Mitsubishi Colt CZC Turbo - The Verdict

Mitsubishi isn't ripping up any trees with its new Colt CZC, but if you're after a convertible that will hold its value, this is a safe bet, says David Wilkins

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Price: £15,999
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Performance: 0 to 62mph in 8.4 seconds, 39.8mpg
CO2: 168g/km
Worth considering: Nissan Micra C+C, Peugeot 206 CC, Vauxhall Tigra

Last week we tested the Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio, and ended up comparing it with My Little Pony. This week, the equine connection is maintained as our readers give their verdict on another small two-door convertible, Mitsubishi's Colt CZC.

Our test car was the faster turbo model, which pumps out 147 horsepower. It's a bit pricey, but you can save £2,000 by buying the punier basic version of the CZC, which does without a turbocharger. I suppose the cheaper, emasculated model is not so much a colt as a gelding - but let's not dwell on that.

Now, if the Colt CZC Turbo isn't quite a thoroughbred, it certainly has a bit more pedigree than the PT Cruiser. In particular, it proudly carries a small Pininfarina badge on its flanks. That's a name with a fair amount of magic, not least because the Italian coachbuilding and design firm has had a hand in so many of the prettier Fiats, Ferraris and Peugeots that we've seen over the years.

Pininfarina is heavily involved with the CZC, which it assembles at its own Italian factory, while fixed-roof hatchback Colts continue to be built at Mitsubishi's Dutch plant. About 65 per cent of the CZC's parts are shared with the standard Colt, including the pleasing pale blue translucent dashboard switches, a favourite feature of mine.

The main difference between the two cars is, of course, the folding metal roof, which, like others of its type, is a rather elaborate affair. During our testing, it worked smoothly every time. The whole process was accompanied by as much beeping as the average Roy "Chubby" Brown performance - although it was certainly more pleasing on the eye.

On the road, the CZC acquits itself well, with the turbocharged engine providing a fair amount of poke. It's not so great that buyers looking for the best drive per pound will put it at the top of their list, but it's not bad.

There are already plenty of other small convertibles with metal folding roofs around, so the Colt CZC is a late entrant in a crowded field. In all the jockeying for position, though, Mitsubishi may have the whip hand. The company says that Glass's, the car valuation company, is predicting a better depreciation performance for the CZC than its rivals.

If this forecast of stable resale prices is fulfilled - and it's worth remembering that the manufacturers are trotting out these sorts of claims all the time - it should mean that once you've had your fun with this particular Mitsubishi Colt and try to sell it on in a few years' time, you're probably not going to be saddled with it for too long.

Nikki Welsby, 30, Marketing manager and Formula Woman racing driver, Kingsbury, Warwickshire
USUAL CAR: LOTUS EXIGE

I was impressed with the sporty shape of the Colt. I tested the turbo version, which was pretty nippy. It felt safe on the road and provided an extremely smooth drive. At high speeds on the motorway when encountering a relatively tight bend the steering was very heavy, but at lower speeds this wasn't an issue. With the roof down there's very little boot space and it can be noisy, but otherwise it was pleasant with the roof off. At around £16,000 for the turbo version it is pricey, but Mitsubishis are generally reliable. It didn't feel particularly "manly", so it would be a good car choice for female executives.

Ken Hall, 36, Business travel trainer, Croydon, Surrey
USUAL CAR: MAZDA 323

At the risk of sounding sexist, the size of this car is hardly likely to appeal to many male readers, but there's no denying it has some style. At least one (female) colleague commented on how nice it looked, and the front end reminded me of a Beetle - much classier than the bug eyes of the similar sized Micra. It's also rather Tardis-like and is very comfortable. It's only when you check over your shoulder that you realise just how small it is. It's easy to drive and I can vouch that the windshield definitely works, even at motorway speeds. Would I buy one? For that kind of money I'd go for a second-hand Porsche Boxster, but my girlfriend would look great in one.

Ashvin Beezadhur, 29, Credit controller, Surrey
USUAL CAR: RENAULT MEGANE

The CZC is a nippy little car, an ideal city convertible for a young single person or couple. It's a bit sluggish in first gear, but the power comes in abundance in second and third. The gear change is snappy and the ride is smooth. Inside, it's very small but comfortable and there is plenty of leg space. The interior design is very poor, especially for £16,000 - the silver-coloured dials are surrounded by white plastic, which looks very ugly. The folding roof may open and close in under 15 seconds, but the boot is tiny and there's not much space behind the front seats. The car itself looks OK, but it's nothing compared to the Peugeot 206C+C. And why the Pininfarina badge on the side?

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