From £9,450
Like a Colt out of the blue
Autocar
1 March 2005

Car designers can seem a little lazy, especially when transforming a five-door hatch into a three-door. It’s usually just the case of lopping off two doors – a foolproof solution but not particularly interesting.

Mitsubishi Design Europe, however, wasn’t feeling the slightest bit lethargic during the creation of the Colt three-door. So extensive are the styling differences to the five-door that Mitsubishi sees it as a completely separate model. With an overall length 60mm shorter than the five-door’s, this Colt looks compact in profile with a tauter, leaner stance. A 30mm lower roofline also helps emphasise its sporting, coupé-like appearance.

We tested the base 1.1-litre 74bhp three-cylinder engine in high-spec Mirage trim and it’s an impressive car. Body roll is well checked through corners and the steering is accurate and nicely weighted. Unfortunately, a windscreen inclined at an MPV-like 26 deg requires long A-pillars which impair visibility when looking through corners or emerging from T-junctions.

The ride on the Mirage’s 16-inch alloy wheels is good, with only the most rutted surfaces unsettling the car. Mirage trim also brings design influences from the CZT range-topper – including a roof-mounted spoiler and leather-trimmed steering wheel. Less impressive is the combination of road, wind and engine noise at motorway speeds. An addictive off-beat thrum from the three-cylinder powerplant makes the journey through the rev range a delightful experience, but at higher crank speeds a constant and inescapable boom permeates the cabin.

Raucous engine noise aside, the Colt’s cabin is a comfortable, spacious and stylish place. The plastics feel a little cheap but the grained dash and translucent centre console materials help create a higher-quality impression. The Colt is a stylish, charismatic and well-made supermini. And with prices starting at £7499, it’s good value, too.

Jack Galusha

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