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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's cheap to buy and well made

Against The ride feels as lumpy as the gearchange

Verdict Build quality is definitely solid, but many of its rivals are much better to drive

Go for… 1.3 GLX

Avoid… 1.6 GLS

Mitsubishi Colt Hatchback
  • 1. Passenger space in the rear is cramped because of tight head- and legroom
  • 2. The boot is significantly smaller than that of some rivals
  • 3. Cars built before 2001 needed crankshaft work and some cars built between June and August 1997 had brake problems. Check the recall work has been done
  • 4. The 74bhp 1.3 is the best engine. It's cheaper to run than the 89bhp 1.6 and not that much slower
  • 5. The Colt was only ever available as a three-door hatchback, whereas some rivals had the option of a five-door body
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Mitsubishi Colt Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Colt is well made and it gets more kit than other similarly sized cars of the day. However, the fact that it's only available as a three-door limits its practicality. To make matters worse, the head- and legroom are tight in the back, and the boot is significantly smaller than some rivals', too.

It isn't a great car to drive, either. The lifeless steering ruins the handling, which is reasonable otherwise, and the gearchange feels too notchy. The ride can get really lumpy on some surfaces and neither engine is very punchy, or very refined.

If you value style and solidity above all else, the Colt might be worth a look. But, if you also need comfort and practicality, there are much more suitable cars out there.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Yucky interior cloth and cheap plastics. Air-con on most and decent interior space

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Two engines are available, and the 74bhp 1.3 is the best bet. It's cheaper to run than the 89bhp 1.6 and not that much slower.

At launch, both came with GLX trim, and this is the best trim to look out for. With the 1.3 engine, that ran to power steering, central locking and a driver's airbag, whereas 1.6 versions added an electric sunroof and electric front windows. The 1.6 was also available in Mirage spec, with alloys and a passenger airbag.

In 1999, a new entry-level GL trim was introduced, along with a new GLS range-topper to replace the Mirage. The GLS has alloys, air-con and anti-lock brakes.

The trims changed again in 2001. The 1.3 Classic was now the entry-level car, and came with power steering and twin front airbags. Equippe models got air-con, while the 1.6 version also got anti-lock brakes. The new 1.6 Elegance range-topper added alloys.

Trade view

John Owen

Good-value city car, mechanically sound. Don't expect excitement at the wheel, though

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

You won't pay a fortune for the Colt - far from it, in fact. Although residual values weren't that bad when the car was new, the Colt is so old now that it will have lost most of its value. You'll be paying less than half the car's original cost even for the youngest examples.

That age also shows in fuel economy figures that are far from astounding. The 1.3 will return a respectable average of 40.9mpg, but the 1.6 should really do better than its 38.2mpg.

Standard servicing is a bit pricey for a supermini and insurance isn’t that cheap, either. Buyers of the 1.3 will pay a group 5 premium, which is a bit steep. Depending on which trim level you go for, buyers of the 1.6 will pay either a group 6 or 7 premium.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Yucky interior cloth and cheap plastics. Air-con on most and decent interior space

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Japanese manufacturers always lead the way when it comes to reliability, and Mitsubishi is no different. The firm always puts in a solid performance in our annual reliability surveys.

Unfortunately, we can't be all that explicit about the Colt itself. It wasn't a strong seller in its day, so there isn’t a huge number of them around.

From what Warranty Direct can tell us, the Colt is generally quite reliable, but you should check that certain recall work has been done. Cars built before 2001 needed crankshaft work and some cars built between June and August of 1997 had brake problems.

Trade view

John Owen

Good-value city car, mechanically sound. Don't expect excitement at the wheel, though

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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