Does Alfa’s MiTo live up to its stylish good looks asks Hannah Gordon
What is it? The smallest vehicle in Alfa Romeo’s stable that not only looks good but claims some pretty huge economy figures.
Who is it aimed at? A three-door hatchback the MiTo is looking to gatecrash the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa party, aimed at the younger market with its sporty looks and small engines. The Alfa Romeo MiTo has the trendy looks that would make it a great choice for any young adult.
Styling? The typical asymmetrical front with the offset numberplate helps the MiTo stand out from the crowd, with the Speciale trim you get some great looking 17” darkened 5-hole alloys, dark wing mirror surrounds and door handles. The MiTo Speciale is also fitted with dark tinted glass, red brake callipers and a rear diffuser. The distinctive triangular grille swoops up over the bonnet and the overall proportions are good, but the styling is rather ‘Marmite’ you either love it or hate it!
Under the bonnet? The 1.3 JTDM-2 turbo diesel certainly isn’t quick with a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds and 95bhp at your disposal, the engine is paired up with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The engine feels smooth especially on motorway journeys when the diesel engine noise is barely heard in the cabin.
What about inside? The MiTo has benefitted from an interior overhaul since it was first launched, the Speciale model had a nice flat-bottomed steering wheel and red stitching on the gear and handbrake. The sporty feel that Alfa Romeo were going for was evident to see with all the carbon effect splashed over dashboard and seats that had the obligatory red stitching and Alcantara. The interior is very dark and it took me a while to get a suitable driving position, the infotainment system includes DAB and Bluetooth, but is a £750 extra and the 5’” screen seems very small. The boot space is decent with 270 litres, but there is a large drop into the boot and the boot lip is high, there is also minimal storage within the cabin.
On the road? The Alfa Romeo has three driving modes that allows you to specify how the engine and car performs, Dynamic, Normal and All Weather (DNA). Dynamic gives you a more sporty feel with better throttle response and steering is sharpened up, Normal is the easiest to live with as you don’t get the jerkiness of the Dynamic setting, and All Weather is an eco setting that means the vehicle is meant to be as economical as it can be but it just feels slow. The MiTo suspension does give a harsh ride and with the 17” alloys its even worse but you have to weigh up whether you want your car to look sporty or provide a comfortable drive. The steering doesn’t give much feedback and feels too light at times, switching to dynamic mode does slightly help.
What about safety? The MiTo includes Vehicle Dymamic Control (VDC – ABS+ASR+Brake Assistant) with Hill Holder, tyre pressure monitoring system and Anti-whiplash front head restraints. The MiTo also benefits from plenty of airbags as standard.
What are my options? Plenty of options are available to customise your MiTo including an electric sunroof (£750), metallic paint (£475), 18” spoked alloy wheels (£450) for exterior enhancements. Should you want to change the interior then dual zone climate control is £450, folding rear seats 60/40 £450 and Connect 5” infotainment system is £750.
Will it break the bank? Some very audacious claims coming from Alfa Romeo over the figures the 1.3 JTDM-2 engine can manage, they state a combined figure of 83.1mpg, I managed below that but I was still very impressed on how frugal it was having driven it on all types of roads. CO2 emissions work out at 89g/km a first year tax bill of £100 and £140 a year thereafter.
So the verdict? The MiTo is a credible alternative in the supermini market but is let down by a poor driving experience and lack of storage in the cabin. The 1.3 JTDM-2 diesel engine is frugal and refined but is let down by a jerky gearbox. The looks will appeal to some but residual values and reliability reputation still remain in peoples minds which doesn’t help the cute Alfa Romeo MiTo.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish, furgal
Why you won’t? Driving dynamics, lack of storage
Alfa MiTo 1.3 JTDM-2
Max speed: 112 mph
0-62 mph: 12.5 seconds
Emissions: 89 g/km
Model price range: from £18,430
No of Doors: 2
Euro NCAP : NA
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 83.1 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 270 litres
Length: 4063 mm
Width: 1720 mm
Height: 1446 mm
Wheelbase: 2511 mm
8th January, 2018