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Mitsubishi Colt (1988 - 2004)

COLT WITH A BIG KICK? (some text hidden)


Introductionword count: 55

The search for a small but reliable compact three-door hatchback can sometimes be a frustrating one on the used car market. Typically, you'll end up looking at something Japanese - and rather dull. In which case, check out Mitsubishi's Colt. Reliability is a Mitsubishi trademark and this often over-looked small car has some surprising qualities.

Modelsword count: 55

Models Covered: 1988 to 1992 (1.3 Hatchback [GL] / 1.5 Hatchback [GLX] / 1.6 16v Hatchback [GTi] / 1.8 16v Hatchback [GTi] / 1.8 diesel [GL]) 1992 to 1996 (1.3i Hatchback [GLi] / 1.6i Hatchback [GLXi] / 1.8i 16v Hatchback [GTi]) 1996 to 2004 (1.3i Hatchback [GL, GLX]/ 1.6i Hatchback [GLX, Mirage, GLS, Classic, Equippe]

Historyword count: 358

You'd be excused for being confused. Originally, when it arrived in the UK during the Seventies, the Mitsubishi franchise was called 'Colt' in the UK (because the importers didn't think British buyers liked Japanese names. When the three-diamond marque assumed its proper name, the 'Colt' tag was transferred to the franchise's smallest three-door hatchback offering. Three door models only were offered. Though it goes back a little further, we'll start with the `organic` shape announced in 1988; an angular-looking car but quite a good one. There were three engines - a 1.3, a 1.5 and a 1.6 16v for the GTi hot hatch. In the Spring of 1990, the GTi's 1.6 was replaced by a 1.8 16v unit. Later that year, the 1.3 and 1.5-litre versions gained 12-valve technology. In 1992, a far prettier Colt was launched, aimed at Honda's fifth generation Civic, with new multi-link rear suspension and greater refinement. Again, there were three engines, all with catalysed exhausts - a 12v 1.3, a 16v 1.6 and a 16v 1.8 for the rare GTi hot hatch. This range lasted until 1996 when the stylists fiddled with its clean shape - to the car's detriment in the opinion of most. Still, it was a more effective package. Again, the engines were 1.3 and 1.6, but this time there was no GTi hot hatch; instead, we got a Mirage version with sporty addenda but the same 1.6 engine as the ordinary GLX. There was however, the option across the range of a clever 'thinking' automatic gearbox, capable of making changes according to your mood. The range had a minor makeover in summer 1998. Next, in December 1999, a new cheap but stripped-out base 1.3GL model (dual airbags but no central locking or electric windows) and a fully-equipped (alloy wheels, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes) GLS replacement for the Mirage topped and tailed the ongoing 1.3 and 1.6 GLX versions. These mid-rangers were both improved with the 1.3 gaining an electric sunroof and passenger airbag while the 1.6 got anti-lock brakes. The run-out models were called Classic, Equippe and Mirage. Then summer 2004 saw the unveiling of an all new Colt.

What You Getword count: 182

The Colt is an efficient, reliable supermini that's easy to drive, decent looking and a comparatively rare sight on the roads. The 1992-1996 model is arguably one of the best looking small cars ever made - its worth having and most are getting pretty cheap these days. But the later car is also worth checking out. These car were particularly strong on safety and security for their time. All models got a sophisticated electronic immobiliser system, for example. Thanks to a unique identification code, which must match, this will deny all attempts to start the engine with anything other than the original key. That's good news - for your pocket as well as for your peace of mind. As for safety, there's a particularly stiff body, side impact door beams and a collapsible steering column. Plus, of course seat belt pre-tensioners and that all-important driver's airbag. Mitsubishi's UK importers, woke up to the pressures of public opinion that perceived previous generation Colts as expensive cars within the supermini sector. The 1996-2004 version changed things, thanks to a higher specification and lower prices.

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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