It’s the off-beat thrum that gives it away. Mitsubishi’s new sixth-generation Colt might be created by the Mitsubishi Design Europe (MDE) studio in Frankfurt, but the fact that 60 per cent of the underpinnings are shared with the Smart Forfour is never more obvious than when the 1124cc triple is growling through its rev range.
We’ve driven the 1.3 four-cylinder petrol and 1.5 three-cylinder diesel, but this is our first steer in the baby of the range – and our first on UK roads.
The Colt’s engine is a cylinder short compared to the majority of its opposition, but 74bhp and 74lb ft are more than respectable outputs for this class. Nevertheless, this Colt feels sluggish, and you have to use full throttle to get up to traffic speeds.
Peak torque is developed at 3500rpm and below that the Colt struggles for meaningful forward motion. Stick with it, however, and the three-pot revs enthusiastically – if rather noisily – to its red line, endowing the Colt with a decent turn of pace (0-62mph in 13.4 seconds). Strangely, the higher the revs, the weaker the throttle response: there’s a pronounced pause when coming off and then getting back on the throttle.
You’ll either view the three-pot’s soundtrack as a dose of cheeky small-car character or quickly tire of it, especially when working the engine hard. It is reasonably refined at motorway speeds, though, the engine note fading to a busy hum at an 80mph cruise.