There are three petrol engines – a 74bhp 1.1, a 94bhp 1.3 and, in the sporty Ralliart version, a turbocharged 147bhp 1.5. The entry-level 1.1-litre can't match the pace of the 1.3, but it’s quick enough and more responsive at low- and mid-range revs. The 1.5 turbo feels brisk rather than quick. The 1.3 is also available as an automatic. No diesel is offered.
The Colt is a competent rather than engaging drive. It tackles corners without fuss and grips well enough, but the tall shape induces some body lean and the steering provides little feedback. While the ride is reasonably supple over most surfaces, it never truly settles, and broken asphalt and sharp bumps are too easily felt.
The Colt's suspension starts to clunk on sharp bumps and badly scarred roads, and there’s a smidgen too much wind noise at speed. While the 1.1 engine has a pleasantly zingy note, the 1.3 and 1.5 turbo become coarse when extended.
Given its level of standard equipment, the Colt is reasonably priced. However, any discounts on the list price are likely to be small. Decent fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions mean running costs are affordable, while the Colt holds onto its value pretty well.
The Colt’s interior is well screwed-together, but the plastics look and feel cheap, so it doesn’t feel as classy as the best superminis. There shouldn't be too many question marks over reliability, though, because the Colt was rated as above average for reliability in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
While many modern superminis provide six airbags and stability across their respective ranges, the Colt only provides them if you go for the top-spec Ralliart model. The rest of the range only gets driver and passenger front ‘bags, and that’s not good enough. Deadlocks, remote central locking and an immobiliser are standard.
Inside, the dash is simple, with clear controls and large buttons that are easy to find and use. The steering column only adjusts for height (not reach), but with driver’s seat height adjustment standard throughout the range, most people should still be able to get comfy at the wheel. Front visibility is poor, though.
Both the three- and five-door models have enough head- and legroom for four tall adults, even if it can’t match the roomiest cars in the class for outright space. The boot, however, is disappointingly small, but all models come with a split-folding rear seat that allows you to boost your load-carrying capacity.
The entry-level CZ1, which comes with the 1.1 engine, has a CD player and MP3 connectivity, plus electric front windows and keyless entry. The CZ2, which gets the 1.3-litre engine, adds air-con, alloys, steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, front fog lights and cruise control. The sporty 1.5 Ralliart gets CZ2 spec plus firmer suspension and an upgraded stereo.
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A practical, spacious and well equipped city car that shouldn’t let you down. It’s pretty good to drive, too, making it a fine choice for those on a budget.