Alfa’s TCT gearbox works well, providing the ease of an auto without the performance and economy penalties. Those wanting a sportier drive will still get more kicks from a manual, even though Alfa has integrated TCT into its DNA system nicely. However, the poor ride and lifeless steering mean the MiTo is still no MINI beater.
Meet Alfa Romeo’s new twin! The Italian company has made its first dual-clutch transmission, called TCT, and the MiTo supermini is the first model to use it.
Developed by Fiat, the six-speed box is hooked up to a 135bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine, although it will also appear in petrol and diesel versions of the new Giulietta hatch from the spring.
Alfa is the latest in a string of manufacturers to offer a dual-clutch transmission, but the MiTo is only the second car to combine it with stop-start technology – the first being the Porsche Panamera
On paper, the figures are impressive; economy, emissions and acceleration are all improved over the manual car. Plus, steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters are standard, allowing quick manual changes when you’re in the mood.
During leisurely driving, the TCT box shifts smoothly, regardless of whether it’s in full auto or manual mode. The set-up is linked to the car’s DNA switch, which alters the handling from comfort to sporty.
In Dynamic mode, TCT holds gears for longer and shifts down more aggressively when pushing on. However, the gearbox can have a tendency to pause slightly while it decides which ratio to use, and it over-revs occasionally, regardless of the DNA setting.
The stop-start system can be frustrating, too – once the engine cuts out, there’s a brief wait while it fires up and first gear is engaged. That’s not ideal at busy junctions, although the system can be deactivated.
Otherwise, TCT is as impressive as VW’s DSG box. It will certainly satisfy those looking for an easier life in their Italian supermini.