The Mitsubishi Colt has been around since 1962, and started life as a larger family car than the current incarnation. It went on sale in the UK in 1974, and the first of the Colt hatchbacks arrived four years later.
Six further generations of Mitsubishi Colt have followed, and there have been several performance versions, including the 172bhp Colt Cyborg of 1992. The Colt Ralliart – introduced at the beginning of 2009 – is currently the most driver-focused version of the current Colt range.
The £9505 1.1-litre entry-level engine is willing and frugal (74bhp and 51mpg), although the £11,780 Mitsubishi 1.3-litre ClearTec model with stop-start offers improved performance and economy (94bhp and 56mpg). For cheap thrills, the Ralliart version is a safe bet thanks to its 147bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre engine, which launches the Colt to 60mph in 7.4sec and on to a top speed of 131mph.
While the Colt can’t match its rivals for style – the Ford Fiesta the obvious example – it’s inside the cabin where the Mitsubishi impresses, thanks to plenty of headroom and legroom and ample space for four adults. The trade-off, however, is limited boot space, although all models do come with split-folding seats should you need the room.
Large, easy-to-use buttons on the car’s dashboard, as well as height-adjustable seats and steering wheel, make the Colt a user-friendly and comfortable car to travel in. Standard kit across the model range is pretty decent, too. You get a CD player with MP3 connectivity as standard, as well as electric windows and keyless entry. Mid-spec cars add air-con, alloys and cruise control, while the hottest Ralliart versions come with sports suspension.
While you’d never call the Colt a hot hatch, it is a spirited and usable performer. Swift progress from most of the petrol units (there are no diesels offered) will bring a smile to your face, particularly when you push the engine towards the upper echelons of the rev range. For enthusiastic drivers, it’s the 1.5-litre turbocharged Ralliart version that will satisfy most power cravings.
Designed primarily as a city car, the Colt’s light steering makes for easy parking manoeuvres. Despite its tall, narrow body, however, it’s also an impressively grippy hatchback and one that you’ll have fun with on a smooth and twisty B-road.
Suspension settings are on the soft side, but when driven over broken surfaces, the Colt’s underdamped suspension causes some cabin intrusion. Intrusive road and wind noise on motorways is an issue, however.
Despite there not being the option of a diesel variant, the Colt range offers strong fuel economy, good residual values and decent servicing costs to boot. Insurance is rock bottom, too.
On the whole, the Colt is an entertaining hatchback that offers decent value for money, peppy petrol engines and space enough to meet most people’s needs. It’s also a good choice for families looking for an inexpensive supermini that’s backed up by Mitsubishi's reputation for producing trouble-free cars.