It doesn’t feel as though it’s been around that long, but four years have passed since Mitsubishi launched its wedgy baby, the Colt. So it’s had a fiddle. Nothing that looks too substantial, despite claims that the latest car shares only 35% of the old one’s bits. But you won’t fail to notice the Lancer-style nose.
So what do I get on my Mitsubishi Colt for my £8563?
Quite a lot, in fact. For what many manufacturers charge for a city car, you’re getting what used to be a full-size supermini (until all the newer ones grew). And it’s no stripped-out 850cc base model. Under that newly prominent snout is a 1332cc 16-valver, with a 94bhp peak power output. Inside are cruise control, air-con and electric windows and mirrors. And it rides on 16in alloys, which hide anti-lock brakes.
So what’s the catch?
Well, as far as CAR Online can tell, there isn’t one. That said, don’t go expecting a Fiesta-style ultra-cool, omni-competent uber-mini.
There’s reasonable room inside, particularly in the front, which feels wide and tall. The dash won’t win any art council awards, but it’s sturdily built out of thick but hard-cast plastics. The driving position is a bit high and upright, but the seat itself is generous and trimmed in decent cloth. There’s even a swathe of leather on the steering wheel, which also plays home to the cruise control switches and audio remote.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our first drive of the new Mitsubishi Colt
Okay then, what about the drive?
It’s competent, safe, reasonably agile and possibly even fun, when you gun the engine hard enough.
Right from the off, you’re aware that there are a few more cubic inches under the bonnet than you’d normally expect from a non-budget manufacturer at this price. It manifests itself in a strong delivery of torque that extends to an almost warm-hatch level of acceleration once you’re past 40000rpm. That same pep means that motorway cruises are a doddle, because you don’t lose speed on inclines in the way many 'minis force you to.
The gearshift is neat, precise and accurate, steering is a touch numb but quick enough, and the ride is decently pliant if a touch bouncy over corrugated surfaces.
It’s no charmer in the handling department, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with the way the Colt attacks bends. You might wish for a bit more seat support because you sit high and feel roll more prominently as a result. But stick to city streets rather than B-roads and you’d never know.
There’s no doubt that the Colt offers tremendous value for money. By the standards of recent mainstream superminis, it’s decently spacious, decently refined, decently brisk and extremely well-equipped.
The launch of the new Fiesta has distorted that view but the Colt’s extraordinary equipment level and bigger engine might just sway you away from the base-model Ford with which it competes on price. And if you’re after a second car for the school run and shopping trips, or a city car that occasionally takes a quick blast up a dual carriageway, there’s a hell of a lot of logic to buying the Colt.
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