THE original Mitsubishi Colt was a teenager`s dream: stylish, speedy and quirky.
It ran on small change and even came with a bonus gear stick. The second shift, which allegedly had a power/economy function, didn`t seem to make much difference to the car's propulsion.
It did however, provide the opportunity for some much-needed gear changing practice for youngsters. If you can`t find them, grind them!
After some 14 years, Mitsubishi has opened the stable doors to allow a new Colt to canter into the market.
Like its predecessor, it is packed with style and fun and offers great economy and flexibility.
And while it clearly has plenty to lure young buyers, word around the traps is that there has also been considerable interest from a number of more mature buyers.
The Colt, a price leader for Mitsubishi prior to its retirement, this time has been saddled up as a premium hatch aimed at Honda Jazz and Mazda2.
The zippy five-door Colt replaces the $13,990 Mirage, but is quite different and priced higher at $18,990 for the LS and $20,990 for the XLS.
This time there is no manual and it comes as auto only, using Mitsubishi`s INVECS III Continuously Variable Transmission. This is engaged using a column shift.
Colt is powered by a 1.5 litre four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine with MIVEC that strikes the optimum balance between generating gutsy power and torque while returning easy-on-the-pocket fuel economy and clean emissions.
The engine delivers a perky 72kW at 6000rpm and 132Nm of torque at 4250 rpm, while returning a frugal fuel economy figures of of 6.4 litres for every 100 km covered.
Whether you are zipping around town, or cruising on the open road, the hatch is a delight to pilot.
Colt tops its class in terms of interior space roominess, and careful attention to seat shape and height means occupants enjoy outstanding comfort and forward visibility, with easy and natural entry and exit.
The cars long 2500mm- wheelbase accounts for 65% of its overall length, and results in a generously roomy interior cabin space.
The car comes with two individual front seats that have a generous 250mm travel (and 50mm height adjustment for the drivers seat).
Rear passengers also are well accommodated, and the seats can be folded down to put the surfboards, ski gear, or golden retriever in.
A lot of thought has gone into the interior to ensure there are many storage areas - the glove box, steering column under tray, front cup holders, front door bottle holders, front door pockets, passenger seat back pockets (on side of seat and on rear of seat), convenience hook on passenger seat back, and under seat storage on passenger seat.
Colt comes with air conditioning - with a pollen filter - fitted as standard, while other standard features include a column-mounted gear shift, power steering, power windows, power door mirrors with fold control, two-speed windscreen wipers with intermittent control, rear wiper and washer with intermittent control, tilt steering column, room map and cargo room lamps, ignition key reminder, ignition key cylinder illumination, AM/FM radio / single CD audio unit with four speakers, two child safety seat anchorages and child-proof rear door locks.
Colt XLS gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, centre console systems tray and tacho additional to the impressive list of standard features on the LS model.
Like its television advertising boasts, the little Mitsu feels and handles like a much bigger chariot. It holds the road confidently and completes its duties with the minimum of fuss.
Safety, as always in small cars, is a big issue but the Colt has been handed a four star ANCAP crash test rating - the best in its class.
The Mitsubishi, now on sale, is available in seven funky colors: White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic, Pearl Yellow, Red Solid, Medium Orange Metallic, Black Mica (only available with XLS), and Pale Medium Bluish Grey.
It is a must consider for the young and young at heart.