After not even a fortnight of ownership, I have come to the conclusion that I really don’t like my 1987 Mitsubishi Colt.
Poor F774 NDL shouldn’t be considered a dreadful car though. That would discredit it when it has been quite remarkably loyal in the 500+ miles I’ve covered since purchase. It has done everything I have asked of it. As a conveyance, it is brilliant.
But, it is not just ordinary to drive, it’s actually unpleasant at times. It has steering which inspires as much confidence as a speech by Donald Trump. The engine sounds about as exciting as underwater snooker. It has all the body control of a walrus in a wheelbarrow. It is to car handling dynamics what baked beans are to the world of fine cuisine.
Sure, I admire it’s ability to start, impeccably every time, just as I admire beans on toast, but this will not go down as one of my better purchases. To be fair, the list of not-very-good purchases is very long in my case…
Do I regard this as a disaster then? No, I do not. I greatly enjoyed buying a sub-£300 car and trusting it with my 500-mile crazy roadtrip weekend. I also appreciate the chance to reset my baseline when it comes to trying other vehicles. It doesn’t pay to stay too blinkered in one particular area. I’m appreciating Citroen BXs and XMs all the more right now, for their remarkable blend of comfort and handling. It’s an opportunity to forget the flaky electronics and problematic brake calipers! Hmmmm, rose tinted glasses.
It’s proof that I love variety. During the short time I’ve owned this vehicle, I’ve been able to drive it back-to-back with a Jaguar XK140, a Nissan 300ZX Z31 and a Toyota Supra Mk3. The Colt is much easier to climb in and out of than all of them, and has a more comfortable ride. See? It does have good points!
But, it has also served to remind me what I really want in a car. Handling prowess is important. I like to drive a car that feels like it wants to corner well. But not at the cost of comfort. I don’t like being jolted, so an actual sports car probably isn’t what I want. That’s why the Prelude had to go (fantastic handling, but it was rather firm of suspension).
To be fair to the Colt, I fell out of love with the Austin Maestro for very similar reasons. Oddly, I found the van version more entertaining to drive. It’s also why the Nissan Bluebird didn’t tick the magic box for me. Even a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 proved a disappointment – more for ride than handling. Dynamics are important to me. I think it’s why I like French cars so much. They really understand suspension.
So, the search is on for the next vehicle. I’ve done a lot of head scratching already, but I think what I’d really like to own is something actually nice! I will be attempting to do that after a little holiday in France. I was hoping to buy something pleasant in which to travel, but I bought the Colt instead. So, it looks like the RAV4 will be getting that gig after all. Who knows what I’ll end up with after all this!