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Mitsubishi uncovers next Colt

Frugal: Mitsubishi's Colt successor will return CO2 emissions of around 95g/km.

All-new Mitsubishi compact emerges and will emit less than 100g/km of CO2

19 Jan 2011

MITSUBISHI has promised its next-generation global compact car will return hybrid-like CO2 emissions when it goes on sale in Australia soon after production commences in Thailand in March 2012.

The first exterior images of the company’s Global Small concept car, which will preview the successor for Mitsubishi’s Colt when it makes its worldwide debut at the Geneva motor show on March 1, reveal the vital new mass-market model will be a stylish but otherwise conventional five-door five-seat hatchback.

More interesting is Mitsubishi’s announcement the all-new light car will emit only around 95g/km with the help of idle-stop and regenerative braking technologies.

Japan’s sixth-largest car-maker says its all-new global compact car’s best-in-class sub-100g/km CO2 figure, which approaches the 89g/km output of Toyota’s benchmark-setting Prius hybrid, will also feature a new-generation continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a more aerodynamic bodyshell.

Further aiding efficiency will be a weight-reduction program for the model’s major components and reduced tyre, brake and engine friction.

However, two of the most significant fuel consumption reduction measures will be the use of ‘mild’ hybrid technologies like stop-start, which cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary, and regenerative braking, which harnesses energy produced by braking to increase engine efficiency.

21 center imageThe 2012 Colt (top) and sketches of Mitsubishi's global small car from 2010

“The Mitsubishi Concept Global Small features qualities inherent in a compact car such as good manoeuvrability and easy operation,” said Mitsubishi.

“This is accomplished in a highly efficient package that can comfortably seat five adults.

“In addition, the Mitsubishi Concept Global Small achieves top-of-class fuel efficiency, with CO2 emissions in the mid-90g/km range due to: usage of an idling stop mechanism a 1.0-1.2-litre class compact engine equipped with a regenerative braking system weight trimming to the most complex parts reduced running resistance in the engine, new-generation CVT, brakes, and tyres and a body shape that greatly reduces aerodynamic resistance.” As we’ve reported, Mitsubishi’s all-new compact car, which emerged in sketch form in December and will be a direct rival for the likes of Toyota’s Yaris and Holden’s Barina – both of which will be renewed in the second half of this year – will be priced from about 400,000 baht ($A13,490) in Thailand.

While Mitsubishi’s current Colt is built in Japan, its successor will join a growing number of Thai-sourced light cars, including Nissan’s new Micra, Ford’s Fiesta, the Mazda2 and Honda’s City sedan and Jazz hatch.

Mitsubishi held an official ground-breaking ceremony for the new Global Small factory in Thailand on December 9, when it announced the brand-new facility – the company’s first new plant in 16 years – will have initial annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, which could be expanded to 200,000.

Based on a completely new platform now under development, the all-new city-car will be powered by 1.0 and 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, with turbocharged an all-electric variants expected to join the range about a year after launch.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation president Osamu Masuko said during a visit to Australia in June that his company’s forthcoming small car would be smaller and more affordable than the current Colt, which is currently priced from $16,490 for the 1.5-litre VR-X.

Last year, the Colt, which has been withdrawn from sale in Victoria this year because it does not have electronic stability control, attracted just 0.9 per cent of Australia’s booming light car market segment, with sales of just 1172 examples – down almost a third on 2009 numbers.

“In response to consumer demand for smaller, more economical vehicles, we are developing a new model, called Global Small,” said Mr Masuko. “This new vehicle is scheduled to be launched globally – including in Australia.”

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