Hello paxfamilia - you came to the right place to get some information about the i-MiEV.
Sorry your test drive was a bit of a disappointment - I hope the tire pressure was correct (36psi, although many of us go a bit higher), as that also makes a difference in how the car handles. A strong Kansas crosswind affects all vehicles, and the i-MiEV's high profile is affected a bit more than a sedan, but with the very low center of gravity due to the battery placement there's no danger of it being knocked over. Some of us prefer the i-MiEV's handling over that of the Leaf - the i-MiEV is tight and spirited whereas the Leaf is stodgy. I hope you noted the i-MiEV's super-tight turning radius, bested only by the Smart car and a London taxi.
I hope you noticed that the i-MiEV is way more capacious than the Leaf when the back seats are folded down - at 50.4cuft it is more than twice that of the Leaf - and the i-MiEV has a completely flat floor which is great for carrying huge bulky items.
On the i-MiEV instrument panel the right display is multifunction, among them are a couple of trip meters, the odometer, and Range Remaining
(RR). Unlike the Leaf's GOM (Guess-O-Meter), the i-MiEV RR display is very predictable as it is based on a simple algorithm: it is a prediction based on the moving average of what consumption the car experienced over the past 15 miles. If you drive consistently on level ground and know what your headwind/tailwind effects were, you can really rely on this gauge. If you turn on the heater, the RR will decrement by about 20% and if you turn on the A/C the display will decrement by about 10% (but it remembers what really took place without those offsets). I personally have that display permanently set to Range Remaining as I have a trip meter on my external GPS and I rarely need to refer to the other displays.
The Remote is a little bit bigger than a thumb drive and allows one to pre-heat or pre-cool the car when it's plugged in. In winter it is soooo nice to come into a pre-warmed- car that also has a pre-heated driver's seat! The Remote also controls the timing of the car's charging such as delay before starting to charge and charging duration. The Remote came standard with the car
and if it is missing then demand they get it for you or give you a $1000 reduction in the price of the car as the darn thing costs about $800 and then it has to be programmed by the dealer (but if you need one programmed, we know how to do it)
Many people do not ever use their Remotes, so I wouldn't obsess over it.
Hope this helps, and wish you all the best in making your selection.