From £11,894
Tweaked supermini is more accomplished

Our Verdict

The Alfa Romeo Mito
The Mito is Alfa Romeo’s first true supermini since the Alfasud

The Alfa Romeo Mito is a usable, fun package, but the DNA system frustrates

What is it?

This is a second verdict on the new Alfa Romeo Mito, because the first press Mitos were incorrectly set up. This iteration is much better, if hardly flawless.

Whether undergoing the rigours of the Autocar road test or battling amid the white heat of comparison, we have so far found Alfa Romeo’s Mito wanting. The 153bhp Veloce version scored a disappointing 2.5 stars in our road test, and it came last in a face off against the Mini Cooper S and the Ford Fiesta Zetec S.

Alfa was not happy, its circumstances only slightly mitigated, by the subsequent discovery that all the UK press cars were fitted with a pre-production iteration of the electric power assisted steering software, and obsolete damper settings too.

All the Mitos that have actually been sold to customers, says Alfa Romeo, were fitted with later iterations of steering software and shock absorbers.

What’s it like?

The unaltered Mito had weirdly springy steering, and an often crashy and restless ride that quite often sent quivers through the through the body. We were wrong to say, though, that the Mito has some form of electronic damping regulated by its DNA control - it doesn’t, but the additional steering resistance in Dynamic, and the looser front shockers of the original, made it feel under-damped in the normal mode.

The revised Mito is a real improvement, however. First, the steering’s springiness has mostly gone - it was particularly strong in the Dynamic mode and, though the resistance still feels slightly odd, it’s acceptable.

The ride and damping control benefit more from the mods, the Alfa more tightly controlled more of the time, and its ride less crashy over the rough stuff.

These improvements make it easier to enjoy and exploit its high levels of grip. You are encouraged to push it towards the intervention point of its Q2 electronic diff (it brakes wheels individually to emulate a limited-slip diff), which in combination with its skid-compensating steering, helps the Alfa resist understeer through a hard-charged bend.

Should I buy one?

While the Mito puts up a serious challenge to the Mini, which is also a pretty busy drive, we reckon the Fiesta is more capable, despite flaws including excessive road noise and lazy brake response.

Where the Ford scores is with its suppleness. Despite this allowing more roll, its offers fluent responses and a back axle that works harder to counter mid-bend understeer than either of these rivals can manage.

As a result, the Fiesta remains our favourite, but the Alfa is sufficiently improved to be on a par, overall, with the Cooper S, and a usefully more appealing car.

Join the debate

Comments
29

8 April 2009

I woudnt agree with Richard on that the Fiesta is a better car as I am a massive alfa fan and I have been for years.I know that there is a difference of 1000 pounds in the price but if it was me I know what I would rather have... The Mito is faster and crucially better looking and will be a less common sight on British and Irish roads which is better also!

Does anyone else out there agree with me?

8 April 2009

How to shoot yourself in the foot Alfa style ... send out press cars with the wrong settings!!!

You couldn't make it up!

8 April 2009

[quote timmmmy]

I woudnt agree with Richard on that the Fiesta is a better car as I am a massive alfa fan and I have been for years.I know that there is a difference of 1000 pounds in the price but if it was me I know what I would rather have... The Mito is faster and crucially better looking and will be a less common sight on British and Irish roads which is better also!

[/quote]

The Alfa's aimed at the Premium end of the market, the Fiesta is mainstream, and isn't releasing an ST version any time soon, so it's a lot cheaper. I don't think many will be making the Mito vs Fiesta decision, so hardly worth mentioning, but the Mito vs Mini comparison is a relevant one, and perhaps the forthcoming Audi A1 / A2 models.

timmmmy, as a self confessed Alfa fan, I'm not sure your views can exactly be taken as unbiased!

8 April 2009

I dunno most press reviews on Mito were positive only Autocar gave the bashing, a mostly typical Autocar Alfa bashing, doubt there was much wrong with the car in the first place just the reviewer.


If Alfa did send the wrong car was it also one that had adjustable suspension, no just an arse review.

8 April 2009

[quote Autocar]This is a second verdict on the new Alfa Romeo Mito, because the first press Mitos were incorrectly set up. [/quote]

How does a company like Alfa Romeo, in this day and age, let its press cars out on the "wrong set up"? This is just incompetent, especially considering first impressions last and no where more so than the motoring world.

The next question has to be, if they are capable of making this bigger balls up, what else do they get wrong on a customer level?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

8 April 2009

Agree about the incompetence, tis a bit worrying, but this does at least explain the disparity between the road test review and comments made to defend the MiTo by people who'd booked test drives. Looking forward to seeing the MultiAir system put into practice on this car at the end of the year, and whether or not the GTA will cope with the power through its front wheels and/ or ruin your spine

8 April 2009

WOW! Do i detect actual criticism of Mini Cooper's handling? "busy" That must be a first.

8 April 2009

[quote TegTypeR]

How does a company like Alfa Romeo, in this day and age, let its press cars out on the "wrong set up"? This is just incompetent, especially considering first impressions last and no where more so than the motoring world.

[/quote]

Could it be that there wasn't a balls up after all but stung by the wide press criticism of the car Alfa carried out a quick re-jig of the suspension set up?

8 April 2009

[quote Lee23404]

Could it be that there wasn't a balls up after all but stung by the wide press criticism of the car Alfa carried out a quick re-jig of the suspension set up?

[/quote]

Possibly, but if that's the improvements they can do in that shorter period of time, just imagine what they could do if they really put their mind to it!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

8 April 2009

Does anyone out there own a Mito? I want to replace my 18-month old A3 2.0TDi (good nick, open to offers etc) with something more funky and have been drawn to a Cooper S. I used to sell and race Alfas (Alfasuds) in the 80s, so I quite like the idea of a return, but have been put off by the less than complimentary road test reports (and the fact that my nearest dealer ignored my presence in his showroom, despite my climbing all over the Mito on show!)

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