Alfa Romeo Mito – Review

The Fiat 500, the Audi A1, the Mini Cooper; the first names that spring to mind you look for a youthful, small supermini. But what about Alfa Romeo’s offering, the Mito? Translated to English, Mito means myth. So, can the Mito hold its own against its rivals? Or is it, well, just a myth?

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A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Alfa Romeo Mito Super Sport
Engine: 1.3JTD Diesel – 95hp and 200Nm
Transmission: 5-Speed manual, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Mito range start at €18,295. Price as tested – €22,366.

Styling

The Mito, much like its older brother the Giulietta, has got that Italian flair. Its sophisticated yet endearing, elegant yet fun design has been a hit since 2009. Receiving a facelift in 2013, the current Mito has a bold, 8c-esque face. Its bubbly head lights brighten up the front end of the Mito with the Alfa triangular grille very much in place. The chrome surrounded grille is complemented by titanium grey headlamp and tail lamp surrounds. The test car was finished in Alfa White (€350) with grey 17-inch “Turbine” alloy wheels. Swap the Alfa White paintwork for Blue Tornado and you will have yourself one fine looking Mito.

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Interior

Pull the titanium-coloured door handle and open, what feels like, the very sturdy, quality built door and you are greeted with black leather, sports seats in this Super Sport trim. What lets down the comfortable seats is the excessive use of scratchy plastics on every surface.

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The steering wheel feels chunkier and sturdier than that of the Giulietta making it feel more driver focused. The dash is well laid out resulting in everything being within easy reach of the driver.

Alfa’s 5-inch UConnect infotainment system blends well into the dash and is quick and easy to connect your phone up to.

On The Road

Much like the Renault Megane, I wanted the Mito to be a good car to drive. It looks very pretty but eventually, this is where the niggle lies. The engine. I am trying to think of a word that will let the engine down nicely, but I can’t. Its at that level of disappointment. Yes, ok, I did say similar things about the Guilietta because I feel that a diesel doesn’t belong in an Alfa, thats just me. I’m a petrol head, I’ll admit it. But, I do give credit where it is due but I cannot in this case.

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The tiny 1248cc engine is gutless and noisy. Standard across the range, comes Alfa’s DNA switch. Dynamic is the only mode to have it it in if you want to get anything out of the 95hp motor. Leave it in Natural and you will forever be waiting for the turbo to spool up enough to get you off the mark. The only ounce of power that makes it feel at all adequate is when the torque finally kicks in gets you moving. Even at that, you are jolted forward and high up the rev range where you find yourself needing to change gear again.

No car should have to put up with a small displacement diesel. As a result, Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat Chrysler boss, recently said at the Geneva Motor Show that the FCA group will see an end to them soon. If only he could had realised sooner.

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The Mito weighs in at 1,225kg which is chunky 245kg heavier than its Italian cousin, the Fiat 500, weighing in at 980kg. Although, a redeeming feature of the Mito is the gear change. Gear shifts are engaging and make the driver want to push the car. The DNA switch does tighten up the steering slightly but the body roll restricts you once again. The little Mito wants to let loose out on a nice, twisty and winding road but just can’t catch a break.

Practicality/Boot Space

Continuing with the petite sizing, the boot measures in at 270l and with a high loading lip, it does not allow for ease of access for larger loads. Though comparing this to the Fiat 500’s 185l, it does not seem so bad.

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Up front there are enough cup holders, decent sized door pockets and an average sized glove box.

Equipment

The UConnect system, equipped as standard across the range, is easy to use once you get your head around it. My phone connected up nice and simply, unlike in the Giulietta.

Running Costs

The Mito averaged a fuel consumption figure of 5.4l/100km. Atleast its frugal! The tax bill equates €180 per year due to the CO2 emissions of 89g/km.

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Pricing

Prices for the Mito range start at €18,295. The price as tested was €22,366, including options.

Competition

Fiat 500 – Driving an original 50’s Fiat 500 is as close to Italian culture as you’ll get without being sat in an espresso bar in Rome itself. When Fiat decided to revive the name in 2009, it took the world by storm. Its cutesy, retro looks worked for the brand. So much so, that the Mito is that bit more exclusive on the road.

Mazda2 – I have said it before and I will say it again, Mazda have it just right in terms of styling at the moment with the KODO design. The KODO design gives the Mazda2’s small size the benefit of looking like its older brother, the Mazda3. The Mazda2 is priced from €15,995 so starts off more attractively than the Mito. It feels better built and has a nicer laid out interior than its Italian rival too.

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Opel Adam – Both the Adam and Adam S offer the necessities of a city car. The Adam provides enough customisation options while the Adam S offers enough performance on top of that. The Adam range starts from €15,795.

Conclusion

Like father, like son is a fitting statement for the Alfa brand. As much as I like the seductive looks of the Mito, it is let down by the interior and engine. Much like with the Giulietta; if it was specced right, particularly with the right engine, you may have something that you could be proud of. But Marchionne, get rid of the small displacement diesels, ASAP.

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