Inspired by the iconic Apple iPod nano media player, Japanese automakers created the new 2006 Mitsubishi iCar Play Edition supermini: a futuristic compact hatchback that not only resembles the famous device with its bio-design exterior, as well as careful attention to details, but is also fully compatible with it.
At least, in terms of internal volume, the 3395mm long, 1475mm wide and 1600mm tall car fits the tiny Apple iPod nano perfectly. I mean, while the vehicle’s tiny size will probably make it a bit difficult for the Japanese car manufacturer to play on certain insecurities of a modern man, it still delivers everything that an average city dweller may need: there is enough room not to feel claustrophobic on a daily commute, there is plenty of space for a grocery shopping, and it is also quite easy to park on a normal street in a down town.
While many luxury cars that tout full iPod compatibility simply offer you a simple AUX socket in the gloves compartment or in a box on the central tunnel, the Mitsubishi iCar Play Edition features a full-fledged built-in docking station for the iPod nano, which is placed right on the dashboard.
The device is not only very convenient, it also lets you demonstrate your passenger that you, too, know a thing or two about modern technologies and also have a basic understanding of iTunes.
Plug the little bugger in, and the tiny media player gets automatically married with iCar’s HDD-based satellite navigation system so the driver has no problems operating his/her nano player using the standard controls of the built-in multimedia system.
And, if you plan to leave the car in a not the safest neighborhood, just get the media player out, put it in your pocket and continue to listen to the music via your earbuds. Don’t know about you, but I would really feel truly superior to the folks that have to carry a lot longer (and clearly useless) removable front panels of their standard 1DIN stereos.
According to the Japanese company’s PR department, Mitsubishi plans to sell the iCar Play Edition at a pretty much affordable (for the JDM market, of course) price that starts from roughly $14,000 to $15,000.
For this money you will get a 0.66-liter, 12-valve, turbocharged three-cylinder DOHC engine, which is mated to a manual gearbox.
Not really impressive, but quite fitting overcrowded streets of Japanese and European cities.
I must warn you though, that with this engine, the tiny Japanese car offers predictably sluggish performance.
According to official specs, it takes about 15 seconds to crawl from zero to 100 kilometers per hour, so people that stand behind you on a traffic light may be somewhat, ahem, disappointed with you.
On the other hand, the Mitsubishi iCar is about 8 centimeters narrower than the sexy Smart ForTwo, so you will easily repair your karma every time you park this toy car on a busy parking lot easily squeezing it between a Chevy Tahoe and a Cadillac Escalade.
Photos: Mitsubishi, Apple