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2023 Mitsubishi Colt hybrid teased, unlikely for Australia

Mitsubishi is resurrecting the Colt nameplate on a Renault Clio-based model offering hybrid power, but it looks to be for Europe only at this stage.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
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The Mitsubishi Colt is returning, and this time there’s a French connection and hybrid power.

The Japanese brand has released a teaser image of the revived Colt, and it looks essentially identical to the Renault Clio.

Set to launch in the northern autumn of 2023, it’ll be built in Bursa, Turkey alongside the Clio.

An Australian launch is far from certain, however.

“The new Colt is a focus for the European market, and isn’t on our radar at this stage,” said a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Australia, adding the brand is focusing on the popular SUV and ute segments.

The shadowy teaser of the Colt reveals a version of Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield grille, with its chrome elements connecting with brightwork within the headlight assemblies.

The overall shape of the headlights, however, look to be resemble that of the Clio, while the bonnet creases also appear similar.

If the front end has been lightly restyled for Mitsubishi, the same level of effort hasn’t been expended on the sides. The sheet metal looks to be identical, down to the creases below the A-pillar.

Below these creases sits a large badge. We can’t quite make out the words on top, but the “EV” underneath is plain as day and the badge resembles that of the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Plug-In Hybrid EV.

While the Captur is available in Europe with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the Clio – also riding the CMF-B architecture – is a series hybrid.

It features a 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, a six-speed clutch-less gearbox, and a 1.2kWh battery. Total system output is 105kW.

The current, fifth generation of Clio isn’t sold in Australia, with Renault Australia confirming in 2020 it was off the table for Australia as “the case for light cars is becoming harder to sustain”.

The revived Colt will represent a return to the badge for Mitsubishi, which ended European and Japanese production of the previous version in 2012, though it continues to be built in extended Colt Plus form in Taiwan.

The company also sells the lower-budget Mirage in Europe as the Space Star.

Mitsubishi Australia has previously said it isn’t ready to give up on passenger cars in Australia, even as a tougher new Australian Design Rule (ADR) for side impacts forced it to discontinue its Mirage city car.

There’s still stock on the ground, however, as Mitsubishi imported a large number of Mirages prior to the ADR change.

The Colt’s close ties to the Clio suggests the next-generation ASX, due to launch in Europe in 2023, will bear a close resemblance to the Renault Captur.

Mitsubishi has already confirmed it’ll be built at a Renault plant in Europe and use a Renault platform, and released a shadowy teaser.

The Captur shares its CMF-B architecture with the Nissan Juke.

“In terms of ASX, which continues to perform well in-segment (and has been supply-constrained, with minimal available in-country stock at the moment), it is too early to comment on how the future model lineup might look in the Australian market,” said the Mitsubishi Australia spokesperson.

Mitsubishi had announced it was winding down its European operations in 2020, only to later reverse course and announce the new Colt and ASX for that market.

The Colt name has a long history at Mitsubishi, first appearing in 1962.

Perhaps the best-known Colt was the locally-built hatch and sedan sold here from 1982 to 1989.

The name continued to be used in other markets, though its successors were sold here under the Lancer and Mirage nameplates before the Colt name returned in 2004.

This model was subsequently discontinued in 2011 and wasn’t directly replaced. Instead, the Mirage nameplate came back, but was used on a city car instead of a light hatch.

You could call the nameplate a “Colt classic” of sorts, given its regular use by the company.

Mitsubishi’s UK operations operated under the Colt Car Company name from 1974 to 2021, with cars wearing Colt instead of Mitsubishi nameplates until 1984.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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