JAPAN [updated 22.11.06]: Tiny Mitsubishi wins tech award

By just-auto.com editorial team | 21 November 2006

Mitsubishi Motors' tiny 'i' mini passenger car has won the "Most Advanced Technology" Special Achievement Award, voted for by the Car of the Year Japan's Executive Committee.

The i is the first mini passenger car to win this award, according to the automaker. Mitsubishi's Galant/Legnum line won Car of the Year Japan for 1996-1997.

The i, which is expected on sale in the UK from mid-2007, was, MMC said, developed as an innovative premium small car that overcomes the trade-offs traditionally associated with the category: design versus comfortable interior space; comfortable interior space versus impact safety.

The automaker developed a pioneering (and space-saving) "rear-midship layout" that mounts the engine forward of the rear axle line that permits three claimed innovations within the diminutive minicar's category's dimensional constraints: futuristic styling; good handling and comfortable ride; and excellent multidirectional impact safety.

"This highly original exterior and interior design, which is delivered by the ingenious platform, brought the award," MMC added.