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Mitsubishi Colt CZC 2006 Road Test

Fri, 12 May 2006

The concept car for the Mitsubishi Colt CZC looked great at motor shows. But that was before they had to engineer a hard top and a boot it would fold into.

So it shares the sort of cab-forward big rump look of the 307CC and from the side with the top up looks distinctly dumpy.

But unclip the roof locks, pull the button on the door handle, and it transforms itself from a plumpkin into a cute little cabrio. It still isn’t ‘drop-head gorgeous’, but, like Page 3 of The Sun, it looks a lot better topless.

Top up, in the rain that greeted us for our test, it feels like a very solid little thing. The version with TURBO emblazoned in large chrome letters on its rump shares the same fairly heavy steering of the CZT hatchback. This is an advantage on the motorway (even allowing you to drive ‘hands off’ for a while if you want to) and you can build as much muscle on the way to the gym as you can pumping iron once you get there.

It also passed the Erin Baker fingers test, by which you poke your fingers into the bottom of the door-shut to see how much the body flexes. (This can be painful but it wasn’t on the Colt.) The engine is smooth and torquey with no turbo lag, a bit like a smaller version of VAG’s 2.0TFSI. And, top-up, the handling is grippy and predictable.

Drop the top, though, and with nothing holding the top of the car together it’s not quite the same. The scuttle shakes through the steering wheel and the ends of your fingers do start to get bruised in the door shuts. It’s not bad. Certainly no worse than the average folding tin top. But it isn’t the rock solid little racer it feels with the top up.

An advantage of its big bum (let’s not mess around trying to be politically correct) is the amount of stuff you can shove inside it. There’s enough room in there for a lady’s luggage. Or the roof. But not both. Which actually makes a lot of sense because you don’t want the top down on the autoroute to the South of France anyway. You want it up with the a/c on, or your teeth will fill with bugs and your hair with hydrocarbons.

If you’re prepared to squash yourself up like a gnome you can actually get four of you into the car for short distances. Which is okay, too. Three of you can drink and the other can’t.

The non TURBO 1.5 is altogether softer and more feminine. Mainly, the steering is much lighter, the power is a lot less and the insurance drops all of seven groups down to 8E.

Mitsubishi reckons the car’s main market is women aged 30 to 60. Pretty much the same market as the Peugeot 206CC and the Vauxhall Tigra.

That’s okay. If all of them bought 206Ccs it would be a bit like them all buying the same outfits at Marks & Spencers then turning up at the same event in them.

At least the boot of the Colt CZC allows for plenty of changes of clothes. And the turbo has a sweet engine under its bonnet.

More at Mitsubishi-motors.co.uk

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