Mitsubishu Colt 2006 Review
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A high entry price, lack of a manual option and styling that caused it to blend with the baby-car crowd didn't help.
Relief came last year with a manual version, which dropped the base price to $15,990, and a Ralliart edition that added spice.
Mitsubishi has added two drop-top models to the Colt club and it has kept a lid on the cost. The base Colt Cabriolet, at $32,990, is one of the most affordable top-down cruisers along with the soon-to-be replaced Peugeot 207cc ($32,990).
A turbo-charged version gets a performance and equipment boost and costs $37,990.
Like its rivals, the Colt convertible has a folding metal hard-top.
Mitsubishi turned to Italian design house Pininfarina to help create the multicultural Colt Cabriolet.
Basics of the original Colt were designed between Mitsubishi of Japan and German/American giant DaimlerChrysler, panels come from the Netherlands, the engine is from Germany and Japan, and it is put together and finished by Pininfarina.
Technically, the Cabriolet is a four-seater, but Mitsubishi describes it as a 2'2; that means the rear seats are small and unlikely to suit adults.
The folding roof is easy to use. Fold back two roof clips above either side of the top of the windscreen and press a button on the driver's door armrest and it will fold into the boot.
The boot space is reasonable with the roof up, but is cut dramatically when the roof is down.
Mitsubishi was unable to fit in a spare wheel or even a space-saver, so the car has a pump-up repair kit.
The base model convertible has the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine as the Colt hatch, but adds 3kW and 4Nm. That means it has a total of 80kW and 145Nm.
The force-fed engine in the Cabriolet Turbo bumps that to 110kW and 210Nm, which means it gets along OK, but is certainly not a sports car. Both are available only with a five-speed manual transmission. There is no automatic option.
Safety gear for the base model includes anti-skid brakes and driver and passenger front and side airbags.
The cheaper Colt Cabriolet misses out on electronic stability control, which is standard in the Turbo.
The convertible Colt has stronger A-pillars and windshield bracing, and other structural reinforcements, which Mitsubishi says negates the need for roll hoops at the rear.
Both Colt Cabriolets have 16-inch alloy wheels. The Turbo model has heftier brakes.
ON THE ROAD
THE Colt Cabriolet is an affordable summer fun car, but is not perfect.
No one can argue about the price — $32,990 for a convertible with a folding top is great value.
It doesn't have a heap of power, but the 1.5-litre engine is fine if you push it along.
The manual gearbox is not the sharpest I have used, but it works well enough. It could do with an extra gear for cruising though because the Colt buzzes along at close to 3000 revs on the highway, annoying on a long trip.
And the lack of an automatic could be a problem. Car companies say small convertibles are mainly bought by young women, many of whom prefer an automatic.
The Colt is cheap to run and has fuel-consumption figures of 7.1l — that means more money for sunscreen. The folding metal roof is impressive engineering and easy to use.
Generally, folding hard-tops are better that soft-tops, which are cheaper to produce, lighter and take less room, but also create wind noise in the cabin and can look tatty.
I enjoyed a country drive in the Colt Cabriolet, which is nimble and handles well with the roof up. It is no supercar, and the electric-assisted steering gives little idea of where the car is sitting, but it was fun to push along and quite comfortable.
Then I folded the roof into the boot and the car became loose and wobbly, just as the bad convertibles of old. Bumps that didn't bother the car when the roof was up sent a shudder through its body. On smooth roads it is OK, but even around town, potholes and tram tracks made the top-down Colt shake.
Potential customers should drop the roof when they test drive the car.
The Colt's styling is plain, especially when compared with the Holden Tigra, which has a unique, sporty look. The Colt has a tall boot to accommodate the roof, similar to other small hardtop convertibles, which can look strange.
The interior is nice. The test car had orange seats and the dashboard and dials had a quality feel. Functional trays and cupholders are welcome. The rear seats are for children only.
Boot space is excellent with the roof up, but is virtually non-existent when the roof is down.
THE BOTTOM LINE
GOOD-VALUE summer fun, but comes with compromises. A wobbly body when the roof is down spoils a good drive.
Range and Specs
|ES||1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$2,400 – 4,070||2007 Mitsubishi Colt 2007 ES Pricing and Specs|
|LS||1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$2,200 – 3,850||2007 Mitsubishi Colt 2007 LS Pricing and Specs|
|Turbo||1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$5,000 – 7,700||2007 Mitsubishi Colt 2007 Turbo Pricing and Specs|
|(base)||1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$3,700 – 5,940||2007 Mitsubishi Colt 2007 (base) Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data