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Mitsubishi Colt Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2004 - 2013 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Given its sharp, Evo-esque looks, the Colt could be forgiven for ignoring the affordable end of the supermini market. However, the majority of engines in the Mitsubishi Colt performance line-up are small capacity, reasonably frugal petrols. Mitsubishi axed the 1.5-litre turbodiesel from the Colt range when the car was revised in 2008, citing lack of demand in Europe for this car and engine combo. At the same time, Mitsubishi introduced its ClearTec fuel and emissions-saving technology to replace the diesel choice.

Petrol-only engine line-up

There’s a simple walk up in engine size for the Mitsubishi Colt, starting with the 1.1-litre petrol, rising through the 1.3-litre and ending up with the Ralliart’s turbocharged 1.5-litre unit.

The 1.1-litre engine is restricted to base spec CZ1 models and comes with 75bhp to give 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds, which is on a par with rivals using larger engines. Using a five-speed manual gearbox, as most Colt models do, the 1.1-litre engine is nippier after the 2008 revisions but still best in town rather than on freer flowing roads.

Go for the 1.3-litre engine if you want a broader mix of talents as it has 95bhp, is a second quicker from 0-62mph at 11.8 seconds compared to the 1.1 and gives the same average fuel economy as the small motor. Mitsubishi also offers the 1.3 with a six-speed automated manual transmission called AMT Allshift.

Rounding off the range is the Ralliart with its turbo’d 1.5-litre petrol motor that makes 147bhp and sees off 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds as a three-door and 7.6 seconds with the addition of rear doors. It’s a feisty engine and the Colt Ralliart is a good value hot hatch.

ClearTec green model

In doing away with the 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine, Mitsubishi needed something with low emissions to replace it and came up with the petrol 1.3 ClearTec. Only offered in CZ2 and Juro trims, the ClearTec 1.3 engine has the same 95bhp output as the standard 1.3 but cuts emissions from 130g/km to 119g/km. It also improves fuel economy from the non-ClearTec engine’s 47.1mpg to 56.5mpg with the help of Auto Stop & Go, low rolling resistance tyres and different engine oil to reduce friction. The five-speed manual gearbox also has a revised top gear to lower the engine’s revs when cruising to save fuel and emissions.

Parkers recommends

To get the best of all possible combinations in the Mitsubishi Colt, we’d go for the 1.3-litre engine in CZ2 ClearTec trim. It delivers a zesty drive, strong economy, low emissions and a practical cabin.

The Colt is designed for city driving so the steering is light, making parking and tight manoeuvres simple. At higher speeds it weights up and the Mitsubishi handles surprisingly well, turning into corners with decent of front end grip. The suspension is quite soft which results in some bodyroll, but the trade off is a comfortable ride over rough surfaces – although it can bounce over bigger bumps.

A short and snappy gearshift from the five-speed manual gearbox makes exploiting the Colt’s reasonable power enjoyable while it’s comfortable on the motorway too.