat i starts at a lower price at $29,125; the 2012 Leaf starts at $35,200. Both vehicles qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2012 i did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The i has just two rear seats, and it has a set of lower Latch anchors in both seating positions. The anchors aren't visible, but they're easy to use because they don't sit too deeply between the back and bottom seat cushions.
Two top tether anchors can be found in the cargo area's floor under large plastic covers. The tethers sit about an inch below the cargo floor. They were easy to use, though they look like an afterthought.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the second row. The seat belt buckles are floppy, which can make it difficult for young children to buckle up independently.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well in the backseat, though there wasn't a lot of legroom for a child. To fit the rear-facing convertible, we had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward. There was so little legroom that our 5-foot-8 tester couldn't even fit into the front passenger seat.
Infant-safety seat: We had the same fit problems with the rear-facing infant-safety seat. The front passenger seat had to be moved all the way forward so the car seat could fit behind it, leaving the front passenger out in the cold.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer