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Mitsubishi to Show Tiny Colt CZC in Geneva

Automotive expert , Updated:
A City-Sized Drop Top For All Seasons

2006 is going to be one of the biggest years to date concerning
Another Mitsubishi convertible, but this one isn't bound for the U.S.. (Photo: Mitsubishi Cars North America)
the convertible market, with plenty of newcomers just around the bend, keeping both customers and automakers on their toes. Though there are simply too many to list off all at once, top members of this list include the Volkswagen Eos, Volvo C70 and Pontiac G6 folding hardtop coupe-convertibles, Jaguar's gorgeous XK Convertible, Saturn's edgy Sky and Mitsubishi's curvaceous Eclipse Spyder, the subject of yesterday's preview.

Speaking of Mitsubishi, the Eclipse, now in its fourth generation, is about as American as apple pie (or the Pontiac G6 convertible, for that matter) - designed in California and assembled in Mitsubishi's U.S. plant between Bloomington and Normal, Illinois. European Mitsubishi fans won't be left out of the sun as they have their own unique convertible especially catered for their market of narrow roads, high taxes and even higher fuel prices. Built in collaboration with Italian coachworks firm Pininfarina, the two manufacturers have come up with the Colt CZC, a tiny 2+2 seat B-Segment convertible with a folding hardtop roof.

The Colt CZC fits into a segment populated by the likes of the Micra C+C and Peugeot 206 CC. (Photo: Mitsubishi Cars North America)
the 206 CC, Nissan Micra C+C and the Opel Tigra, the Colt CZC is based off of a standard, city-roamer subcompact - in this case Mitsubishi's acclaimed Colt. Interestingly, the CZC uses the floorpan of the slightly larger Colt 5-door, instead of the shorter 3-door CZT hatchback, which allowed for better proportions and a larger space to work with to incorporate the roof and a reasonably sized trunk. To compensate for the roof chop, Mitsubishi has reinforced the chassis and body of the car to improve the its rigidity to retain a high level of passive safety and restore some of the driving capabilities.

From a visual standpoint, the production CZC is a very interesting looking automobile, sharing many of its lines with the 2003 CZ2 Cabriolet Concept and the rally-car inspired 2001 CZ3 Tarmac Concept. When the roof is down and stowed away, it looks quite good, but the moment the state-of-the-ark roof goes up, it goes from looking like a small convertible to a Lego toy car with equally long nose and tail. Like the regular Colt, the CZC's cabin is clean and minimalist with iPod-inspired details, but, judging from the pictures, the rear '+2' seats are more like dog seats or padded baggage holders, present only for insurance purposes.

The CZC is powered by one of two engines. Most will probably opt for the 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four
Interior is minimalist, but well-built and full of clever iPod-like details. (Photo: Mitsubishi Cars North America)
that generates 150-horsepower, impressive output considering the size of the engine. And while European Mitsubishis, Lancer Evolution aside, are not known for power, the CZC delivers class-leading power and performance with a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. For more cost-conscious buyers, a naturally aspirated version of this engine will be available; it produces 109-hp.

Unlike the regular five-door or three-door hatchbacks, the Colt CZC will be built at Pininfarina's Bairo plant, which is located just outside of Turin, Italy. All mechanical components featured in the vehicle, such as its suspension, engine, and gearbox will be imported from the NedCar plant in Born, Holland, and will be mated to the Pininfarina-modified body.