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Big on efficiency.

Byline: Malcolm ROBERTSHAW

MOTORING man's constant quest for the "holy grail" of fuel economy and low CO2 emissions continues to feature highly on the wish list of the car makers.

While highly-tuned diesel engines and extremely eco-friendly petrol power continues to deliver impressive mpg figures, alternative fuel saving projects have also been arriving.

One such feature is the stop/start principle, which has already been taken on board by a number of motor manufacturers.

It brings the promise of cheaper motoring to the hard-pressed motorist via more miles per gallon, lower CO2 emissions and some user-friendly insurance rates.

My most recent experience of stop/star technology came during a road test of Mitsubishi's latest economy champion, the Colt.

Based on the CZ2 model, the ClearTec uses Mitsubishi's Auto Stop and Go system to achieve some pretty inspiring results on the road.

Very much an alternative to a diesel, the 1.3-litre ClearTec is an exciting newcomer to an impressive three and five door Colt line-up which offers a further petrol drivetrain, 1.1-litre 734bhp.

Diesel power does come in the 1.5-litre 147bhp turbo oil burner driving the range topping Colt Ralliart while four trim levels are available.

The ClearTec three-door model proved extremely efficient.

When the car is in neutral, the Stop and Go system automatically cuts the engine out when you roll to a halt at a junction or traffic signals instead of leaving the engine idling, wasting fuel and polluting the atmosphere.

When it is safe to drive on, depressing the clutch pedal and selecting a gear is all that's required to switch on the power and gently move away.

Mitsubishi claims average fuel economy can be in excess of 56mpg, while CO2 emissions are well down at 119g/km.

Although I did manage only marginally over 50mpg, the whole business of Stop/Start alongside low rolling resistance tyres did represent some pretty decent green credentials for the Colt.

This latest Colt handles extremely well, proving nicely balanced, taking you in and coming out of corners with the utmost confidence while the well-damped chassis contributes to a comfortable ride.

Kit levels are generous. The ClearTec includes the likes of electric windows all round, air con, steering wheel mounted audio controls, 15-inch alloys, front fogs and chrome tailpipe.

The cabin feels good and has a well-put-together feel. It also features some decent fabrics and plastics.

Inside it boasts a goodly amount of cubby holes and drinks holders, while seats for four can slide, fold, tumble, recline or, with the exception of the driver's seat, be removed.

However, the three door model driven here is not particularly generous with boot space, with only 186 litres being available with all seats taken.

Overall this latest Colt is bigger, more handsome, better kitted out and more flexible than its predecessor, but while the three door version is a very capable urban performer, my own choice would be the five door with its extra manoeuvrable seating room and luggage space.

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* BETTER ECONOMY: The three-door Mitsubishi Colt CZ2 above and (right) the Colt in its five-door form
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 21, 2010
Words:516
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