2008 Mitsubishi Colt Cabriolet
review

2007 Mitsubishi Colt Cabriolet review

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2007 Mitsubishi Colt Cabriolet (turbo) review

Model Tested: Mitsubishi Colt Cabriolet Turbo

CarAdvice rating:

Recommended Retail Price: $37,990.

- by Alborz Fallah

This was a milestone, the first press car that was delivered to my door, after a Pajero died on the highway (more on that later). Mitsubishi delivered the Colt and picked up the Pajero on a tow truck. It was a good start to the week.

For the first few days I was relatively happy with the car, sure, my partner said it was uglier than a man in the process of removing his goatee, but I fell in love – until I saw the price.

You see I was initially under the impression the Colt Cabriolet was $27,990, which led to a misjudgement. I was thinking: "sure it looks a little odd, has manual lock/release handles for the roof and the interior looks more outdated than John Howard on YouTube, but for $27,990, you can't go wrong!" But you can, because list price is actually $37,990! Oh dear.

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At its published price, this car is only $2000 less than the Peugeot 207CC . The question is, why would you buy the Mitsu over the Peugeot?

First there is its looks. Yes I know some of you find the 207CC a little hard on the eye, but you have to think of the Peugeot as Johnny Depp: no guy can work out why he is attractive to the opposite sex, but he plainly is.

The Colt Cabriolet was styled by Italian design studio Pininfarina, the people behind many beautiful cars such as the Ferrari Enzo, the new Ford Focus CC and even the Maserati Granturismo, but the Colt Cabriolet doesn't do Mitsubishi much justice.

From the rear the car resembles the new Lancer and from the front it's still a Colt. So what exactly did Pininfarina do? At best, the looks are quirky but "cute".

The interior is nothing to rave about. For a car that comes from Italy, I was expecting a whole lot more - at least some excitement. Yes it has sports pedals, and a nice gear stick and it feels comfortable and well built, but so does a Corolla Sportivo and, with all due respect to the big T, you don't see me raving on about that.

My biggest quarrel is with the instrument cluster. Mitsubishi has gone for the whole “new-age” approach and designed the speedometer and tachometer to resemble a do it yourself job. With a white cut-out background and comic sans-serif font, the instrument cluster looks a little clumsy.

I am sure months of planning went into it, but there is something about a paper cut-out speedometer that just doesn't work for me. As for the rear seats, as you can see from the photo above, they are useless, much like the rear seats of the 207CC. The folding roof, I should mention, is metal.

At least you can take pride in telling friends your convertible Colt is an international effort, with the engines sourced from Kolleda (Germany) and Mitsubishi Motors in Japan, the seats from Faurecia in Sittard (The Netherlands), the front bumper assembly from Peguform (Germany), cockpit components from Johnson Controls (The Netherlands), and the whole thing put together by Pininfarina in Italy.

But the Colt is not all bad. For one thing it's powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 110kW and 210Nm of torque - not bad for a car that weighs just 1200kg. It falls only 3kW short of the Ralliart Colt (but weighs an extra 70kg) and it uses just 7.2 litres per 100km.

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As with all test cars in Brisbane, the Colt was taken through the test course that is Mt Glorious. As far as a side by side comparison to the 207CC goes, the Mitsu is ahead in terms of handling and power. While the 207CC has 30Nm more torque, it also weighs an extra 293kg (has more room), giving the Colt the lead as a driver's car.

The steering is exceptionally heavy, which is a good thing for a car this small. It is perhaps as precise as the Evo IX, meaning you can blast up the mountain with ease. Enough about the power, cars like this are suppose to be about style and elegance, and here lies the Mitsu's downfall.

Driving around Brisbane's trendiest suburbs and districts, the Mitsu failed to demand much attention, and the attention it did get was generally more a result of its quirkiness.

Many onlookers gazed in amazement, “What is that?”, “Is that a Mitsubishi?”. You see here is the issue, if you're going to pay almost 40k for a European convertible, you'd want people to instantly feel a little jealous, you want to feel a little important and the last thing you want to do is to explain the car to your friends:

Yes it's a Mitsubishi, but it's actually made by the Pininfarina in Italy! See the badge? Hello...?

A prestige cabriolet should not need an explanation, but this one does and what you end up with is an expensive European built car badged as a Japanese car, that arguably looks like a Japanese car trying to be a European car!

Another interesting thing about the Colt Cabriolet is the lack of rear roll bars. The Audi TT, the 207CC and a whole heap of other convertibles make use of rear roll bars that pop up explosively in the event of a roll. Mitsubishi on the other hand uses a system called Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE).

According to Mitsubishi, RISE is a body structure that incorporates strengthened A-pillars, sills, doors and rear bulkhead for rigidity, passive safety as well as handling. RISE is supported by strong A-pillars and a windshield frame.

Now take a deep breath and let me tell you a secret that might convince you to buy the Colt Cabriolet.

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Although the RRP is $37,990, the car is actually selling closer to $27,990 if you go through the right channels. So this brings me back to my first impression, for around 30k, the Colt Cabriolet is a brilliant little car.

With a tuned turbocharged 1.5-litre engine matched to a smooth five-speed manual gearbox, along with a MacPherson strut with coil over front suspension (and a stabiliser bar), the Colt Convertible is the most driving fun you can have in a convertible this side of 40k.

You also get ABS (with EBD), driver, passenger and side air bags as well as Active Stability Control (including traction control), unique sporty 16 x 6.5J twin 5-spoke alloy rims fitted with 205/45R 16 tyres all standard on the Turbo.

Wit the roof stored in the boot, storage space is still adequate for the weekly shopping and the occasional trip to the beach, leave the roof on and you get more than enough space.

Speaking of the roof, it is almost operationally identical to the 207CC, you hold the button down for some 20 seconds and the whole thing comes on or off (as long as the safety net is deployed in the boot to keep your shopping and the roof separate).

But there is a minor difference between the French and the Italian/Japanese. In the Colt you have to physically lock or release the roof before pressing the button, this adds another five seconds to the process and given the machinery does 99 per cent of the work I really wonder why it can't do the rest and the lock the roof automatically.

The final verdict? If you have around 30k to buy a new convertible and you find the car appealing, don't hesitate, at that price it won't disappoint. Also, have a look at the naturally aspirated Colt Cabriolet; although the RRP says $32,990, think closer to $26,000. With Mitsubishi selling 69 Colt Cabriolets last month after doing just 185 in the first nine months of the year it seems a lot of people are coming to this conclusion for themselves. But remember, given the huge discounting taking place already, resale value is sure to be an issue.

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