2008 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart review

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2008 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart review

Recommended Retail Price: $29,990

Options fitted: None

Roomy, brilliant handling, strong engine

Turbo lag, base model shows through

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Waitresses are the original balance masters. It's staggering how well they do it. I'm sure you've seen them. You know, you walk into a restaurant, and there they are, stacking plates or glasses, until you think "there's no way they could fit one more on their arm". But they do. And not only one more, they manage several more.

Of course, there's only so far they can go before they end up losing all of it. And we've all seen that too. As you go higher, the centre of gravity elevates correspondingly. Just like in a car.

As a car gets taller, there's an increased risk of a roll-over. So please explain how the Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart can be so narrow and tall, yet still handle like it does. The answer is to hand it over to the Ralliart team, and let them have a tinker with it.

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So, in late 2006, Mitsubishi saw fit to introduce the Colt Ralliart in an effort to boost sales. Using the same 1.5-litre motor but adding a small turbocharger has upped the power from 77kW to 113kW (a substantial jump of 46%), and bumped the peak torque from 141Nm to 210Nm (a similar increase of 48%).

Adding over 40% more power and torque can have disastrous consequences if the rest of the car hasn't been beefed up. Fortunately, suspension, brakes, tyres and wheels have all been upgraded, and the result is a makeover which, although you wouldn't call extreme, makes the car a different animal.

The increase in thickness of the stabiliser bar at the front, for instance, is only 1mm, but it's amazing what a millimetre can do. Bodyroll is contained, and combined with the uprated springs, a strut tower brace, better dampers and more rigid suspension components, the Colt Ralliart is suddenly sporting. This comes as a shock when you look at the car, which is easily perceived as top-heavy.

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It sits flat when cornering too, and the seat-of-the-pants impression is one of high lateral loading. Probably the Yokohama Advan tyres help here, but the chassis balance is extremely impressive.

Like the Evo too, is the tyre roar on coarse surfaces, and the firm ride. It's pretty easy to live with day to day though, as passengers won't complain. Indeed, I transported an 80-year-old lady around the place and she didn't mind it one bit.

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The boot could be a little bigger, and a little more attention to the comfy rear seats would be good too. Infact, given the $14K price gap between the top spec Ralliart and base ES colt, there's little to differentiate them. The same goes for the rest of the interior.

So this is more of a quick-blast-around-the-city kind of car. But it is common for people to use these little beasts in motorkhanas and track work. A quick pad change, sticky tyres, and an ECU reflash will see your Colt suddenly become a stallion. But even as standard, it still returns a 6.7L/100km fuel consumption average.

What about to the everyday man. Do they look at it and see the potential? Put simply, does it have cred? Judging by the comments received during the week running around in it, yup. Statements such as "It's so cute, but aggressive at the same time," and "I'll bet it'd be a bombed daily." Yes. Definitely. Whatever the hell that meant....

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For those in doubt, the elements of this vehicle's name fit. This is no boxy, poxy, oxymoron of a car. It's a well sorted package that lives up to the rally heritage of the company. Yes, the Evo has a feisty little brother. It's called the Colt Ralliart.

2008 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart specifications

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