The BMW i3 Is the Best EV to Buy Used For 1 Reason

If you can get past its looks, the BMW i3 is one of the most compelling electric vehicles you can buy, primarily used. Over the years, the BMW i3 has earned above-average reliability ratings and good safety scores too. The 2017 i3 is one of the better model years to buy used because of its performance and practicality. But there’s one main reason to buy this EV used. 

Buying a used i3 can be super affordable 

BMW i3 on display at the 98th European Motor Show
The BMW i3 on display | Getty Images

According to a recent study, the i3 has the highest three-year depreciation from the newest electric vehicles. The i3 has a three-year depreciation rate of 60.4 percent, while the class average is 50 percent. Depending on the mileage, you can find a 2017 i3 for under $20K.

Driving a used 2017 BMW i3

What makes the i3 a unique EV is that it’s fun to drive and efficient. The i3 features a rear-mounted electric motor that produces 170-horsepower. Although the i3 isn’t known for incredible speed, experts at U.S. News and Consumer Reports celebrate the i3 for its lively, responsive powertrain. Furthermore, the i3 provides a smooth driving experience and can maneuver sharp corners with ease.

While driving dynamics are a huge selling point of the i3, you should know that its regenerative brakes may be off-putting. CR calls the i3’s regenerative braking “particularly aggressive.” It’s not uncommon for the i3 to slows almost instantly after you release the accelerator without hitting the brake pedal. 

BMW introduced a lithium-ion battery for 2017, which increases the battery-only range from 81 miles to 114 miles. The i3’s limited all-electric range makes it a better choice for everyday drives over extended road trips. As CR noted, you can minimize “range anxiety” by shopping for REx versions that come with a gasoline range extender. The REx models’ gas engine provides backup power once the battery diminishes. 

On the inside of the 2017 i3 

The inside of the i3 is handsome and bright.
2017 BMW i3 interior | BMW

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The i3’s quirky exterior is complemented with a modern, minimalist interior. The mixture of high-quality trimmings and accent colors gives the i3 even more personality. This tiny EV is also surprisingly spacious and can seat up to four people comfortably. Unfortunately, though, the 2017 i3 wasn’t available with amenities such as power seats or a sunroof.

As far as technology goes, the i3 offers a few desirable infotainment features. The 2017 i3 came standard with a 6.5-inch display screen, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and HD radio. It also came with a navigation system that helps to identify nearby charging stations. Some of the used 2017 models may come with Apple CarPlay. Some models may also have advanced safety features, including a rearview camera and forward-collision warning.

Safety and reliability 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 i3 good overall crash-test safety ratings. CR also gave the i3 above-average reliability ratings. Based on CR’s evaluation, the i3 performed well in reliability trouble spots, including its engine and transmission. However, there are three safety recalls on the 2017 i3. These recalls on the i3 relate to its airbags and fuel system. Before buying this model, make sure to address the recalls with your auto dealer.