A star is born: Mitsubishi's new supermini is cosmic on fuel
MITSUBLISHI have taken a huge gamble with their replacement for the much-loved Colt.
Instead of designing a model that will make a bold statement the Japanese car giant opted instead to simply give the customer what they want.
So, just what is that magic ingredient punters crave?
There is three in fact; fuel economy, space, reliability – and all tied together with a reasonable price tag.
But more about that later.
Now, looks-wise the all-new Space Star is not going to blow your socks off and could be described at worst as bland and best as, well ... bland.
Designers have obviously steered clear of the retro look that worked so well for Fiat (500) and MINI probably because they don't have an iconic model to rework.
The safe, almost generic lines mimics those of other Japanese marques and one could easily confuse the front with that of a Nissan Micra and the rear with the Toyota Aygo.
Open the door and things begin to improve.
LIKE ALL MITSUBISHIS, THE DASH IS UNCLUTTERED, SIMPLE AND DRIVER-FRIENDLY.
Climb on-board and the space (hence the name) begins to manifest itself.
For a little car the head, leg and elbow room is remarkable even in the rear pews where most adults will struggle with longer limbs.
In the boot there is a decent 235 litres of luggage space but they could have pushed that a little more considering the absence of a spare wheel.
There's decent level of standard equipment on the two trims.
The entry level Invite comes with Daytime running lights, air con, rear spoiler, electric front windows, electric mirrors, keyless entry, stability control and USB connectivity.
Opt for the Intense spec (€3,000 more) and you get the bigger 1.2 litre engine, alloys, Bluetooth front fog lights and leather steering.
But less (weight) is more with the Space Star thanks to the use of high-tensile steel, the little imp tips the scales at an astonishing 845kgs.
Couple that with two new light-weight 3-cylinder engines returning an eye-watering 70mpg and you've pretty much cracked it.
They are ultra green too as the 1.0 litre has CO2 emissions of just 92g/km while the bigger 1.2 litre has a count of 100g/km – meaning the third lowest road tax of €180.
We tested the bigger engine with the peppy 80bhp powerplant which proved perfect for a mix of motorway and city driving.
The engine is naturally high revving and at first sounds a little gruff but soon settles down as you familiarise yourself.
In fact, as the week-long test wore on one became mesmerised with the colour coded eco read out flashing beside the speedo.
Setting a challenge to stay in the green a slight lift on the accelerator made all difference – especially when the reserve fuel light came on.
We averaged 52mpg, clocking up 450kms on a 35 litre tank which in any man's currency is mega.
With figures like that, I think that gamble has well and truly paid off.
All in all the new Space Star is an excellent all-rounder and ticking all the right boxes especially for beginners, empty nesters and city dwellers.
The only fault I could find was the location of the phone controls which were below the steering to the right instead of on the steering wheel which was filled with a blank panel.
Still though, an awkwardly fitted Bluetooth is better than none.
Another huge bonus is the unrivalled 8-year/150,000km warranty which comes with the car not the owner. Prices start at €11,995.