I read this in the CR magazine a while ago and dismissed it. It's not as nice a car as the Leaf, and I've never claimed otherwise. But the price difference is pretty big, and the i is way more than good enough for its commuter and errand running missions. Speaking of missions, it sounds like the CR staff are trying to live with the car in the wrong place and use it the wrong way. If "that roughly 60-mile range proved quite a deterrent for every staff member setting off on a journey outside the greater East Haddam metropolitan area," then I'd say don't take the car outside the metropolitan area!! It isn't stated here explicitly, but I'd be willing to bet that some staff are taking the car home w/o having a Level 2 charger, a problem I've seen with a number of "range anxiety"-infused reviews.
Finally, calling the i "crude and uncomfortable" strikes me as terribly unfair - compared to what, I must ask. I certainly liked it better than the Scion iQ or the Prius C, both of which I've recently driven.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012