Mitsubishi Sports Cars from the Past – The Mitsubishi Colt

July 27th, 2022 by


We’ve been running a new series on the University Mitsubishi blog as of late. “Mitsubishi Sports Cars from the Past” has had a good run, but it seems we’re running into the last well-known Mitsubishi Motors vehicle that could be called a sports car. It didn’t want any World Rally Championship (WRC) titles like the other vehicles we wrote about, but interestingly enough, the Colt gave rise to these very same models. Before the Mitsubishi Starion was the Mitsubishi Lancer, and before that was the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Before them all was the Mitsubishi Galant, and we can thank one model for that beauty – the Mitsubishi Colt.

First, Second, and Third Generation

Dating its first model back to 1962, the first Mitsubishi Colt wasn’t even by Mitsubishi Motors. It was by a sub-company of the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), Shin Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Pretty simple, it was a two-door sedan but went with a different powertrain setup for the times – a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. This first generation only lasted three years before being replaced with another. Then it gets a little confusing for the second generation.

The first generation Colt 600 was followed by a larger compact car released in 1963, the Colt 1000, made to complement the 600. Four more iterations of this vehicle appeared – the Colt 1000, replaced by the Colt 1100 in 1966, which is then replaced by the Colt 1200 in 1968, and the Colt 1500 that first arrived in 1965 to replace the 1000 before it was done in by the 1100 model. Like we said, confusing. This model, the 1500, would also go on to become the Mitsubishi Galant Colt. The third generation was a fastback called the Colt 800, powered by an inline three-cylinder back up front under the hood and a rear-wheel drivetrain. It lasted from 1965 until late 1971.

Mirage-Based Colt

The Colt nameplate would disappear until 1978. This was the first year the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback was produced, and wouldn’t you know it, the new Colt was based off of the Mirage. Following this, Chrysler entered into a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors, and agreed to introduce the Colt into the North American market as the Dodge Colt in 1982 and the Plymouth Colt in 1983. Yes, these popular vehicles were actually rebadged Mitsubishi Motors vehicles with some heritage styling tweaks. They were so popular, that even after Mitsubishi made its official debut in North America with its Mirage in 1985, the Dodge and Plymouth variants lasted until 1994. The Mitsubishi Mirage had multiple versions until 1995, ending with the birth of the Mitsubishi Lancer.

Early 2000s

Then came the Colt Z30 in 2002. This model could be the closest thing to a rally car that the Colt ever got, at one point a possible replacement for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution as the company’s vehicle in the World Rally Championship. Now that’s a car that can cause some competition. However, the Colt Z30 had a bit of an identity crisis during its 11-year run. In 2004, the Colt Z30 also released a larger version, the Colt Plus in 2004. Three years before the Mitsubishi i-Miev, the world’s first electric vehicle (EV) that could drive on the highway, was the Colt MIEV in 2006. This is believed to be the final version of the Colt EV concept that debuted in 2005.


After almost twenty years, the Colt nameplate is returning to the market. The automaker has been revamping its lineup with new generation models of the Mitsubishi lineup, including the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, Outlander Sport, Outlander PHEV, and Eclipse Cross. During a press conference in February 2022, Mitsubishi teased another brand new model under sheets. We were thinking this was the fabled C/D segment car talked about during the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance conference in 2020.

It is, and it isn’t. Yes, Mitsubishi Motors is releasing a new model next year, 2023. The model is a hybrid, following the new plan for Mitsubishi to shift towards electrified vehicles, with the new Eclipse Cross PHEV soon replacing the Outlander as the flagship model. What we didn’t think was the automaker was going to chicken out and release a rebadged Renault Clio hybrid as their first new model to enter the lineup. Riding on the CMF-B platform, powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, the Renault Clio is already popular and successful. We knew Mitsubishi was going to release a rebadged Renault to release in Europe, but come on. Aside from some style tweaks to make this look like a Mitsubishi, you can basically tear off the three-diamond logo and find the Renault emblem underneath.

We knew the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance would be sharing platforms, technology, and resources. But the two-year buildup of a brand new vehicle from Mitsubishi Motors wasn’t worth the wait if a rebadged Renault is all we’re getting. What do you think about the reveal? Join the discussion on University Mitsubishi social media and share your thoughts.

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