Mitsubishi has finally revealed the European version of its crucial new baby. Fifteen months after the Japanese version was launched, the Euro Colt will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and goes on sale in the UK on 1 September.
The Japanese firm says the new Colt is the most important model it has ever launched in Europe. The car is born out of Mitsubishi’s alliance with DaimlerChrysler and shares 60 per cent of its parts with the new Smart Forfour, also due in September. Mitsubishi is behind the development of, among other things, the platform and the petrol engines, while Smart has taken responsibility for the diesel unit and quality control.
Three petrol engines will be offered from launch: a 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5 litre, along with a 1.5-litre diesel in two states of tune. Mitsubishi is targeting the Honda Jazz as its chief rival. Both feature mini-MPV styling and the Colt offers an ‘amazingly spacious’ interior, according to Autocar’s Steve Cropley, who has been given an advanced viewing of the car. At 3870mm long, 1550mm tall and 1695 wide, the Colt is 50mm longer, 25mm higher and 20mm wider than than the Jazz. Mitsubishi is claiming class-leading front and rear legroom, and the interior flexibility sets a new standard with a rear seat that folds and can also be completely removed. The front passenger seat also folds flat. The European Colt differs from the Japanese version in that it has a unique dashboard and seats, a different nose and Europe-specific engines. Although pricing hasn’t yet been finalised, expect the entry-level versions to undercut the 1.4-litre Honda Jazz’s £9k tag.
A concept car previewing the three-door Colt will also be unveiled at Geneva. That car will spawn a 150bhp turbocharged version and arrive in the UK in spring 2005.