2023 Mitsubishi Colt name reborn in a hatchback with a familiar design

Mitsubishi is dusting off the heritage-laced Colt nameplate to plant its stake in one of the biggest segments of the European market. The new hatchback is scheduled to make its debut in June, and a dark preview image confirms that it’s closely related to the Renault Clio.

The teaser keeps most of the Colt’s design hidden, but we see enough to tell that it shares more than a passing resemblance with the Clio, which is one of the best-selling cars in Europe. From the shape of the rear lights to the crease in the hatch, the styling cues that characterize the Renault’s back end are present on the Mitsubishi. We haven’t seen the front end yet, but we’re assuming it will be very Clio-esque with the obvious exception of a Mitsubishi logo on the grille. This is badge-engineering rather than leveraging economies of scale, Supra-style.

We already have a decent idea of what the specifications sheet will look like. Mitsubishi announced the entry-level engine will be a 1.0-liter three-cylinder rated at about 66 horsepower and bolted to a five-speed manual transmission; European motorists still buy stick-shifts, especially at this price point. Next up is a turbocharged version of the triple rated at 90 horsepower and linked to a six-speed manual, while buyers who want a hybrid will be able to pay extra for a 141-horsepower gasoline-electric drivetrain that consists of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, a pair of electric motors, and an automatic transmission. Like the Clio, the Colt will exclusively be available with front-wheel-drive.

Built by Renault in Turkey, the new Mitsubishi Colt will make its debut on June 8. It doesn’t sound like the hatchback will be sold in the United States. Renault hasn’t homologated the Clio in our market, and the segment that the Colt would compete in is microscopic at best, at least in the U.S. When it lands, the Colt won’t be the only Renault-designed Mitsubishi: the second-generation ASX launched recently is a re-badged Captur.

Although badge-engineering brings with it a big bag of controversy, this is the only way Mitsubishi can justify a presence in Europe. Never spectacularly popular across the pond, the Japanese firm told its dealers in 2020 that it would exit the European and British markets. It hasn’t returned to the United Kingdom, but the Renault-built Colt and ASX allowed it to keep selling cars in Europe while keeping costs in check.

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