- We like...Speed, grip, ability
- We don't...Cruise control on sports hatch
Neat work by specialist car tuner transforms this little supermini into a full-on track racer - and at a bargain priceIf you’ve already driven a Colt and liked it, please don’t order the Ralliart just because you can afford the dearest in the range. It is the most costly model, true. But you’ll probably hate it.
Look at it parked and there’s little to hint at what’s to come. There are ‘Ralliart’ badges on its nose and rump, plus bigger alloy wheels than on other Colts, a small roof-height spoiler and a ‘turbo’ badge on each door. Otherwise, it looks pretty ordinary.
It isn’t. ‘Ralliart’ is Mitsubishi’s tuning partner, responsible for fettling the make’s rally cars. While not that broadly known in the UK, in Japan it’s practically a household name. What they’ve done here is take the Colt and transform it. While it’s still as practical as ever, giving space for five (at a squeeze) and seats that drop down to let in loads, its abilities will amaze.
Within the first few yards, you’ll notice that it rides stiffly enough to rattle your teeth. It’s bearable, but it’s not comfy. Bury the throttle and it will slingshot you along the road, suffering a touch of old-school wheel scrabble as it gs. Not for nothing is the chassis toughened to keep everything travelling straight and level.
By the standards of now, 147bhp from a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine isn’t excessive for a small car. But then the Colt is little, and light. Push it through a series of bends and its jolty ride shows its purpose, because the springs and dampers hold the car flat and level, giving it grip that’ll easily outlast your courage. And, if you do get it badly wrong, it packs stability and traction control to sort you out, plus front, side and curtain airbags.
It is a frantic little car but one that is also easy to drive quickly. If your ambition is to drive on a professional circuit, it would be a great little thing to learn in. And at a night out’s-worth of cash over £12,000 for the three-door model, it’s a steal.
There’s none of the ‘look-at-me’ dressing that other makes ladle into their sports superminis, so it looks much like far cheaper Colts. Even the steering wheel is standard issue. That’s a handsome item, and leather wrapped at the rim, too. But the fact that Mitsubishi has left wheel-mounted cruise control buttons aboard made us smile, as the did the fact that the dash display ‘nags’ you to change up a gear, in the cause of fuel economy - just as it ds in lesser models.
If you want a very small, quick car that hurl around a circuit in fine style, this is darned near perfect. But – please – don’t buy unless you know what you’re getting.
To view and buy second-hand Mitsubishi Colts, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines1.5 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph7.4secs
- Insurance groups14
Motors.co.uk value verdict: