Hot on the heels of the all-new Lancer family, the next generation Colt – unveiled today at the Paris Motor Show - confirms Mitsubishi Motors Europe strategic expansion into the passenger car market with a full line-up of sharply designed quality products sporting its signature “Jet Fighter” grille.
Depending upon the market, the next generation Colt (except Clear Tec variants*) will be launched in Europe in October / November 2008.
As previously the case, all cars will be built at Mitsubishi Motors’ NedCar plant in Born (The Netherlands) with a start of production scheduled for this month.
Whilst the new Lancer picks up where the last Carisma / Lancer / Galant left a few years ago in the C/D-segments, the next generation Colt is the direct successor to the car that put Mitsubishi successfully on the B-segment map since mid-2004.
267,000 units** later and with a conquest rate of 80%, Mitsubishi Motors has wished to capitalize on this success and follow up with a grown-up – but still distinctive – product***:
More comfortable than ever with its role of junior member of the Mitsubishi family of passenger cars, Colt is ready to fight in a highly competitive sector of the European market where a string of new/renewed entries tends to crowd a stable volume of 4,000,000+ units/year.
Essential to Mitsubishi’s overall volume target / natural weight in Europe – esp. at a time the market is downsizing - Colt is also a key element in its CO2 strategy, combining relatively high volume (± 65,000 Colts vs. total Mitsubishi sales of ± 250,000 units/year) + small engines (1.1, 1.3 and 1.5) + forthcoming Clear Tec variants*.
Clear Tec versions* equipped with Colt’s so-called “Low CO2package” will feature - amongst others - “Automatic Stop & Go” (AS&G) and regenerative braking technologies, leading to an improvement of over 10% in terms of CO2 emissions (according to variant/engine - figure subject to final homologation). A dedicated “Flex Fuel” (FFV) variant* will also be part of the Clear Tec program for Colt. As such, the Colt Clear Tecs* will be the B-segment low emission companions to the new C/D-segment Euro 5 Diesel Lancer, equipped with MMC’s all-new proprietary engine to be launched next Spring as well.
Form follows content…
As the junior of a family rich with a great sporting heritage, the next generation Colt gets closer to its sharp Lancer siblings introducing an exterior design thoroughly refreshed by Mitsubishi Design Europe, the studio that first created the well-received previous generation Colt.
Trading the MPV-like high stance of its predecessor for a lower and wider attitude, it first strikes with the adoption of a rather in-your-face full “Jet Fighter” grille together with all-new body panels fore the A-pillar.
Notwithstanding, the shift to this bold – but consistent – new visual identity is very neatly blended in Colt’s overall design concept. Same goes for the muscular contours of the front fenders and the complementing “samourai-like” new headlamps, all inspired by the new Lancer and all contributing to a stronger on-road presence, but also to an improved level of pedestrian safety.
The side view offers a more elongated window line thanks to black sash foils applied on the C- and D-pillars (D-pillar only for 5-door body) and blacked-out sills.
Last but not least, a new rear end design for the 5-door body (wrap-around and slimmer back-light, lower rear combination lamps, new liftgate stamping, more elaborated bumper) adds character whilst visually lowering and widening the car considerably. Changes at the rear of the distinctive 3-door body consist essentially in a new bumper and new (dark finish) lamp housings.
New wheels complement the new exterior design, including dark finish dual 5-spokes for the two Ralliart variants, reminiscent of the 2009 Lancer Ralliart’s but also of traditional Japanese sports sedan of the 60’s and 70’s starting with Mitsubishi’s own 1973 Lancer 1600 GSR.
… and content supports form
To give substance to the Mitsubishi passenger car claim both Colts and Lancers also offer incremental doses of driving dynamics – from peppy 75 ps 3 cylinder 1.1 Colt to iconic 295 ps 2.0 turbo Lancer Evolution.
In line with Mitsubishi’s brand heritage & positioning and confirmed through the introduction of the “Ralliart” name plate and tuning with Lancer (240 ps 2.0 turbo / 4- or 5-door) a new Colt Ralliart (150 ps 1.5 turbo / 3- or 5-door) is introduced.
Compared to the previous Colt CZT and in addition to a stronger structure, the Colt Ralliart suspension has been amended in eight different points for sharper driving dynamics, including reduced body roll thanks to a thicker front stabilizer bar.
In the new Colt line-up, the Ralliart not only replaces the previous 3-door Colt CZT but also expands the scope and reach of sporting Colt through the addition of a new 5-door variant which should represent 40% of the Ralliart volume. Technically similar to the new 3-door Colt Ralliart, it adds the convenience of two rear doors and of a more pragmatic rear seat flexibility, whilst treating its occupant with slightly more compliant suspension.
Just as its predecessor, the next generation Colt offers a full range of engines.
However when it comes to Diesel engines, the combination of:
Instead and thinking longer term, Mitsubishi has developed for Colt a series of “Low CO2” solutions*. Under the umbrella name of Clear Tec, they will be launched during the Spring of 2009, incl. AS&G-equipped package and FFV versions.
The next generation Colt is also a better / nicer place to spend long hours of driving, be it in suburban traffic jams or for long stretches of motorway with changes driven by customer feedback over the past 4 years:
Mitsubishi Motors engineers have dedicated a lot of time and energy to achieve lower level of NVH (Noise – Vibration – Harshness). Implementation of measures such as extra damping sheet, extra felt pads, increased pad density have led to a substantial reduction of noise level putting Colt ahead of its core competitors (Objective measurements confirm an improvement of 5% points using the Mitsubishi Motors Europe Articulation Index test).
Mitsubishi Design Europe’s Color & Trim specialist went the same way with more subtle “Quadrat” graining for the black upper padding of the dashboard together with higher quality seat material. This trim dresses up a redesigned dashboard where numerous elements are now shared with the Lancer family (steering wheel, digital information display, amber instrument lighting,…), better integrated components (audio system,…), whilst the overall youthful feeling of the previous Colt provided by light blue translucent elements has been toned down using a combination of dark and silver finish instead. Enhanced equipment was also part of the development, including new features such as: cruise control, Emergency Stop Signal System, “Coming home” lighting, AUX plug in audio unit or gear shift indicator. Lastly, mirroring Lancer Sportback’s claim (“a lot of style + a bit of flexibility”), the next generation Colt makes a better use of its vast interior space with the introduction of new features to increase its flexibility such as a full flat floor (now, without removing the rear seats – a feature not deemed essential by customers) and an adjustable cargo floor height leading to an increased cargo volume (from 854 l for the previous Colt to 1,032 l now).
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