Mitsubishi introduced the "Colt" name in 1962 on the Colt 600, the first of a line of small, sporty vehicles complementing their Mitsubishi 500, the company's first post-war passenger car. Powered by a NE35A 594cc OHV two cylinder air-cooled engine. At this time, Mitsubishi Motors did not yet exist as an autonomous company, and vehicles were being produced by three regional subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. MHI, which had been formally dismantled after the Second World War, resumed operating as a single entity in 1964, but continued to use the 'Colt' marque until the 1970s in Asia, and the 1980s in Europe.
To complement the 600, a larger compact car was introduced in 1963, the Colt 1000, followed by the Colt 800 and Colt 1500 in 1965, and the Colt 1100 in 1966.
The Colt marque was used principally in the United Kingdom, and phased out around 1984. In New Zealand, the Colt brand began disappearing in the mid 1970s in favour of Mitsubishi and surfaced as a model name only in the late 1980s and in 2003.
For further details, please see article on the Mitsubishi Mirage
In the 1980s, Mitsubishi Motors Australia offered the original Mirage as the Colt, building it at its Adelaide plant. The Australian Colt was available as a four- or five-door with a 1.6-litre engine at the top of the range. It was sold as an entry-level model there and in New Zealand, where the second-generation Mirage was already on offer.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Colt name was applied to the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback in most export markets.
In 2003, a new Colt was released by Mitsubishi in Japan with a design by Olivier Boulay and built on the same platform as the Smart Forfour. A European version made at Mitsubishi's NedCar facility followed into production a year later (see below).
In 2004, the Colt was launched in Europe, with models ranging from 1.1 MPI, 1.3 MPI, 1.5 MPI and 1.5T in petrol. The performance specification 1.5T was based on the 4G15 block, with a Turbo and Intercooler to aid power (147 hp @ 6000 rpm / 155lb·ft (210N·m) @ 3500 rpm). MIVEC variable valve timing was also used to increase the output, upping the power dramatically from the 109hp (81kW) 1.5 MPI. The same performance engine was also used to power the later released CZC cabrio model Colt (2005), with the more petrol-friendly 1.5 MPI available as a option.