Recent posts on the Micra 160SR and the Daihatsu Copen go to show that here at Not2Grand, we’re lovers of the diminutive automobile. And why wouldn’t we be? Small cars are cheeky and fun, like your niece or nephew. Unlike your sibling’s children, you can stick a small car in the garage when you’ve had enough of it. You could garage your school-age relatives, but we’re pretty sure the authorities would take a dim view on that.
Anyway, captured children aside, let’s get to the subject of this review. Namely the Mitsubishi Colt CTZ. It’s smaller than a chihuahua’s testicle, it packs near-as-dammit 150bhp and it’s cheap as chips. It takes more than a turbo and some angry gee gees to please us though, so let’s see if it’s actually any good.
Colt is one of those names that has been around forever, and in the case of Mitsubishi, it hasn’t always been a fixture on the rump its small cars. We had a Sapporo, which technically was a Colt, and that was a saloon, coupe, um… thing. There was also the Colt Sigma, which was most definitely a saloon. Then there was the Colt, which was a hatchback, though probably twice the size of the one here. Basically. Mitsubishi grabbed the Colt name and spread it very far, and very wide. There endeth your history lesson.
Today, the Colt is a teeny three-door or five-door hatchback designed for bimbling through the urban jungle. In normal guise, you’ll find it with a 1.5, four cylinder petrol engine with about three bhp. Or a 1.1 with about two. There’s a diesel, too, but we really don’t care. What we care about is the performance version, namely the CZT. It sounds exciting, but is it?
On paper, yes. It weighs a measly 1,070Kg and the four-cylinder 1.5 engine has had a turbocharger bolted to it, resulting in 147bhp. That’s impressive. The little Colt can scurry up to 60mph in a mere 7.7 seconds, topping out at 131mph. That’s pretty fast for something the size of a lunchbox. And given that the engine also produces 210Nm, the power is always under your foot when you need it.
You’d think all that grunt would find it a challenge to make its way to the floor without spinning the tyres. That’s not the case though. Mitsubishi has clearly worked hard to ensure that the power delivery is progressive and smooth via the five-speed manual transmission. It doesn’t feel skittish, in fact it’s quite surefooted. Nice.
The problem is, that surefootedness bleeds through to the rest of the Colt CZT’s on-road characteristics. Yeah, it’s fast, but it’s not exciting. It’s actually quite safe and predictable, which sort of take some of the shine from it being a hot hatch. Can it really call itself hot if there’s no fear of being flung into a ditch?
Admittedly, its predictability will appeal to some. And while it might not be thrilling, it’s not bad to drive. It’s average, with a bit of poke. That’s about the long and short of it. The chassis soaks up the bumps and the brakes keep it in line without any histrionics. The steering is a bit wet, thanks to weird assistance that tries to offer you some sort of feedback, but in reality just makes it feel odd and unnatural.
Externally, the CZT is, again, far from exciting. You get some alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and the body is gently tweaked to show its sporty aspirations, but that’s about your lot. Happily though, it’s a different story inside. You get deep bucket seats, white dials, aluminium pedals and a three-spoke steering wheel. It’s a nice place to be, though you might find it a struggle to get comfy if you’re tall – the Colt is not a big car.
It has rear seats, but really the only people who will be using them are your disgruntled garage-dwelling nieces and nephews. An actual adult won’t thank you for being shoved in there. The same could be said for you shopping, given the boot is only 155 litres.
In terms of safety, the Colt CZT does well. Car-smashers, EuroNCAP, gave the Colt four stars, which is good. It has front driver and passenger airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags as well as a vehicle stability system. So you should be fine if you drive into a ditch.
From our research, it seems that many outlets of have have given the Colt CZT a bit of a pasting because it’s not ‘set your hair on fire’ exciting. That seems a bit harsh to us. Not everyone needs a chassis that delivers more feedback than a miserable elderly couple in a Toby Carvery. Some of us just want a car that goes fast when we mash the pedal, and does so without killing us. The CZT does that with aplomb.
There’s no denying that it’s not the most dynamic car in the world, but nor is it offensive to drive. Not by a long stretch. Plus, it is fast, and that’s pretty much what Mitsubishi said it would be.