Our cars: BMW i3 and Honda Civic Tourer

  •  Eco Pro mode means i3’s brake pedal gets little use
  •  We want i3 to be able to default to Eco Pro in town
  •  We spot a worrying problem with Civic Tourer seat belt
We wish the BMW i3's software could default to Eco Pro mode for town driving
We wish the BMW i3's software could default to Eco Pro mode for town driving

Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the BMW i3 and Honda Civic Tourer.

BMW i3 range-extender

I'd like to think we're now fully au fait with the i3's various systems and modes – and there are plenty of them.

Most of the time – pretty much everywhere apart from motorways – I stick the car into 'Eco Pro' mode, which limits the top speed and offers more aggressive recuperation of energy under braking. Around town you can basically drive with a single pedal, anticipating traffic lights and junctions and just lifting off in time (the brake lights come on automatically, incidentally, so you're not leaving other road users in the dark about your intentions).

For motorway use I switch into 'Comfort', which allows me enough freedom to overtake with ease once the traffic flow frees up. There's a further, even more eco-friendly mode, called 'Eco Pro+' - but it limits the top speed further, to the point where you'll be in the way on anything but a suburban crawl.

If I have a frustration, it's that the i3 can't work things out for itself. The routine when I fire it up is 'Turn on, turn off electronic parking brake, stick into D or R, then switch the mode into Eco Pro'. The i3 already knows that it's in town - the sat-nav is fully aware of the 30mph limit - so I can't understand why the system doesn't allow me to instruct it to adopt 'Eco Pro' by default if we're in town.

Oddly enough, I drove an X5 plug-in hybrid prototype recently that claimed to adjust its systems based on sat-nav data and speed limits - so the feature is probably already earmarked for the i3 Mk2.

By John McIlroy
John.McIlroy@whatcar.com

Read all of our updates on life with our BMW i3 range extender.

In the car park

Consumer editor Alex Newby spots a worrying problem with the Honda Civic Tourer’s seat belt when used with her high-backed booster seat.

Read more about our long-term fleet.

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