2006 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

2006 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart Road Test

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2006 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart – Road Test

Test Model: 2006 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

Options Fitted: The only option is Metallic Paint $300.00 – otherwise your only choice is white, which doesn’t look too bad with its black highlights.

Accessories to consider: Ralliart has a bunch of very cool accessories available which are specific to the Ralliart Colt and my pick of these are:

  • Metal (racing look) fuel cap: $240.00 – a must have, even though a little exy
  • Metal oil filler cap in three colours: $215.00
  • Sports Shifter in aluminium: $162.00
  • Extreme White Headlight Bulb: $161.00
  • Titanium Pedal Kit: $261.00

Note: Ralliart do not offer branded carpet mats, so you’ll have to settle for Colt branded mats ($125) or call Mitsubishi and have a whinge:

Recommended Retail Price: $29,990

On Road Price: Around $32,800

Where it sits: It’s a Ralliart car so it’s the genuine “go fast” edition

Warranty: Best in the business. 5 year/130,000 bumper-to-bumper, 10 year/160,000 on the drivetrain

“Finally, Mitsubishi’s supercar slayer, the Lancer Evolution, gets a kid brother with the same DNA”

You’ve probably heard of the “Paris –Dakar Rally” or “The Dakar” as it’s known these days. It’s the world’s toughest off-road endurance race over a distance of 10,000kms and Mitsubishi has won it a staggering eleven times, six of those have been consecutive wins from 2001-2006. It goes without saying, Mitsubishi know the performance game, better than most.

Ralliart is the motor sports division of Mitsubishi Motors. It is responsible for the development and preparation of the company’s rally racing and off-road racing vehicles as well as its involvement as a performance brand with Mitsubishi road cars that measure up. When Ralliart get their hands on road going cars, you know that what comes out the other end will be a performance car that does what it’s supposed to.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia now has two such cars that ‘measure up’ if you will. The Lancer Evolution 1X, is as it says, the ninth iteration in the Evolution series which began in 1992 with the Evolution 1. It’s a seriously rapid machine which can destroy bona fide supercars costing up to six times its price, whenever it gets the chance to ‘do its thing’ on the tarmac. What’s even more amazing is that you can buy one of these cult icons, brand new, for around $57,000 from any one of the authorised Ralliart dealers scattered throughout Australia.

The recently released Colt Ralliart is Mitsubishi’s latest performance car addition, and is 100% ‘all show and all go’. It’s a 1.5 litre intercooled turbo hot hatch that’s already on its way to cult status. Performance car magazine “Motor” has just crowned it the best “Bang For Your Buck” under $30K, knocking off the highly acclaimed Volkswagen Polo GTi by a considerable margin. Not bad, considering the GTi runs a larger 1.8 litre turbocharged powerplant.

The Colt Ralliart has that unmistakable “tuner” look and would be right at home in any of those “Fast and Furious” movies given its array of exterior/interior performance bits. The people at Ralliart have raided every shelf in their tuning shop to create this addictive little ‘go’mobile.

First off, the car’s ride height is significantly lowered with full body kit including deep front air dam with fog lights. There’s an EVO style black meshed air cooling duct in the centre of the bonnet along with a performance look, meshed grill sporting the small but noticeable Ralliart badge of courage. A deep front air dam housing a set of circular fog lights, rounds off the Colt’s front end. It’s an aggressive look with black wheel arch fenders, side sills, privacy glass and rear spoiler and diffuser creating an imposing stance, not what you expect of a car this size.

Further tuning hints include a large chrome exhaust which delivers superb growl along with 16” alloys with low profile tyres. More about that later.

The standard Mitsubishi Colt VRX sports model runs a small but competent 1.5 litre four-cylinder 16-valve which delivers 77kW at 6000 rpm and 141 Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Now that’s fine for a car weighing in at 1090kg and it gets along nicely.

The Colt Ralliart is an Olympic athlete on steroids in comparison. The Same 1.5 litre powerplant now pushes out 113kW of power and 210Nm of torque with assistance from a turbocharger and intercooler, together with a bunch of other engineering enhancements.

In Australia, you get a five-speed manual gearbox from GETRAG of Germany and the clutch is by ZF-Sachs, also German and trust me folks, it doesn’t get much better. Curiously, there’s a CVT automatic gearbox available on the Colt Ralliart in Japan which apparently goes well, but the five-speed works a treat and would be my first choice if I had the option.

Turbo-lag is minimal and this car pulls hard in each and every gear, including fifth. The ZF clutch is light, allowing rapid launches from standstill. The Colt Ralliart is deceptively quick and has to be one the easiest performance drives going, punching way above its weight and frankly, I don’t want to give it back!

It goes, yes, but so does the Polo GTi and the Mini Cooper S. The difference is handling and Ralliart has a Ph.D. in that faculty. In the recent Motor magazine “Bang For Your Buck” awards which I referred to earlier, the Colt Ralliart’s win over the Volkswagen Polo GTi was substantial in the “Bang” department, over double the points (133.3 to 66.7) and testament to the performance pedigree of anything badged Ralliart.

Corning limits are at go kart level and it does so with next to no body roll, despite the fact the car is a high roof design and can accommodate 4 adults in comfort. This is pure Ralliart from the chassis up. Body rigidity is up a whopping 30% over the standard Colt and that ladies and gentlemen, combined with additional spot welds and structural reinforcement, has produced better body torsional rigidity than the Lancer Evolution!

About now, you’ll be thinking that although the handling is sensational, the ride must be like a 1942 Willy’s Jeep in a bone dry river bed, but you’d be wrong. The Colt Ralliart offers a relatively compliant ride and one you could easily live with, seven days a week.

Not sure if you can pull any g-forces in the Colt but just in case, Ralliart have fitted a pair of sensational Recaro seats which while being supremely comfortable in an ergonomic sense, are the closest thing you’ll get to a full blown racing shell. They look identical to those in the EVO 1X (except for the trim) but I’m told they are straight out of the EVO 111 MR and that’s worth five stars in a car costing under $30K.

Recaro is an old German company which started out building car bodies for Volkswagen and Porsche and then switched to sports seats when business became tough, and as the saying goes “never looked back”. You’ll find Recaro seats in most of the world’s best performance cars including the Golf R32 and Audi RS-4 but for my money, they don’t hold you quite as firm as these.

Handling is further enhanced with the appropriate electronic wizardry including Active Stability Control incorporating Active Traction Control to help you ‘stay the course’ should you get a little too enthusiastic through the bends. Particularly useful in a front wheel drive set up such as the Colt although, you can’t avoid front wheel spin altogether.

Steering, like most things in this car, has been upgraded from the standard, electric power assisted rack and pinion with a quicker gear ratio, allowing the colt to sort out the bendy bits like a feral cat in shed full of mice.

It goes without saying that decent sports tyres are a prerequisite on fast cars. Standard kit on the Colt Ralliart are 205/45R 16 low profile Yokohama Advan tyres, the same as those found on The Lancer Evolution, albeit a larger size. They are a perfect fit and provide supernatural grip in wet or dry conditions.

You’ll be impressed with what they have done with the brakes too. Let me quote the press kit. “The Criteria was to produce a braking ability to stop in the shortest distance at high speed” Ralliart has pretty much re-configured the whole brake system including wider and thicker brake rotors along with larger master cylinders with the final result being “the same level of fading performance as lancer Evolution”.

Unlike 2 door sports cars, the five-door Colt Ralliart is eminently practical with more than enough room for four adults together with various seating configurations possible with split rear seats which slide, recline and tumble providing considerable carrying capacity if needed.

It’s reasonably well finished too, with leather bound sports steering wheel (I’d like to see a Ralliart insignia on this wheel to differentiate it from the Colt VRX wheel) gear shift knob and handbrake lever, as well as all the usual luxuries including; premium 6-CD in-dash stacker with MP3/WMH, auto climate control air conditioning, power windows and mirrors with fold control together with driver and passenger SRS airbags. ABS and EBD is also standard as is everything you get on the Colt VRX (you can read the complete review in Behind the Wheel for details).

For a car that goes this well, 6.7 litres/100kms is ridiculous and just another reason to take a good hard look at this package before you run off and fork out more money for something European.

Motor magazine really nailed it when they voted the Colt Ralliart “Best Bang for Your Buck” in the category under $30K but it’s a lot more than that, when you consider the overall versatility of this car and the features it packs.

Anthony Crawford