Car group tests

Alfa Romeo MiTo QV vs Peugeot 208 GTi & SEAT Ibiza Cupra

Can Alfa's new MiTo QV hot hatch forge ahead of Ibiza and 208 models?

If you want a car that handles like a go-kart but looks good on the Kings Road, you can’t get better than an upmarket hot hatch. Punchy performance and stylish looks are essential if a car is going to shine in this class. 

Alfa Romeo thinks it’s found the right formula with its new MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde. It looks as striking as ever, plus standard adaptive dampers offer the best mix of cruising comfort and sharp handling. However, there are some seriously tough rivals in this class, and our two opponents will give it a very hard time. 

First up is the Peugeot 208 GTi. Its six-speed manual could give it the edge for driver involvement, while our other contender, the SEAT Ibiza Cupra, has a slight power advantage over the Alfa. 

So does the MiTo QV have the performance, driving talent and desirability to make it worth the extra outlay?

Alfa Romeo MiTo QV review

Peugeot 208 GTi review

SEAT Ibiza SC Cupra review

Click the links above for individual reviews, and scroll down to find out which hot hatch comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Engines

All three cars use turbo petrol engines, while the SEAT adds a supercharger. The 208 GTi is the most powerful with 197bhp and 275Nm of torque, compared to 168bhp/250Nm for the MiTo and 178bhp/250Nm for the Ibiza. Despite its extra power and manual box, the 208 accelerated slower than the SEAT –  the Ibiza’s close-ratio DSG box and a broad powerband gave it an edge.

Options

The MiTo features pricey options, including matt grey paint (£800), a sunroof (£750), Sabelt seats (£2,000) and a Bose stereo (£675). The sole option on the 208 GTi Prestige is metallic paint, while the Ibiza offers panoramic glass (£495), DAB radio (£175), parking sensors (from £220) and a Winter Pack (£345) that adds heated seats.

Badge appeal

The Green Cloverleaf name is part of Alfa’s history, but Peugeot’s GTi badge arguably has more appeal in this sector, thanks to the company’s 30 years of hot hatch history. In contrast, SEAT’s Cupra badge is relatively new, first appearing in the nineties, when SEAT was involved in rallying.

Verdict

1st place: Peugeot 208 GTi

The 208 GTi is proof that Peugeot still knows how to make a high-performance hatchback. The 1.6 THP engine is smooth and torquey, while the manual gearbox gives it a level of involvement its DSG-equipped rivals here can’t match. While the handling isn’t as lively as its illustrious predecessors, the GTi’s all-round ability means it takes a decisive victory here.

2nd place: SEAT Ibiza Cupra

Settle for the Ibiza Cupra, and you won’t be disappointed. The 1.4 TFSI engine punches above its weight, and the DSG gearbox is great in manual or full auto modes. The firm suspension delivers decent handling, but the Ibiza doesn’t have the 208 GTi’s breadth of ability. The quality of the interior is a letdown, although that’s countered by a lower list price than its rivals here.

3rd place: Alfa Romeo MiTo QV

We hoped that the MiTo QV would be a new dawn for Alfa, but it’s a disappointment. In isolation, the engine is reasonable, but the TCT gearbox reduces driving enjoyment, while the adaptive dampers deliver neither sporty handling nor a comfortable ride. Add in a high price tag and surprisingly poor fuel economy, and the MiTo lags well behind its rivals here.

Key specs

 Peugeot 208 GTi PrestigeSEAT Ibiza SC CupraAlfa Romeo MiTo QV
On the road price/total as tested£19,950/£20,245£18,980/£19,990£20,210/£25,020
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£9,097/45.6%£8,067/42.5%£7,053/34.9%
Depreciation£10,853£10,914£13,157
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£791/£1,581£752/£1,504£685/£1,371
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,683/£2,805£1,826/£3,043£2,265/£3,775
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost33/£394/E/£13027/£371/E/£13027/£321/D/£110
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£16.99p/m (3yr/30k)£19.99p/m (3yrs)£214/£313/£214
    
Length/wheelbase3,962/2,538mm4,055/2,469mm4,063/2,511mm
Height/width1,460/1,739mm1,420/1,693mm1,446/1,720mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,390cc4cyl in-line/1,368cc
Peak power/revs197/5,800 bhp/rpm178/6,200 bhp/rpm168/5,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs275/1,700 Nm/rpm250/2,000 Nm/rpm250/2,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission6spd man/fwd7spd DSG/fwd6spd TCT/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/space saver45 litres/space saver45 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)285/1,076 litres236 litres/N/A270/950 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,160/490/1,150kg1,259/411kg/N/A1,145/N/A/500kg
Turning circle11.4 metres10.5 metres11.3 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unlimited)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/2yrs3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20k miles (1yr)/30010k miles (1yr)/12818k miles (1yr)/46 
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos14th/9th24th/32nd21st/18th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars88/78/61/5 (2012)82/77/59/5 (2011)5/3/2 (2008)
    
0-60/30-70mph6.8/6.0 secs6.6/5.8 secs7.6/6.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.1/4.1 secs2.6/3.4 secs3.0/4.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th5.5/6.8 secs/N/A4.8/6.3/7.8 secs5.4/6.8 secs/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph143mph/2,500rpm142mph/2,500rpm136mph/3,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph54.5/39.9/9.6m49.4/35.7/9.4m55.1/40.9/11.0m
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range39.7/8.7/43736.6/8.1/362 miles29.5/6.5/292 miles
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph62/46/61/71dB62/41/64/70dB62/44/60/69dB
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined34.4/60.1/47.9mpg37.7/55.4/47.9mpg40.4/64.2/52.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined7.6/13.2/10.5mpl8.3/12.2/10.5mpl8.9/14.1/11.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket164/139g/km/20%178/139g/km/20%221/124g/km/17%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/rear/noFour/yes/£220/noSeven/yes/rear/no
Auto/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Auto climate ctrl/leather/heated seatsYes/part/yesYes/part/£345£450/£1,050/£250
Met paint/xenon lights/sunroof£495/no/yes£490/yes/£495£475/no/£750
Sat-nav/USB/DAB/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/no/£175/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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