Alfa Romeo MiTo Hatchback review
Stylish entry-level Italian goes head-to-head with the MINI and revives the spirit of legendary Seventies Alfasud
Styling/Image There’s no denying the MiTo makes a strong visual impact. With a nose inspired by the stunning Alfa 8C Competizione supercar, bulging wheelarches and a squat rear, the compact hatch is real head-turner. Buyers get to choose from Turismo, Lusso and Veloce trim levels. Go for the range-topping version and 17-inch alloy wheels and a subtle rear spoiler further enhance the looks.
Interior/Practicality If you’re used to Alfa’s recent interior efforts, then the MiTo’s cabin will come as pleasant surprise. The quality of the materials and solid build are impressive, although not quite a match for the MINI. There’s plenty of standard kit, with all cars getting air-conditioning and a trip computer. Space in the rear is a little cramped, while the 270-litre luggage bay serves-up only adequate carrying capacity. Worse still, you’ll have to pay extra for a 60/40 split/fold rear seat to replace the standard single piece bench.
Engine/Performance In true Italian style, the MiTo benefits from a line-up of strong engines. For petrol fans there’s a free-revving and tuneful 1.4-litre unit available in three states of tune – 95bhp, 120bhp and 155bhp. The latter two versions are turbocharged and provide strong urge, particularly in the mid-ranges. Diesel choice is limited to the smooth 95bhp 1.3-litre powerplant and the punchy but clattery 120bhp 1.6-litre.
Driving experience Look beneath the Alfa’s striking looks and you’ll find humble Fiat Grande Punto underpinnings. Despite this, the newcomer is surprisingly able on the road. All versions get the firm’s new three-mode DNA system, which at the flick of a switch alters the throttle response, ESP and traction control. As a result the MiTo feels composed in corners, with sharp turn-in and plenty of grip. The only disappointment is a lack of steering feel, while the diesel-engined models feel a little nose heavy. Ride comfort is acceptable, although sharp bumps can send a shudder through the cabin.
Ownership costs There’s no denying the MiTo scores well in the value-for-money stakes. The Italian comfortably undercuts the MINI on price, while serving up more standard kit. Build quality appears strong too, helping to banish Alfa’s reputation for producing poorly screwed together and potentially unreliable cars. Diesel models perform strongly at the pumps, with the 1.3-litre version returning 62.8mpg. Residual values are strong too, unlike other models in the Italian firm’s line-up. All models retain at least 50 percent of their new price, with the oil-burners being worth the most come trade-in time.
Safety/Environment In its recent EuroNCAP crash test, the MiTo scored an excellent five star rating. Standard safety kit includes seven airbags, ESP and ISOFIX seating. Spend a little extra and you can add a tyre pressure monitoring system and bi-xenon headlamps. If you want to keep your Alfa motoring green, then the 1.3-litre oil-burner is the best bet as it emits just 119g/km of CO2.
Our Choice: MiTo 1.4TB 155 Veloce