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2014 BMW i3 Review

The 2014 BMW i3 is a thoroughly modern electric vehicle with spirited handling, quick acceleration, and spacious seats. An average reliability score for the class keeps it from breaking its middle-of-the-class ranking. 

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable, roomy seats
  • Engaging driving dynamics
  • Lots of cargo space
  • Some cheap cabin materials
  • Infotainment system has a learning curve




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.7
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2014 BMW i3 Overview

Is the 2014 BMW i3 a Good Used Car?

If you are looking for a good commuter car, the 2014 i3 is a fine choice. This upscale small car can zip around curves with ease while maintaining a poised ride. Still, some interior materials look cheap, and the infotainment system isn’t the easiest to use.

The 2014 BMW i3 is the only fully electric vehicle in the upscale small car class. This four-door hatchback is powered by a 170-horsepower electric motor paired with a single-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive. Its 22-kWh lithium-ion battery gets an overall range of 81 miles. Some models come with a range extender, which increases the overall range to 150 miles. With the i3’s energetic acceleration, passing cars is no problem. It takes about 18 hours to charge the i3 with a standard 110-volt outlet, but this can be reduced to 3.5 hours with a 220-volt home charging station. A quick-charging public station can charge the i3 in about 30 minutes. The i3 gets 137 mpg-e in the city and 111 mpg-e on the highway for a combined fuel economy rating of 124 mpg-e.

Read more about i3 performance »

The BMW i3’s unique futuristic interior is unlike any other car in the upscale small car class. Still, some materials – like the eco-friendly woven fiber – tend to look a bit cheap. While the iDrive infotainment system is intuitive, some settings are difficult to get to. The electronic shift lever is placed on the steering column and has a learning curve, though it's not difficult to use once you get used to it. The interior has many good qualities: its seats are roomy and comfortable in the front and back, and an elevated seating position for the driver contributes to exceptional outward visibility. The i3 also has one of the largest cargo capacities in the class, at 15.1 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and 36.8 cubic feet with the seats folded. There is a set of LATCH car-seat connectors on each second-row seat. Keep in mind that the back doors have reverse hinges – commonly called suicide doors. This makes access easier for the most part, but it can be tricky to get into the back seat in tight parking spots.

This all electric car comes standard with cloth upholstery and leatherette accents, navigation, HD Radio, a 240-volt charger, and a 6.5-inch iDrive infotainment system. Some used models include a fast charger, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and heated front seats.

Read more about i3 interior »

Used 2014 BMW i3 Prices

The 2014 BMW i3 ranges from $18,600 in the base engine to $20,200 with the range extender. Prices vary depending on condition, mileage, and demand.

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We Did the Research for You: 9 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed professional reviews along with reliability ratings and more to help make your buying process a whole lot easier.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for 10 years, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To ensure our reviews remain unbiased, we do not accept expensive gifts from automakers, and all advertising is handled by an outside source.

How Reliable Is the 2014 BMW i3?

The BMW i3 has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power in its class. While this score is above average among all cars, several class competitors – including the Acura ILX Hybrid – get higher ratings.

Read more about i3 reliability »

How Safe Is the i3?

The 2014 BMW i3 did not receive any safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Available safety features include parking assistant, park distance control, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera. 

See i3 safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used i3?

The 2014 BMW i3 marks the first year of the model’s first generation, which includes the 2017 model year. The 2015 model year made fast charging, heated front seats, and satellite radio standard. The 2016 model year saw no major changes. If you can do without the 2015 upgrades, go with a 2014 model to save some extra cash.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 i3 » 

Which Used BMW i3 Is Right for Me?

The 2014 BMW i3 has two trims: the base and the range-extending i3. The only real difference between the two trims is that the range-extender model adds a two-cylinder gasoline engine, which increases overall range from 81 miles to 150 miles. To help prevent range anxiety, look for a model with the range extender. However, if you do not plan on driving this car very far, the base trim should be more than adequate. 

Shopping for a certified pre-owned vehicle? The BMW CPO program has three levels based on the vehicle’s age and the number of miles on the odometer: Certified Pre-Owned Elite, Certified Pre-Owned, and Pre-Owned. Each level receives the balance of the original new-car warranty. Certified Pre-Owned Elite vehicles get an additional one-year/25,000-mile warranty, while Certified Pre-Owned models receive an additional two-year/50,000-mile warranty. Pre-Owned BMWs receive no additional coverage. 

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the BMW certified pre-owned program » 

2014 BMW i3 and Other Cars to Consider

The 2014 BMW i3 is the only all-electric vehicle in the upscale small car class. While there are a few hybrids to choose from, you will have to look outside the class to find similar EVs. Still, the i3 competes well against gas-only rivals.

Which Is Better: 2014 BMW i3 or 2014 Nissan Leaf?

The 2014 Nissan Leaf is an all-electric hatchback with more cargo space and a driving range of up to 84 miles – slightly higher than the range of the i3 base model. However, charging time is a bit longer: about 22 hours with a 110-volt outlet and five hours with a 220-volt outlet. The BMW has nicer interior quality and more horsepower than the Nissan. The Leaf, however, will cost you less money. If your top concern is spaciousness, the Nissan Leaf is your best bet. If spirited driving is higher on your checklist, the i3 is the better option.

Which Is Better: 2014 BMW i3 or 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid?

The 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid’s powertrain has meager power, and its trunk space is below-average. Its reliability score, however, is outstanding. While the i3 has good passenger space overall, the ILX Hybrid suffers from confining rear seats. In the end, both luxury cars have their positives. Opt for the i3 if you are after performance or want zero emissions from your car. Choose the ILX Hybrid for less range anxiety and its above-average reliability score.  

Compare the i3, Leaf, and ILX Hybrid »


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