The Alfa Romeo MiTo - the most compact model in Alfa’s range - has had its sights set firmly on the premium hatchback market since it was launched. While it’s not quite in the league of the Audi A1 or the Mini hatchback, the Mito’s sharp, stylish looks and lashings of Italian flair certainly make it a compelling proposition.
When it comes to Italian style, the 3-door MiTo has it in spades. Its trademark Alfa ‘shield’ grille and offset front number plate hark back to classic Alfa Romeos of old, while its über-cool rounded taillights, swoopy silhouette and rounded lines lend it lots of sporting character.
You’re certainly not going to mistake the MiTo for anything else on the road. Thanks to its diminutive size, the baby Alfa is also good for trips around town – and the sleek, streamlined looks give this model an edge too. In fact, it’s probably made for driving the winding roads of Italy’s coast – you’ll just have to make do with trips to Whitby in it.
When it comes to Italian style, the 3-door MiTo has it in spades.
What’s it like to drive?
The Alfa Romeo MiTo is a peppy performer, with plenty of grip and nicely weighted steering making light work of twisty B-roads. A firm suspension set-up and a stiff, slightly unyielding ride let the MiTo down on longer motorway journeys, where comfort – or the lack of it – may become an issue.
Acceleration is decent across the MiTo model range, with the Veloce version delivering the most power.
When it comes to keeping up with traffic on the motorway, every MiTo passes muster, although the lower powered petrol and diesel engine cars are more suited for town use.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo is a peppy performer.
The MiTo’s driving position is good, with an adjustable driver’s seat that’s set lower to the floor, so you feel like you’re sitting in the seat rather than on it. The steering wheel also offers a range of adjustability, so getting comfortable is a straightforward affair.
While there’s a great view out front, rear visibility is slightly impeded thanks to the MiTo’s narrow back windows. That’s the price to pay for its stylish exterior design.
Equipment levels are good, if not class-leading, with entry level versions (simply called MiTo) featuring Alfa’s 5-inch Uconnect infotainment system with Bluetooth and a DAB radio. Super spec cars add cruise control, special upholstery with ‘Eco-Leather’ side bolstering and rear-parking sensors as standard.
Special models gain Alcantara-clad sports seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, while top-of-the-range Veloce versions boast built-in sat-nav and some sporty exterior addenda.
Interior quality is not quite on a par with rivals. More recent MiTos boast a renewed dashboard and better plastics than you’ll find on older models. The fit and finish could be better. Inside a MiTo is still a stylish place to be, though, with chrome-ringed dials, circular air vents and tactile dash materials bringing a taste of the car’s chic exterior styling into the cabin. Think high-end Italian restaurant, rather than high street pizza chain.
The MiTo offers decent amounts of leg and headroom for front seat passengers, although those in the rear won’t fare so well due to the Alfa’s sloping roofline and compact dimensions.
There’s a small glovebox for your Italian leather driving gloves (and probably not much else), as well as a front armrest with a storage compartment that comes as standard on all but the entry-level models.
The MiTo’s boot will easily swallow a weekly shop, couple of crates of Pinot Grigio, or a couple of medium-sized suitcases, while the standard one-piece folding rear bench seat can be lowered should you need to carry larger loads.
Running costs and reliability
While all MiTos have decent efficiency, the 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir engine models are the superstars when it comes to fuel economy, with a claimed figure of 67mpg. The TwinAir’s CO2 emissions – just 99g/km – mean there are no road tax charges in the UK.
At the other end of the scale, even the 1.4-litre petrol engine Veloce model returns 52.3mpg. All MiTo engines feature stop-start technology to help keep fuel bills low.
What cinch loves
We love the MiTo’s cool continental styling. Even its name is stylish, being a combination of Milan and Torino (or Turin) – the two Italian cities where it was designed and built. And as well as being thoroughly urbane, the MiTo has a maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
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Town and country drivers
The Alfa Romeo MiTo is well equipped, relatively practical and cheap to run. It looks great too, which gives it an edge over some of its more conservative rivals. It may not be the best when it comes to build quality and driving dynamics, but we reckon the MiTo’s unique Italian charm makes it the coolest kid in the class. A worthy contender? We think so.
This review was