Before Alfa Romeo decided on Mito (a meeting of Milan and Torino – locations for the Mito’s design and manufacturing respectively), Alfa’s new baby went under the codename Junior. Maybe Mito kept the marketing men happy, or perhaps the historic Junior tag is being held back. Either way, Junior nicely defined what the Mito is about and what Alfa hopes it will achieve.
The Mito is Alfa Romeo’s first true supermini since the Alfasud, its 33, 145 and 147 models having been aimed at the larger family hatch market. And along with a new segment, Alfa is gunning for a new type of customer, one younger, hipper and, although cognisant of the Alfa brand, perhaps not so tied up in its history. Alfa, in short, wants to produce its Mini – with which any similarity in the name is purely coincidental. If Alfa succeeds, and the Mito is as successful as its popular supermini rival, it’ll pretty much guarantee the company’s future for the next few years.
The majority of Mito petrols are 1.4-litre units, with all bar the base model getting Multiair tech. In time, Multiair will spread to the diesels, but for now familiar 1.3- and 1.6-litre diesels are available.
Alfa has since added Fiat's 875cc turbocharged TwinAir engine to the range. The little two-cylinder unit produces 84bhp and achieves 67.3mpg. Trim levels include Turismo, Sprint, Lusso and Veloce.
Then there’s the standalone Cloverleaf. The Mito was launched in early 2009, but Alfa waited to introduce its new Multiair technology before giving its range-topping version of the hatchback the famous Quadrifoglio Verde (Cloverleaf) badge. The QV originally started as a symbol of good luck on Udo Sivocci’s 1923 Alfa RL racing car, which went on to win that year’s Targa Florio. Since then it has been used on all Alfa’s race cars, as well as eventually becoming a symbol of the marque’s high-performance road cars.