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Mitsubishi's i minicar was the hit of the Tokyo motor show in 2003, and hit Japan's streets in production guise earlier this year. Now, the company is testing the i in Los Angeles to see if it might be able to head off Smart's purported entry into the US (not exactly a problem, considering Mitsu will likely supply the same engine to Smart for its US-bound, next-generation Fortwo). Hiroshi Harunari, new chief of Mitsubishi Motors North America says the company is looking for customer feedback about the i that will guide a decision to sell or not to sell. The US model won't likely get the 660cc turbocharged mill that qualifies the i for keicar status in Japan, but rather the concept version's naturally aspirated 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine (or a variant thereof). Still, we'd imagine a 1000cc minicar would be about as welcome on the 405 as a donkey cart loaded with office furniture. We can't wait to see how this plays out.

Testing the Waters [AutoWeek]

Mitsubishi "i" Car Goes on Sale in Japan [internal]