The Mitsubishi Colt is Coming Back as a Rebadged Renault

The company will bring back an old nameplate to try and make a splash in the European market.

byLewin Day|
Mitsubishi News photo

The Mitsubishi Colt nameplate has long languished in the wilderness, last built in 2013 before it was discontinued by the Japanese automaker. The Colt is coming back in 2023, however, built on a Renault platform, as reported by Automotive News Europe.

Details are scarce at this stage, but a teaser image released by the company shows the vehicle is largely based on the Renault Clio, with many panels appearing similar or identical to the French car. Built in Renault's Turkey and Slovenia plants, it's expected that the Colt will be assembled on the same lines given how closely it resembles the Clio. Primary changes appear to be around the front grille, suggesting the changes may be limited to a rebadging effort plus some work around the headlights.

The Renault Clio E-Tech hybrid. , Renault

The car features a "Hybrid EV" badge, hinting at powertrain options for the new vehicle. Mitsubishi has indicated said that a hybrid version is indeed on the cards, but has not supplied further details. The Renault Clio is available with gasoline engines as well as the company's hybrid "E-Tech" system. The hybrid version features a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine paired with twin electric motors for a total of 145 hp, boasting fuel economy exceeding 60mpg. It's likely that the Clio's drivetrain choices would carry over to the Mitsubishi product.

The hope is that the Colt will help Mitsubishi re-establish its presence in Europe. In a statement made on Tuesday, Mitsubishi indicated as much, stating "The new model will significantly increase Mitsubishi Motors’ market coverage in core European segments.” It's a drastic shift in the company's efforts, with Mitsubishi announcing it was pulling back from the Europen market in 2020

With the Renault Clio not sold in the US, it would be unlikely for the Colt to come stateside, as there would be federalization costs incurred to make such a move a reality. The Drive has reached out to Mitsubishi, which indicated there are no current plans to bring the Colt to the US market.

Having an affordable small car on the market will be a key benefit for Mitsubishi. In this form, the Colt comes with the bonus of very minor development costs given that it is so closely related to the Renault Clio. Time will tell whether the Colt can help revive Mitsubishi's fortunes, which have been flagging of late. 

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