Kimmers000
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2022 12:25 pm

On the verge of purchasing

Hey all,

We’re on the verge of purchasing a 2019 i3 BEV (not sport). I’m always anxious trading in a known-quantity car for a new (to me) one. I currently drive a 2016 VW eGolf, my first EV - I love it except for the range. It’s fine for daily errands (I work from home), taking my teen son to school, etc, but both of my daughters now live about 40 miles away and I’m tired of either having to take the gas guzzling Expedition or dealing with charging my car while I’m visiting - I just want more range. I can’t really find any other options besides the i3 that have decent range, are in my budget, and that I don’t hate looking at.

I almost bought an i3 when I ended up with the VW - I love how they look (we won’t talk about what my husband thinks, it won’t be his car!). I’ve lurked here and elsewhere long enough to have read some of the good and bad. I’ve been looking for awhile and found one that’s in my budget and, except for the color (it’s blue and I would have preferred black/sliver/white), has all of the features I want - nav and parking package, apple play, giga interior. I charge my VW mainly in my driveway with a 110v in the garage - slow but generally fine for the driving I do. There are plenty of level 2 chargers around and a couple of fast chargers within 10 miles of me for extraordinary circumstances. I like how my eGolf handles, and haven’t driven an i3 yet, but I have driven my daughter’s Tesla. I don’t know how either compares to the i3, except I was told that the automatic regen braking on the i3 is similar to the Tesla. I’ve read conflicting things about the steering on the i3…

We live in a mild and rainy climate, so if anyone has words of wisdom about how it handles in the wet, that would be helpful. The one were looking at has “all season” tires on it. I’m not too worried about ice or snow - not only do we not get a lot here, but I’m the world’s biggest baby about “scary” driving conditions, so I won’t even venture out on crappy roads unless I absolutely have to. Any input on how quickly the interior defogs when wet humans get in during the rainy season? (The windshield in my VW has tiny embedded wires and it defogs in a flash.)

Things that I anticipate might be annoying: the rear windows not rolling down (one of my dogs will be most sad about this), the cost of replacing tires, getting used to the rear doors (although honestly now that my youngest kidlet is 16, he’ll be driving his own car soon and even now there are only 2 people - or just me - in my car 85% of the time anyway). But I love to love my car, so I can forgive minor annoyances.

Does anyone have any last minute input on things to consider before I take the plunge and buy the i3???

Thanks in advance!
Neil
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:11 am
Location: Davis, CA USA

Re: On the verge of purchasing

What range are you getting on your eGolf? It sounds like higher range is a top priority for you and I'm not sure you'll see much improvement, if any with an i3 BEV. Did I miss something in your post that would suggest this is OK?
Neil L.
2014 i3 Rex, Giga World, all the trimmings.
Kimmers000
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2022 12:25 pm

Re: On the verge of purchasing

My eGolf is a 24kWh battery with an epa range of something like 83 miles, which in real life for me translates to about 75 miles in the summer, drastically less in the winter, 50-60 depending on the temps - and dramatically less on the freeway.

My understanding is that I would probably get approximately double that with the 42 kWh battery in the 2019 i3…
Neil
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:11 am
Location: Davis, CA USA

Re: On the verge of purchasing

Didn't know about the eGolf having different battery sizes depending on the year, I only saw the later model 36kWh number for the later years. Looks like you should see a good improvement in range.
Neil L.
2014 i3 Rex, Giga World, all the trimmings.
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: On the verge of purchasing

I jumped in to a 2 year-used, 24,000 mile 2017 i3 BEV kind of haphazardly, after getting lured in to the notion of EV ownership by the Kia eNiro in the summer of 2019.

In the SF Bay Area we don't have frequent torrential rains, but I do admire the i3 for plowing through heavy downpours on the freeway without getting squirrely. Perhaps the combination of its relative heavy weight and skinny tires doesn't allow it to hydroplane easily.

My kids (10 and 12 now) hated the back seat arrangement and told me not to buy the car. But it was only because of the funky door arrangement, and the cramped legroom (I'm 6' so the driver's seat is pretty far back). Interestingly the i3 offers about a much rear sear room as the Audi allroad wagon it replaced. And after I bought the car, they love showing the interesting door arrangement to their friends and have never complained about not being able to roll down windows, and haven't even shown much of any concern about the inconvenient egress arrangement if there's no front passenger to open the front door for them.

Of course they're not dogs so YMMV in that regard.

After two years of owning the 2017 I liked the car enough -- particularly in light of all the new nice but larger EVs entering the market at the moment -- that I doubled down and snatched up a new 2021 i3 BEV from the handful that remained for sale in August.

I had two mechanical issues with the 2017, both apparently uncommon based on my time on this and a British forum, and on Facebook: the parking pawl got wonky and needed to be replaced, and on about 5 different occasions the HVAC only blew cold air on cold winter nights, only to reset the next day. The parking lock module was replaced under warranty -- I think it's a $500 part and readily accessible right on top of the transmission -- and the heat issue was solved via a software update with no parts replaced.

I didn't particularly care for the headlights on the 2017. The low beams were solid but the LEDs caused a weird color shifted reflection off of roadway signs that resulted in a pink halo, and the high beams sucked. The '21 as well as the '19 you're looking at have excellent headlights, excellent high beams, and no color shift.
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FrozenRex
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:37 pm

Re: On the verge of purchasing

The 2019 should work well for your intended use. We have 4 years (30K miles) on a 2018 S Rex rated at 97 miles. BMW ratings are conservative, our experience has been worst case of 90 below 0F in the winter and best of 130 in the summer (no A/C, it never gets that warm up here), usually 110 or better. No obvious range degradation after 4 years. In your climate the 42ah should be 150 or more. Handling is excellent in the rain, just need to watch tread depth, the rears wear twice as fast as the fronts.

The I3 steering is quick, accurate and fun but like most modern cars with electric steering there is little feedback. I do find it steers better than the X3 loaner from the dealer service dept. One quirk we noticed is that the I3 is affected more by strong winds than any other car we have owned, not bad but will require a little more attention to steering at highway speeds when windy.

The window defog works well but you might need A/C and about 30 seconds in extreme cases. Charging our 33ah takes 24 hours from 6% to 100% on 110v (4 hours on 240v), the 42ah will take much longer but if you keep the car plugged in whenever home and don't fully discharge the battery you should be fine. Just plan ahead for long trips.

Our I3 has been trouble free except for an early software glitch that affected steering less than 1% of the time. That was corrected by a factory update in 2019.
BLINGMW
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2022 1:16 pm

Re: On the verge of purchasing

Have you driven many RWD drive cars on wet roads? I think this particular one does great, and the traction control does its job well. But if you're used to FWD cars and are timid about "scary" roads, I'm not sure how you'd feel about this thing.
frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: On the verge of purchasing

I like how my eGolf handles, and haven’t driven an i3 yet, but I have driven my daughter’s Tesla. I don’t know how either compares to the i3, except I was told that the automatic regen braking on the i3 is similar to the Tesla. I’ve read conflicting things about the steering on the i3…

Hello Kimmers000 and welcome to the forum!

Regarding driving and steering – you don’t specify which Tesla you've driven so I’ll share some thoughts having had short drives in a Tesla Model S and a Tesla Model 3 (an e-Golf, too). I’ve owned two i3 BEVs – first was a 2014 and the current one is a 2021 i3s.

My preference is for sporty driving and in this both i3s have kept me very happy! First, steering. The i3's steering is electrically assisted which from an enthusiast's standpoint is almost always worse than older hydraulically-assisted technology but electric assist is where all cars are going now because it is more energy efficient.

The i3's steering immediately impressed me from the first turn I took with it! As with all electric steering systems there isn't a lot of feedback coming through the wheel but the steering is wonderfully precise – there's zero slop (dead zone where you make a small adjustment in steering-wheel angle yet the car doesn't change direction) and the car responds at the lightest bit of pressure on the wheel. I love it.

Perhaps the conflicting comments you've read have something to do with this. I've read negative feedback with people saying the steering is "twitchy" and for someone that's just come from owning a car where you can drive 65mph, wiggle the wheel back and forth while the car doesn't react – then yes, I can see the "twitchy" comments making sense. The i3’s steering is definitely more lively than either an e-Golf or a Model S (the Model 3's steering is pretty good, though, definitely closer to the i3).

Another wonderful steering thing about an i3, it has an amazingly tight turning radius, far tighter than anything I've driven. You'll feel like a superhero when you park or flip a U-turn on a narrow street.

My 2014's handling (19" wheels) was ok on surface streets but less enjoyable on the freeway. Specifically, it felt a bit top-heavy (a rolling side-to-side wobbliness) at freeway speeds, something that shouldn’t happen with all that battery mass in the floor! I should note that my daily driver right before the i3 was a BMW with an M suspension so that probably predisposed me to being sensitive to this top-heaviness. I think the i3’s design's lack of a rear stabilizer bar / anti-roll bar is a big omission and had BMW included one it would have mitigated some of this sensation.

After a while I lowered my 2014’s suspension which knocked back the wobbly feeling very nicely.

Last year I upgraded to a 2021 i3s (20" wheels) – BMW really did their homework here! They lowered the car, made the rear track wider and put on wider tires. Ride quality is much better than my upgraded 2014 and I don't feel any need to make adjustments to the suspension.

All of the above said, steering and handling are highly subjective – and reviewers don't always use the same adjectives for feel, ride quality, handling, etc. Ultimately you just have to do a test drive for yourself. If you can, check to see if the tire pressures are close to correct before setting off – you can verify this in iDrive, it's under the My Vehicle section, then select Vehicle Status. You might have to drive for a short distance before the display will show the pressures. Do your test drive on both surface streets and freeways to see how the car deals with both situations. Drive for more than 15 minutes if you can arrange it with the dealer or ask if you can take the car home overnight!

Something to be aware of, the i3’s A-pillars are pretty large and it’s very easy to lose a crossing pedestrian behind them, especially on the driver’s side.

Good luck!



edit: grammar
Arm
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Re: On the verge of purchasing

Kimmers000 wrote: Thu Mar 03, 2022 1:55 pm Hey all,

We’re on the verge of purchasing a 2019 i3 BEV (not sport). I’m always anxious trading in a known-quantity car for a new (to me) one. I currently drive a 2016 VW eGolf, my first EV - I love it except for the range. It’s fine for daily errands (I work from home), taking my teen son to school, etc, but both of my daughters now live about 40 miles away and I’m tired of either having to take the gas guzzling Expedition or dealing with charging my car while I’m visiting - I just want more range. I can’t really find any other options besides the i3 that have decent range, are in my budget, and that I don’t hate looking at.

I almost bought an i3 when I ended up with the VW - I love how they look (we won’t talk about what my husband thinks, it won’t be his car!). I’ve lurked here and elsewhere long enough to have read some of the good and bad. I’ve been looking for awhile and found one that’s in my budget and, except for the color (it’s blue and I would have preferred black/sliver/white), has all of the features I want - nav and parking package, apple play, giga interior. I charge my VW mainly in my driveway with a 110v in the garage - slow but generally fine for the driving I do. There are plenty of level 2 chargers around and a couple of fast chargers within 10 miles of me for extraordinary circumstances. I like how my eGolf handles, and haven’t driven an i3 yet, but I have driven my daughter’s Tesla. I don’t know how either compares to the i3, except I was told that the automatic regen braking on the i3 is similar to the Tesla. I’ve read conflicting things about the steering on the i3…

We live in a mild and rainy climate, so if anyone has words of wisdom about how it handles in the wet, that would be helpful. The one were looking at has “all season” tires on it. I’m not too worried about ice or snow - not only do we not get a lot here, but I’m the world’s biggest baby about “scary” driving conditions, so I won’t even venture out on crappy roads unless I absolutely have to. Any input on how quickly the interior defogs when wet humans get in during the rainy season? (The windshield in my VW has tiny embedded wires and it defogs in a flash.)

Things that I anticipate might be annoying: the rear windows not rolling down (one of my dogs will be most sad about this), the cost of replacing tires, getting used to the rear doors (although honestly now that my youngest kidlet is 16, he’ll be driving his own car soon and even now there are only 2 people - or just me - in my car 85% of the time anyway). But I love to love my car, so I can forgive minor annoyances.

Does anyone have any last minute input on things to consider before I take the plunge and buy the i3???

Thanks in advance!
If you're going to take the plunge, get the S version...you won't regret it.
websterize
Posts: 553
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:39 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: On the verge of purchasing

Have you test-driven the non-Sport on a highway, which it sounds like you might use when visiting your daughters? My commute is 50% highway, and the Sport feels a lot more planted at higher speeds than the non-Sport — I drove two on the same roads, a 2014 and 2015 — and less flighty overall on windy days.
2018 i3 Sport BEV | Coding spreadsheet

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