Thursday 17 March 2011
The Mitsubishi Colt is a vehicle built by Mitsubishi Motors since 1962. It was first introduced as a series of kei cars and subcompact cars in the 1960s, and then as the export version of the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback in the 1980s and 1990s. The Chrysler Corporation, Mitsubishi's longtime partner, also used the name in the 1970 when it rebadged the second generation Mitsubishi Galant as Dodge Colt and Plymouth Colt captive imports for the United States market. The most recent version is a supermini manufactured in Japan at Okazaki and in Europe at their NedCar plant in the Netherlands, using the same underpinnings as its sister car, the now discontinued Smart Forfour.
Mitsubishi launched the Mirage (marketed as the Colt in many countries) as a three-door front wheel drive hatchback in 1978, as a response to the first fuel crisis some years before. It had a distinctive design with large windows and Mitsubishi's 'Supershift' transmission (four speeds, but two modes). A five-door joined the range in 1979. This car was exported to the United States as the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ from 1979 and received the highest United States Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating that year.
A 1,600 cc engine joined the range in 1979.
In 1981, the Lancer Fiore, not to be confused with the regular Lancer, was launched. The Fiore was a four-door version of the Mirage/Colt and was sold as a Colt in Australia. At the same time, the range was facelifted.
In 1982, a turbocharged, 105 PS (77 kW) version of the 1,400 cc engine was made available.
In many countries, this car was known as the Mitsubishi Mirage. In the UK, where Colt was the marque, it was called the Colt 1200 and Colt 1400, after the size of the engines, which it shared with the larger Lancer.
Since most overseas markets did not have the Minica kei car, the Mirage/Colt was usually sold as Mitsubishi's entry-level model.
Local CKD assembly of the Colt took place in New Zealand by the Todd Motor Corp., where there was a sports equivalent called the Mirage Panther in the early 1980s. The replacement Mirage Turbo had the distinction of being that country's first locally assembled turbocharged car from 1982.
The facelifted Mirage/Colt was also built by Mitsubishi Motors Australia at their Tonsley Park plant in Adelaide from 1982 to 1990. The Australians offered the Colt with the 1.4 L engine, and a larger 1.6 L, in either four-door sedan (Lancer Fiore) or five-door hatchback versions. This model was also briefly exported to New Zealand in the late 1980s, where it shared showroom space with the locally assembled third generation models.
- engine: 4L
- capacity: 1400 cc
- horsepower: 70 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 160 km/h