The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.4
Mitsubishi's small, powerful hatchback offers grin-inducing performance and reasonable practicality for not too much money.
Reasons to buy
- Unexpected performance
- Inexpensive against the competition
- Decent standard equipment
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
The idea of a Lancer Evolution nose grafted onto a small boxy supermini might not sound like it would work, but the Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart looks rather good. It’s smarter in three-door form, with the five-door looking a bit less racy, but smoked-grey alloy wheels and a roof spoiler lift both above the mainstream norm. Add to that some Ralliart and Turbo badging and a sizeable exhaust pipe and the Colt looks every bit the junior hot hatchback.
What's the interior like?
The Colt is a bit disappointing inside, exhibiting its low-cost roots. There are plenty of hard, shiny plastics, but in fairness it all feels solidly-built. Sports seats hold you tightly, and the leather-rimmed steering wheel feels nice. The only other clue that this is the most sporting model in the range is red-needled, white and black-backed instruments. Otherwise it feels pretty ordinary inside, but then that’s reflected in its relatively low price.
How practical is it?
The Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart’s boxy dimensions do mean decent passenger space. There’s room in the back for two in reasonable comfort. Access to those rear seats is easier in the five-door version. Similarly, the boot is better-proportioned in the five-door car, so if practicality is important then it’s worth paying more for it. Both have split-folding rear seats for greater loading capacity. The rear parcel shelf needs to be lifted manually. It’s all too easy to forget to push it down. This not only exhibits what is in the boot, but also restricts your rear view.
What's it like to drive?
Sportier suspension settings mean you’ll feel more bumps on the road than in the standard Colt, but it isn’t too uncomfortable. There’s lots of grip, and the steering is accurate, if slightly devoid of information. Corners are taken with little body roll. Use all of the engine’s power and you’ll feel the occasional tug at the steering wheel. That’s not a complaint though, as the Colt Ralliart proves enjoyable whether you’re charging hard or simply popping out to the shops. Traction and stability control are standard, but the Ralliart is so nicely balanced they’re rarely required to help you.
How powerful is it?
The Colt’s 147bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged engine is among the most powerful in its class. Rivals include the Renaultsport Twingo and Fiat 500 Abarth. Getting better as the miles add up, the 1.5-litre engine is free-revving and surprisingly punchy in its mid-range. Use all its performance and it’ll reach 62mph in 7.4 seconds (or 7.6 seconds in the five-door model) and on to a maximum of 131mph. The engine isn’t just good at raw pace, as its flexibility makes the Ralliart a surprisingly capable motorway cruiser, too. The weakest link is the gearshift, which doesn’t like being hurried and feels a bit vague.
How much will it cost me?
Mitsubishi offers fixed-price servicing to keep your annual costs predictable. Road tax and insurance shouldn’t hurt too much either. Officially the Colt Ralliart returns an average fuel consumption of 41.5mpg, but expect it to be closer to 35mpg in reality.
How reliable is it?
Mitsubishis are typically pretty reliable and your friendly local dealer will look after you should it ever need repairing.
How safe is it?
Standard traction and stability control as well as ABS and several airbags mean the Colt is reasonably safe. That’s backed up with a four-star performance in the EuroNCAP crash tests, which is a respectable result for a small car like the Colt.
How much equipment do I get?
Being the range-topping model, the Colt Ralliart comes with a reasonable amount of kit as standard. The list includes electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, an aux-in socket on the stereo and cruise control. There’s no offer of integrated sat-nav or Bluetooth options though, but an aftermarket system makes more sense at this price point.
Inexpensive to buy and run and surprisingly fun to drive, the Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a little austere inside, but it’ll carry four quickly – even though luggage space is tight.