UK Autotest - Colt Cordia Turbo (Page 2 of 3)
Article from UK Autocar Magazine dating back to 30 October 1982.
Article supplied by Derk Henderson
Economy: Paying For Performance
Overall consumption worked out at 25.2 mpg, not as
good as many sporting 1600s, but not that bad considering how hard the
Cordia must be driven to get the most entertaining performance out of
Less demanding driving does mean more acceptable consumption; for
instance one 250-mile session consisting almost entirely of 70 mph
motorway cruising in the 22.8 mph/1,000 rpm high top gear - at an
unfussed 3,000 rpm - returned 29.2 mpg. However, the Cordia Turbo
cries out to be driven enthusiastically, and other interim mpg figures
ranged from 26.8 to as low as 20.2 mpg.
The theory that turbo charging offers performance plus improved economy
is proved in our constant speed consumption figures, which reveal that
35.8 mpg should be attainable at 70 mph, and nearly 60 mpg at 30 mph.
This car, more than many, illustrates how far the ideal of theory can
sometimes be from the stark reality of practice.
Noise: Wind and Whine
Actually, engine noise is most predominant,
but in a rather pleasant way bearing in mind the car's
sporting image, and the whine of the turbocharger is in fact
heard only occasionally, such as when engine revs die during
gear change. Wind noise is also fairly obtrusive,
originating mainly from around the front pillars and the
door-mounted rear view mirrors. Wind hiss also increases
considerably when the sunroof is opened, but it never
reaches an uncomfortable level. It is quite possible to hold
a moderately-pitched conversation or listen to the
radio/tape player with the volume acceptably below
distorting levels while cruising at 70mph with the sunroof
removed. There is some road noise, as might be expected with
the fairly firm suspension, with quite a lot of thump
transmitted into the passenger compartment when running over
bumpy or jointed surfaces. Overall noise is fairly well
subdued, so that long distance highway cruising can be quite
Road Behaviour: Well Mannered
The rack and pinion steering is light and nicely weighted. It is
averagely geared at 3.5 turns from lock to lock, and is
fingertip-light at speed; the 34ft 7in. mean turning circle is not
really good for such a compact car, calling for lots of wheel
twiddling in tight conditions, but fortunately the steering is not
particularly heavy at parking speeds. The Cordia can be placed
accurately through bends, and while kickback from rough surfaces is
well controlled there is still sufficient feel for the driver to know
exactly what the front wheels are doing.
Cornering at speed is almost unexpectedly neutral, considering the
rather front-heavy weight distribution. Tyre squeal warns of the
approach of the limit of adhesion, after which the car widens its
cornering angle gently and progressively as a little understeer builds
up. Closing the throttle sharply in a fast corner results in a fairly
marked switch to oversteer, but this is easy to catch and correct.
There is very little roll and it takes a lot of provocation to make
the Michelin XVS tyres lose their grip.
The car feels sturdily stable at speed, and is little affected by
cross winds. Good handling has been obtained at some expense in terms
of ride comfort – the ride is firm, as you would expect in a car with
such a sporty nature, becoming a little restless and fidgety over
coarse or bumpy surfaces. However, such sharp bumps and thumps are
well isolated from the passenger compartment; longer undulations are
not so well damped, resulting in fairly sharp vertical movement, but
not to an unsettling or uncomfortable degree.
The Cordia Turbo uses ventilated disc brakes in front, but retains
drum brakes at the rear. In practice the brakes are light and
pleasantly progressive, allowing confident fast cross-country driving.
A moderate 10lb pedal pressure is sufficient for check braking, a
heftier 50lb tramp being required for a best stop of 0.92g before the
front wheels lock.
The test car made fairly heavy weather of our deliberately severe
brake fade test, which consists of 10 consecutive 0.5g
stops from the car's quarter mile speed, in this case 80 mph. Pedal
pressures from the first few stops did not rise above 32 lb, but by
the ninth stop had risen sharply to 80 lb before recovering and easing
back to 40 lb on the final stop. This pattern of pedal pressures is
not in itself unusual, but the last five stops were accompanied by
clouds of smoke, increased shuddering and a sponginess which lasted
for some time after the test.
The handbrake gave an acceptable 0.32g retardation, and held the car
securely facing up and down our 1-in-3 test hill.
Behind the wheel: Competent
It's easy to get comfortable in the driver's seat, which has just
enough rearward adjustment to fit a six-footer and is well placed in
relationship to the steering wheel and the pedals. The cushion is firm
but comfortable and the backrest, although having stepped rather than
infinitely variable rake adjustment, provides good lateral support.
There is also variable lumbar support, although on the test car this
did not seem to vary very much, and some testers found the lumbar
support a little too "sharp". The pedals are well spaced, and the
brake and accelerator are fairly well positioned for heel- and-toe
work. Suiting the car's sporting character, there is a neat rest for
the left foot up against the transmission housing. The gear levers -
both of them fall easily to hand and the column-mounted stalk switches
are within fingertip reach. Other switches, such as adjustment for the
electric door-mounted rear view mirrors, rear window heater and rear
fog lamp, are positioned on the facia and require more of a stretch.
The bonnet release lever is clearly marked and easy to get at below
the facia to the right. The main instruments, 140 mph speedometer on
the left and matching rev counter on the right, are easy to read in
daylight with their bright orange numbers on black ground, but are
less clear at night; thankfully this model has been spared the digital
readouts seen on Japanese market cars earlier in the year. Between
these dials is a panel of large warning lamps; smaller dials, for fuel
level, battery volts, oil pressure and water temperature are
positioned in the corners of the instrument panel, and are partly
obscured by the steering wheel rim. A driver would have to get used to
making a conscious head movement to keep a check on them.
The stalk switches. follow the more correct for right-hand drive
pattern with the windscreen wash/wipe (two-speed plus intermittent
plus flick-wipe) on the left and headlamps, dipswitch and indicators
on the right. In the Cordia the entire steering wheel centre crash pad
and about a third of each crossbar form the horn press - you can hit
the centre in an emergency, or reach the crossbar with a thumb,
without taking fingers from the wheel, for a more leisurely warning
toot. Visibility is good for a coupe thanks to the fairly high rear
roofline and the consequently fairly large rear window. Although head
restraints are fitted to the front seats, they have been kept fairly
small and therefore do not interfere seriously with rearward vision.
Although side pillars are quite thick, only the B-post - which
incorporates an interesting ventilating outlet for rear passengers -
obstructs vision to a noticeable degree. The wipers leave a fairly
large area of glass unswept in the upper left corner of the
windscreen, but more importantly a tendency for the wipers to lift off
the screen at anything over 60 mph, which we noticed in cars driven at
the time of the Japanese launch, has been overcome by the fitting of a
plastic deflector on the driver's side wiper, which on the test car
remained firmly in contact right up to 110 mph.
The headlamps proved adequate at traffic speeds, although the cut-off
on dip was rather too sharp; we wonder if more powerful lamps, with a
more moderate cut-off, might not be more desirable considering the
car's performance potential.
The air blending heater is efficient, delivering lots of warm air on
request, and it has a fairly sensitive temperature control. The
heater's controls allow air to be directed at face level, or into the
foot wells, or bi-level; there is a separate, position for demist, and
another to split warm air between demist and face level, presumably to
keep the ears warm in deepest winter. It is also possible to achieve a
flow of warm air into the foot wells and cool exterior air to the face
through the four facia vents, but the cool air flow is dependent on
ram flow and dies away in stop-start traffic. Rear seat passengers can
obtain an independent supply of cool air by opening ram-fed vents
built into the B-posts. The fan has four speeds, and is commendably
quiet at all settings.
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