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Mitsubishi Colt 1.3 Equippe - Mitsubishi Colt Car Review

Review

Added: 24 Jan 2005
Last update: 24 Dec 2009

1Mitsubishi Colt 1.3 Equippe picture 1

MITSUBISHI'S new Colt supermini is a smart little number in more ways than one.

Swish looks outside, backed up with snazzy designs inside, make this a small car that really stands out from the crowd.

And being smart is a vital element in all of these qualities.

Thanks to investment from DaimlerChrysler in the future of Mitsubishi this, the seventh generation of Colt, is basically the same as a Smart ForFour.

Both are built at the same factory in Holland and both are cunningly styled to get the maximum space out of a relatively small body.

But there are significant differences between the two and where the Mitsubishi scores over its Mercedes-inspired counterpart is with its ultra-modern interior and price.

This 1.3-litre Colt automatic priced at £10,499 worked out at around £1,000 cheaper than its Smart cousin which is fairly straight-laced in terms of fixtures and fittings compared to the Mitsubishi.

The real eye catcher inside the Colt is Mitsubishi's use of translucent parts in the dashboard.

Normally such space age features are seen only on concept cars at motor shows but Mitsubishi has brought them into everyday play - and the effect is stunning.

At night a turquoise glow lights up the dials and switches as well as parts of the interior trim in a way which has never been seen on a production car before - and it is almost worth buying one just for that.

Many a feature of the Colt has been well thought out and there is definitely a homely feel to being inside this car - although the shape of some of the cubby holes does make you wonder what the designer had in mind for their purpose.

On a more conventional front, this five-door Equippe model features electric windows all round, heated door mirrors and air conditioning as standard equipment.

It all sounds like a bit of a bargain - but what was not such a smart move was using the awful semi-automatic gearbox that has plagued all smart cars.

In automatic mode at anything more than a crawl - or carefully anticipated changing point - it lurches through gears in a most unreasonable fashion.

Keep it in manual where changes are performed by moving the lever forwards and backwards - there is no clutch - and you can just about get acceptable performance through the six speeds - but then what is the point of the auto mode?

Is driving in slow moving traffic on the daily commute to work that much of a chore that it makes an auto/manual gearbox of this nature desirable?

Frankly, the gearbox ruins this car. The Colt is a great little car and a good performer but only if it is used manually.

The 1.3-litre engine develops 94bhp which results in a 0-60mph ability of 12.3 seconds and claimed top speed of 112mph.

Fuel consumption is good. According to official figures you can expect to average 48.7mpg and even around town close to 40mpg is achievable.

The Colt's handling is fine, if not better than average, but although it comes with advanced safety features such as electronic brakeforce distribution in addition to ABS, only front airbag protection is provided for the driver and front seat passenger.

In terms of practicality the Colt scores highly. A sliding rear seat not only enables passengers to enjoy plenty of leg room if required it also creates variable boot space ranging from a rather tight eight cubic feet to a much more sensible 11 cubic feet.

More room is available if the rear seats are folded and there is also the ability to remove them completely freeing up more than 20 cubic feet of space - not bad in a car of these small proportions.

Keep to the manual version - which is £500 cheaper - and the Colt is genuinely a super car in the supermini sector.

Be tempted by the so-called convenience of the automatic and not only are you paying more but killing off all the enjoyment that this car has to offer.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi Colt 1.3 Equippe 5dr automatic

Price: £10,499

Mechanical: 94bhp, 1,332cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via a 6spd automatic gearbox

Max speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 12.3secs

Combined mpg: 48.7

Insurance group: 5

CO2 emissions: 138g/km

BiK rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited mileage; 6yrs anti-rust; 6yrs paint

Words: Chris Russon

Keywords: mitsubishi, colt


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