Alfa Romeo MiTo 2014 review

25 Oct, 2013 3:30pm Paul Bond

The Alfa Romeo MiTo benefits from a host of updates but has it finally become a supermini class contender?

Verdict

2
There is only so long that Alfa Romeo can trade on its style and character. This new engine is competitive on paper, but on the road the facelifted Alfa Romeo MiTo is too noisy and too firm, and it’s just not as much fun to drive as its key rivals. While decent standard equipment helps to compensate a little for the poor build quality and dynamic compromises, there is little to recommend it otherwise.

This new Alfa Romeo MiTo closely follows this year's excellent 4C coupé, which proved what the company is capable of - and it's now time for its current range of small cars to be updated.

• Alfa Romeo MiTo review

The range has been simplified, and the car benefits from some subtle visual changes, as well as a better-quality interior, new technology and an updated TwinAir petrol engine.

This 875cc two-cylinder is fitted with stop-start, and is officially capable of 67.3mpg 
fuel economy (although 45mpg is more realistic). It emits the same 99g/km of CO2 as before, despite the fact that power is boosted by 20bhp to 104bhp.

The power hike helps to slash the 0-62mph sprint time by a useful 1.1 seconds, to 11.4 seconds, although you don’t really notice it until you reach 4,000rpm. This engine thrives on high revs, and the narrow power band and short gearing can be quite frustrating when you’re not in the mood to wring it out in every ratio.

On all but the smoothest surfaces, the ride patters around noisily, with the alloy wheels thumping and crashing over speed humps and potholes. The six-speed box is vague 
and the steering doesn’t feel connected to the front wheels.

The DNA switch on the centre console allows you to vary the throttle response and steering weight, but spongy responses in anything other than D – Dynamic mode – render it virtually redundant. Alfa really should have addressed this.

The interior was the Achilles heel of the pre-facelift MiTo, and a major revamp here introduces a fresh dash design, as well as new plastics. Plus, the Uconnect colour touchscreen system has been added. This is easy enough to use, but only serves to expose how the rest of the cabin has aged. Swathes of hard and mismatched plastic with unusually textured surfaces and sharp edges are simply not good enough in a car that claims to have premium aspirations.

Add cheap leather trim on the steering wheel and gearknob, plus lacklustre fit and finish throughout, and the MiTo still falls well short of rivals like the ageing MINI – 
and even the cheaper Vauxhall Adam feels more robust.

MINI hatchback review

• Vauxhall Adam review

Space inside is also limited, with tall passengers struggling for headroom in the back. And although the boot is quite deep, with a 270-litre capacity when the rear seats are in place, its high and narrow shape makes loading luggage awkward.

Disqus - noscript

I'm usually quite observant, but I can't see any visual differences in the interior or exterior! They could've left it another year and then brought out an all new model, or heavily facelifted version rather than do this.

Sounds like they're reviewing a Corsa.

A decent diesel engine with double the power will still compete with or better this washing machine engine for economy and emissions, so why bother

Reviews early on were saying how great this car was when it first came out, now it gets slated. Where top gear goes all others follow like sheep baa..
I've had a go in a 135bhp version of one of these; firm ride, really corners well and very responsive. Can't see where the face lift is though?

Key specs

  • Price: £15,550
  • Engine: 875cc 2cl turbo
  • Power: 104bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
  • Top speed: 114mph
  • Economy/CO2: 67.3mpg/99g/km
  • Equipment: Cruise control, parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric windows
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1,338
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