Hybrids & Electrics

The 2017 BMW i3 Is a Great Used Electric Car That Costs Less Than You Think

To the dismay of anyone who can’t imagine a world without gasoline-powered cars, electric vehicles (EVs) are taking over the world. As more automakers try to position themselves ahead of the “second phase of growth,” EVs are becoming more interesting. And no other segment has galvanized the EV market much like the luxury models. What once were thought of as merely prototypes have become present-day reality.

We’re now at a point where there is a growing pre-owned EV market featuring decent selections from which to choose. Among them is the 2017 BMW i3. The BMW i3 scores among the highest for reliability and owner satisfaction. Let’s take a quick look at what makes this luxury brand EV such a popular used car.

The BMW i3 gives you the most for your money

Starting with a retail price of between $12,700 and $18,500, Consumer Reports recommended the BMW i3 the best value for the money. It received a score of four out of five for customer satisfaction. In terms of driving experience, the 2017 BMW i3 earned a score of 94 out of 100. Drivers said the EVs “strong acceleration and tight handling” made it a blast to drive. Others boasted that the i3’s electric drive system is “extremely smooth and feels effortless.”

Nonetheless, while praises were many, a few owners of the 2017 BMW i3 complained about things like the “external music device interface” not syncing. Other issues include back-up camera intermittently failing, and Lithium battery problems leading to drivetrain malfunction. Other than a few isolated problems here and there with power equipment, Consumer Reports gave the BMW i3 a fairly good rating.

The BMW i3 offers sufficient performance and handling in the city

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The 2017 BMW i3 is a great choice for buyers looking to own a premium EV at an affordable price. This model year features a larger battery, making the Range Extender (REx) variant less necessary. The pure electric i3 base model has a 114-mile range which should be more than enough for daily commutes in the city or around town. Its electric drive generates close to 170 horsepower. A two-cylinder engine is offered as an option and acts as a generator to increase the range from 70 miles (112.65 km) to approximately 150 miles (241.4 km).

The i3 battery only takes four and a half hours to charge on a 240-volt circuit through the 7.4-kilowatt onboard charger. An aluminum frame and carbon fiber structure reduce its weight significantly. Not only does this contribute to its added range but makes it agile to drive.

According to Edmunds, the money saved not buying the REx model could go towards the Technology + Driving Assistant package. This package includes extras like forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and enhanced widescreen navigation. In terms of safety, U.S. News gave the 2017 BMW i3 a safety rating of 9.9!

The 2017 BMW i3 features a high-end feeling interior

As is expected of BMW, the 2017 i3’s cabin consolidates a futuristic design with eco-friendliness—perfectly matching the EV’s à la mode and state-of-the-art powertrain. The standard four-seat BMW i3 comes with cloth upholstery and heated front seats; leather upholstery is available with higher-level trims. But no matter the trim, passengers have plenty of room and comfort.

Even though the rear pillars look thick, the large square shape of the rear windows leaves visibility for rear-seat passengers unhindered. Additionally, the BMW i3’s cabin is surprisingly quiet. While most owners say the cabin feels high-end, BMW used recycled cloth and responsibly forested wood trim. Depending on one’s taste, such trimmings may feel somewhat “low-rent” compared to interior trims of other German-badged vehicles.

Another stylish feature people appreciate is the i3’s suicide-style rear doors that swing backward instead of forward like most cars. This design is meant to afford passengers ample space while they’re getting in and out. However, the front door must be opened before opening the rear one—something that might seem inconvenient for some.