The reasonably priced finish of the brand new automobile market is presently dominated by the Chinese language manufacturers, significantly within the electrical automobile (EV) house. Mitsubishi is seeking to get in on the motion in Australia.

Whereas nearly all of Australians gravitate in direction of diesel-guzzling dual-cab utes and household pleasant SUVs, there’s nonetheless sizzling competitors for patrons seeking to enter the EV possession membership for minimal coin.

BYD, GWM and MG – noticing a sample right here – are duking it out in opposition to one another with sub-$40,000 compact electrical autos. Whereas the amount of those cheaper EVs is nowhere close to Tesla’s scale, the title of “Australia’s most cost-effective EV” nonetheless appears to be fascinating sufficient to battle about.

One of many few legacy manufacturers that hasn’t forgotten about its budget-conscious roots is Mitsubishi, which has been promoting the eK X kei-class electrical automobile for a while in its residence market of Japan.

We examined it on Japanese roads over a yr in the past, however such is the curiosity in doubtlessly coming into the Australian market the model has flown one out for analysis testing – they usually even allowed us a fast stint on native public roads.

Has it obtained what it takes to win over Australian patrons on the lookout for an affordable, city-sized EV? Or is that this greatest left for the bustling streets of Tokyo?

How does the Mitsubishi eK X examine?

View an in depth breakdown of the Mitsubishi eK X in opposition to equally sized autos.

Mitsubishi eK X cutout image


eK X

How a lot does the Mitsubishi eK X price?

Mitsubishi Australia hasn’t indicated what the eK X may cost if it ever makes it Down Below, however within the Japanese home promote it’s priced from 2,398,000 yen – or the equal of AUD $23,435.

The high-spec mannequin we drove with all of the equipment is extra like 2,932,600 yen (AUD $28,660), however even nonetheless if the eK X was to be offered right here for that sort of cash it might turn into the most affordable electrical automobile on sale in Australia.

Presently, the GWM Ora is priced from $35,990 drive-away earlier than incentives. It’s a a lot bigger automobile with extra driving vary, and comes from a challenger model with manufacturing sourced from China.

It’s value noting that some manufacturers have provided comparable merchandise abroad, just like the Volkswagen e-Up! and Skoda Citigo-e iV. Mitsubishi’s personal i-MiEV was most likely properly forward of its time, too, given its conceptual similarity to the eK X.

What’s the Mitsubishi eK X like on the within?

This was my first expertise with a kei automobile, and I used to be instantly impressed with the superb maximisation of house in such a compact package deal, in addition to the accessible expertise in such an reasonably priced automobile.

Measuring simply 3395mm lengthy, 1475mm large and 1655mm tall, the eK X is shorter in size and narrower in width than even a Kia Picanto, however appears to supply higher house for passengers due to its taller peak.

It’s a really open-plan inside idea, with as a lot ground house as doable and the primary two rows being successfully all seats with no actual centre console – although entrance occupants get a neat folding armrest that’s properly padded.

At round 6’1 I didn’t really feel like a cartoon big squeezing into slightly automobile, fairly the alternative truly. The tall roof and minimalist entrance cabin meant that it’s deceptively ethereal and spacious inside.

Plus, you’re confronted with acquainted switchgear and tech gadgetry from fashions increased up within the Mitsubishi vary – dare I say it, it feels extra fashionable and tech-laden than the present ASX or Eclipse Cross in locations.

Our check automobile’s white inside with quilted leatherette may not be to all tastes, however I’m all for choices past simply boring black.

There’s a small configurable digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with loads of widgets and layouts to make sure you have the knowledge you need, and sitting atop the dashboard is the acquainted 9.0-inch touchscreen from Mitsubishi and Nissan fashions just like the Outlander and Triton.

The whole lot is inside simple attain, and the tactile multifunction controls on the steering wheel are good too. Actually, it’s the identical tiller you’ll discover in lots of Nissan merchandise, although the tough leather-based trim isn’t fairly as upmarket.

Beneath the touchscreen you’ll discover vents and contact capacitive controls for the local weather controls, a slot to your cellphone that extends forward of the entrance passenger, a stubby shift-by-wire selector with buttons for the one-pedal drive mode, in addition to auto park help – bear in mind, our Japan-spec check automobile got here absolutely loaded.

The shiny end over the contact controls would shortly appeal to finger prints, nevertheless it’s in any other case pretty simple to make use of and clearly labeled. You even get a digital rear mirror within the spec examined.

There’s good adjustment within the driver’s seat and steering wheel to get comfy, even for those who’re taller than common like myself.

Visibility out all angles is superb due to the tall physique and plentiful glasshouse, and there’s first rate storage within the dash-mounted cupholders and numerous open cubbies to your odds and ends.

Maybe extra spectacular is the rear lodging. With a sliding two-seat rear bench, the eK X presents nearly palatial second-row house to the purpose the place lots of bigger automobiles needs to be ashamed.

I simply had sufficient house for my legs and toes behind my very own driving place, and headroom in spades due to the tall and boxy roofline.

There are different neat touches too, like netted pockets to your cellphone or pockets on the again of the entrance passenger seat, cupholders nestled within the doorways, in addition to ISOFIX anchors on the rear seats with high tethers.

You get a cupholder in every door forward of the armrest too. Honestly, this transcends conventional segments by way of rear seat house.

All that second-row adjustability and house means the boot isn’t fairly as massive.

You possibly can slide the rear seats ahead to open up extra capability, they usually additionally fold ahead – although it leaves a noticeable hump from the boot ground to the seat backs.

Take into account it is a kei-class automobile is designed for metropolis use quite than loading up for household street journeys, however a lightish grocery run or just a few small baggage is pretty much as good because it will get with all seats in use.

What’s below the bonnet?

The Mitsubishi eK X is powered by slightly electrical motor on the entrance axle.

Mannequin Mitsubishi eK X
Electrical motor setup Single electrical motor, entrance
Whole system energy 47kW (2302-10,455rpm)
Whole system torque 195Nm (0-2302rpm)
Pushed wheels Entrance-wheel drive
Battery 20kWh li-ion
Weight 1060-1080kg
Claimed vary 180km (WLTC)
Power consumption (claimed) 12.4kWh/100km (WLTC)

Mitsubishi’s media launch for the Japanese market doesn’t element charging specs, although the eK X presents each Kind 1 and CHAdeMo ports for AC and DC charging.

In keeping with JDM specs, the eK X will take round 8 hours to totally cost through AC200V/14.5A ‘common’ charging, or 40 minutes to 80 per cent utilizing ‘fast’ charging.

How does the Mitsubishi eK X drive?

We have been afforded a brief stint behind the wheel of the eK X below supervision of a Mitsubishi Australia consultant.

Within the hour or so-long interval we had within the driver’s seat, we drove in and across the northern suburbs of Melbourne, together with the Keilor Park enterprise district, in addition to on the high-speed Metropolitan Ring Highway.

The eK X could solely quote measly outputs on paper, however its compact measurement and first rate torque means it will get alongside effective for those who’re not anticipating one thing to essentially zing in direction of the velocity restrict.

It’s clean, refined and linear in its acceleration response, and being electrical it’s fairly quiet too, save for the high-pitched whirring of the e-motor below load.

Needless to say 195Nm from relaxation is as a lot as some turbocharged mainstream hatchbacks, and this factor weighs a smidgen over 1.0 tonne.

The Mitsubishi eK X feels properly suited to city and metropolis environments, the place its torquey electrical motor presents easy efficiency and its teeny dimensions don’t really feel misplaced.

Its tall physique means you’ll be able to really feel the physique lean in turns, however the floor-mounted battery pack retains the centre of gravity decrease down and the correct and properly calibrated driver controls makes this really feel like a much bigger, extra substantial automobile.

Punch it off the road and it will get as much as 40-60km/h shortly (nearly), and it definitely responds with extra enthusiasm and fewer noise than one thing like a Toyota Yaris Hybrid, not to mention a naturally aspirated Kia Picanto.

The pedal button subsequent to the shifter prompts a pseudo one-pedal driving mode, however very like the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV and the likes of Nissan e-Energy hybrids, it slows the automobile all the way down to round 10-15km/h after which tapers regen off to permit the driving force to regain management.

Don’t assume this little electrical field on wheels can’t deal with a freeway run both, as a result of it’s succesful.

The high-spec automobile we had on check was decked out with Mitsubishi’s Mi-Pilot freeway assistant, the identical tech accessible on the Outlander in addition to the Nissan Qashqai and X-Path (referred to as ProPilot in Nissan’s vary).

Adaptive cruise management and lane centring are activated by a single button push on the steering wheel, and the eK X will fortunately cruise alongside at 100km/h alongside a lot bigger automobiles whereas staying centred in its lane.

It remained surprisingly planted and secure at freeway speeds, and the trip wasn’t too unhealthy both. That stated, its kei-class roots begin to emerge because the speeds rise, with loads of street and wind noise permeating the cabin.

Take into account there’s not a complete lot of vary on provide from the small 20kWh battery pack for touring stints both. Mitsubishi quotes 180km per cost on the Japanese WLTC check cycle, although a just about absolutely charged automobile was displaying nearer to 160km after we first set off.

However remembering the premise of a kei automobile, the freeway stuff ought to solely be occasional anyway, and the attainable value means it is a well-equipped zero-emissions second automobile for placing across the metropolis with sufficient within the figurative tank for the odd freeway jaunt, if wanted.

What do you get?

Two grades can be found in Japan.

eK X P highlights:

  • 14-inch metal wheels
  • 7.0-inch LCD cluster
  • Local weather management
  • Fabric seat trim

eK X G provides:

  • 14-inch alloy wheels
  • LED entrance fog lights
  • Black physique cladding
  • Roof spoiler
  • Heated seats, steering wheel
  • 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • USB-A and USB-C ports

Is the Mitsubishi eK X protected?

Being Japan-only at this stage, there’s no ANCAP or Euro NCAP security information for the eK X.

Normal security equipment in Japan consists of:

  • AEB incl. Pedestrian, Bike owner detection
    • Ahead collision warning
    • Misacceleration prevention help
  • Computerized excessive beam
  • Hill begin help
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane preserve help
  • Lead automobile departure alert
  • Parking sensors entrance, rear
  • Site visitors signal recognition

It’s also possible to specify the eK X with the complete Mi-Pilot suite which brings adaptive cruise management with lane protecting and lane centring assists, in addition to a semi-autonomous parking assistant and encompass cameras.

Given its tiny dimensions with restricted crumple zones, one compromise of the eK X’s packaging is the unlikelihood of it reaching a five-star ANCAP security score.

It has a five-star score from Japan’s NCAP crash check agency, however the lack of a central airbag and its slender physique imply it wouldn’t earn the identical in Australia or Europe in opposition to the newest standards.

How a lot does the Mitsubishi eK X price to run?

If it have been to be offered in Australia, the eK X would doubtless be lined by the model’s 10-year, 200,000km guarantee supplied you service in accordance with the service schedule inside Mitsubishi’s vendor community.

Mitsubishi Australia additionally covers the high-voltage drive battery within the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid for eight years or 160,000 kilometres – whichever comes first.

Given the eK X and Outlander PHEV each utilise 20kWh li-ion drive batteries, it wouldn’t be stunning in the event that they have been successfully the identical models and lined by the identical guarantee if each have been offered right here.

Service pricing could be topic to the eK X’s launch in Australia.

CarExpert’s Tackle the Mitsubishi eK X

The Mitsubishi eK X presents a really particular answer for a really particular sub-section of the Australian new automobile market, however there may very well be some potential there.

If it is available in on the proper value, and a few Australians may change their mindset to align with the extra pragmatic method of the Japanese and Europeans in relation to measurement and packaging, one thing just like the eK X may make an affect.

Whereas EV costs are slowly coming down because the Chinese language EV value conflict rages, an enormous barrier to buy low- and zero-emissions autos continues to be pricing – loads of individuals nonetheless can’t afford or wish to purchase a automobile over $30,000.

Urbanites could be properly served by one thing really easy to drive on the town and house environment friendly, whereas emissions-conscious households needing an affordable runabout for errands and faculty runs likewise may get lots of one thing just like the eK X.

These are very particular use circumstances for a rustic that also calls for autos be able to all of it. A sub-five-star ANCAP score would render the eK X unsuitable for council and authorities fleets, and the brief vary limits its attraction to anybody shopping for this as a major automobile needing the occasional longer journey.

The quirky appears to be like can also polarise, however actually value is essentially the most important issue. Something above $30,000 and the little Mitsi is knocking on the door of the GWM Ora, BYD Dolphin and MG 4, and would doubtless be forged apart just like the i-MiEV.

I’d nonetheless like to see it come right here, particularly if a future replace brings about extra vary – fingers crossed!

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MORE: The whole lot Mitsubishi eK X

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