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Mitsbishi Colt CZ2 5dr

Has aggressive makeover turned baby into a class contender?

Grafting the nose of your high-profile range-topper on to lesser models is an obvious way of giving them a boost – but does Mitsubishi’s new face fit on a budget supermini?

From the kerbside, it’s an easy question to answer because the revised Colt stands out from the crowd much more than before. From other angles it’s business as usual, as the car’s boxy bodywork has more in common with an MPV than a rally-bred saloon.

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The angular shape at the rear is no accident, and the benefits are obvious the moment you climb aboard. After sitting in the cosy Suzuki, the Mitsubishi feels like a much bigger model – especially in the back. Here, the taller Colt provides an extra 40mm of legroom and enough head space for even the lankiest adults to be comfortable. It also has the added benefit of five doors.

The 186-litre boot is small by supermini standards – the Swift provides 201 litres. However, the Mitsubishi’s load area is long, and has a more practical shape. And the car comes into its own when you fold the rear seats – its 609-litre maximum capacity beats the Suzuki by more than 100 litres. The rear seat squabs also pivot forwards to make room for the backrests to lie perfectly flat.

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Up front, the cabin has been given a subtle makeover, but it still majors on space and features plastics that are hard and durable rather than luxurious. It’s all solidly put together, but the quality of the switchgear isn’t as good as the Suzuki’s and the materials feel less classy. CZ2 trim brings a multifunction leather steering wheel, cruise control, air-con and an auxiliary input for the stereo as standard.

Hit the road and the sporty overhaul of the bodywork doesn’t extend to the handling. The Colt is designed for comfort and ease of use, not thrills. All the controls are light, but the steering is numb and the grabby brakes require concentration if you want to drive smoothly.

The suspension absorbs bumps more effectively than the Suzuki’s, although you also get more body roll in corners. The Mitsubishi weighs 75kg less than its rival, and this helps it to feel much more lively. At the test track it raced from 0-60mph half-a-second quicker than the Swift, in 11.1 seconds, and completed the benchmark 30-70mph drag 1.2 seconds faster, too.

On paper the Colt also adds up. Its three-year warranty has no mileage limit and you can even buy a fixed-price maintenance package to cover the first three scheduled services for £181.

Aside from giving it a visual boost, the new nose hasn’t really brought much extra excitement to the Colt. However, that doesn’t detract from its interior space and value.

Details

Chart position: 1
WHY: New look breathes fresh life into Colt. The question is whether changes go far enough.

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