First DriveAlfa fits six-speed TCT transmission to its spritely 'Cloverleaf' version of its ageing supermini
First DriveTwo-cylinder Mito proves occasional good fun when pushed hard, but predictably fails to deliver on the claimed economy front
What is it?
Alfa’s modestly refreshed Mito range brings with it lower entry prices, higher standard specifications and a fuel-sipping, sub-100g/km CO2 version tested here.
This new 1.3-litre turbodiesel Mito is the cheapest diesel and most frugal version in the line-up. The engine is one you’ll also find in the Fiat Punto and Vauxhall Corsa, although power outputs and economy differ slightly.
In the Mito, it emits just 95g/km, making it exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge. Alfa also claims an average of over 75mpg. On paper, things look promising.
What's it like?
In practice, however, this eco model disappoints. In the lower regions of its torque band, the engine’s turbocharger doesn’t respond quickly enough, making smooth progress between the Mito’s five forward gears strangled and frustrating, especially in traffic. A six-speed ’box would probably ease this but isn’t offered.
Other mechanical gripes include a gruff-sounding engine, spongy steering and a hesitant stop-start system that doesn’t spark up the engine quickly enough when called upon. Intrusive tyre roar, especially at motorway speeds, is another issue.
The ride is fidgety and sports-car firm; add to this an impractical ride height, which causes the Mito’s front end to kiss – sometimes hammer – the tarmac over speed bumps and town driving can be challenging. On the plus side, though, front-end grip is great, making this a fun car to pilot on twisty (but smooth) roads.
Inside, you get plenty of kit – cruise control, Bluetooth and air-con are included – and the seating position is second to none, but the Mito’s interior quality can’t compare with the superior fit and finish of its diesel-powered Audi A1 and Mini rivals. It’s also lacking in cubbyholes.
Should I buy one?
The 1.3 JTDm-2 certainly isn’t the best model in the Mito range (that’s the 1.4TB MultiAir), but it is priced very competitively. And although our 200-mile mixed-driving test route didn’t return Alfa Romeo’s keen average fuel economy figure, 53mpg is still respectable.
However, given the fierce competition, the Mito fails to shine. The ride is too compromised and the Germans simply do it better.
Alfa Romeo Mito 1.3 JTDm-2 Sprint
Price: £14,450; Top speed: 108mph; 0-60mph: 12.9sec; Economy: 78.5mpg; Co2: 95g/km; Kerbweight: 1150kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls in line, 1248cc, turbodiesel; Power: 85bhp at 3500rpm; Torque: 148lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual