From £11,894
A new era for Alfa, but lacking the dynamic flair of the Mini Cooper D

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 the Alfa Romeo Mito 1.6 JTDm, a direct rival to the multitalented Mini Cooper D. And with the 118bhp, 1.6-litre turbodiesel under the bonnet, the Alfa Mito 1.6 JTDm is an attractive package of economy and style, but it lacks the dynamic flair that makes the diesel Mini the enthusiast’s choice.

The Alfa Romeo Mito also gets Alfa’s DNA technology. This is a software package that allows the driver to alter the car’s steering, throttle, suspension and traction control systems between dynamic, normal and all-weather. On this Mito 1.6 JTDm, and the range-topping Mito 1.4 TB155, choosing the dynamic setting also engages a turbo overboost facility.

What’s it like?

Though the JTDm powerplant is a fun engine to keep on the boil, the Alfa Mito 1.6 JTDm can feel laboured on the way up the rev range and requires regular use of the notchy, long-throw gearbox to maintain swift progress.

With the dynamic setting selected the Alfa Mito loses its frustratingly sluggish throttle response and springy steering to become a much more entertaining drive, aided by Alfa Romeo’s Q2 electronic diff system, which does a convincing impression of a mechanical limited-slip diff and significantly helps mid-corner traction.

Unfortunately the ride quality lets the Mito 1.6 JTDm down in most situations; only on the smoothest of surfaces does the ride really settle. While body control is good, the shock absorbers translate the asphalt’s topography into uncomfortable crashing and jarring in the cabin, even at normal town speeds.

At least the ride settles on the motorway and allows the driver to enjoy the Mito 1.6 JTDm’s decent cruising ability. A well insulated cabin, accessible torque band and muted engine makes this Alfa Mito a very usable long-distance car, though more supportive seats would further improve the experience.

There are plenty of other practical selling points, too, like a decent sized boot and enough space in the rear for two adults, though some might find it slightly claustrophobic in the back due to the small, high rear window.

Should I buy one?

We can see the argument for the Alfa Mito. The Mini is a better driver’s car, but if you’re bored by BMW’s take on the British icon, the Alfa is a fun and classy alternative.

In truth the Alfa Romeo Mito 1.6 JTDm will sell on style first, but Alfa deserves credit for creating a likeable car, even if the high-temperature-washing-machine-accident looks are not to your taste.

If the Alfa Mito’s looks are to your taste, and economy is more important than performance, then the 1.6 JTDm is an excellent choice. But if a Mito still appeals and adrenaline ranks higher than money on your priority list, look to the 1.4 turbocharged petrol models for a much more thrilling drive.

 

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Comments
19

21 January 2009

I'm a bit surprised that the Mito's looks are criticized "high-temperature-washing-machine-accident". Alfa / Fiat are one of the few companies whose designs look coherent, and don't look as as if they were designed by a commitee that weren't speaking to one another. The Mini by comparison is an uninventive parody of a classic design made all the more laughable by turning a shape notable for space efficiency into a bloated whale. The Mini is a great car but, like BMWs in general, it is let down by the type of people that buy it, not for its driving qualities but for its "image". Estatee Agents! Nuff said.

21 January 2009

I like it for not being the cliché laden vehicle the Mini is. At least it's concept and looks are original, no matter what your opinion of them is.

 

 

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

21 January 2009

No matter how badly its made, how naff the interior is and how many bits fall off the most important thing an Alfa should be is elegantly proportioned and beautiful to behold..........

.........I have seen a MITO in the flesh and its neither of these....not good.

What it is, is a hurried reskin of the current (and better looking Punto!) i am thinking

21 January 2009

Does the Mito look like it is trying too hard? Could it not have been a bit more discreet something simple thst looked like an Alfa, the Sud was different when it came out and everbody new what it was. The Alfa really does n't have anythin new going for it except that this year it is new, am sure fashion victims this year would be trading in their Minis for it, but as the new chic according to the media is poor, maybe they won't.

Am also now warming to the Mini, now they depreciate rather alot as soon as they have done 5,000miles they look like a more realistic proposition, though not to the extent I would have a different coloured roof and body, it is great that there all these estate agents getting rid of their Cooper S with 5000miles on, a tip the Clubman is quite rightly worth less than the equivant hatchback when secondhand, would not be surprised if BMW were offering the Clubman for the price of the hatch promotion in the UK before long. Though think they would need to more to make it look like a sensible new purchase.

Alfa Mito looks bit of a non event really.

21 January 2009

I never liked the new Mini, but I was always able to say that while i never liked it, and thought it was pointless calling it a Mini, cos it was anything but, it was still good looking. However, the 2nd generation one looks horrible - even in normal guise - whereas the Clubman is just a repulsive car. It's overweight and looks like an obese Romford girl whose fat is hanging out of her tracksuit. The interior looks cheaper than a Fisher-Price toy, while it looks like a 4 year old with nothing but a pair of compasses and a pencil has come up with after trying LSD.

To be honest, if a car looked like that, along with the associations from people who drive it, it wouldn't matter how well it handled, i wouldn't buy one. Not only that, but i hated how big it is outside, with no space on the inside (the opposite to the original).

The Alfa, on the other hand, is a car i find to be much better looking inside and out, has more space in the front and the back (two of my friends, both 6'2" sat one behind the other, with the one in the back saying he was much more comfortable than he would be in a Mini), comes with loads of standard kit, and is still much cheaper than the Mini.

21 January 2009

The styling work is good but a great pity they could not get the chassis right.

OK they only had a Fiat floor pan to work with but Ford managed quite well with the Ka starting with a Fiat. Could this end up like the Alfa 164 needing a thorough rework of the suspension at the face lift to get the chassis as good as it ought to have been on day one?

21 January 2009

Great looking little car, just a shame about the emissions. They should really be lower. But, all in all, really nice little car. Hopefully residuals should be decent, too.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

22 January 2009

There seem to be a lot of Mini haters out there which surprises me. We have a Mini Cooper D Clubman and its a great car. Fun to drive, surprisingly practical (ok the doors are a bit of a gimmick but they work well), well built and very economical to run. Plus the service from the dealership is superb. People seem to resent BMW for reinventing the Mini, would you rather it no longer existed at all?

The reason the Mini suceeds is not just because it is a Mini, but because of the depth of engineering behind it. The Alfa simply doesn't have this. If Ford can get a Focus estate under the 120g/km benchmark, why can't Alfa do the same with the Mito? It will have to be well built, have a superb ownership package and dealer service to compete with the Mini and I have my doubts.

I don't dislike the Alfa, but from the reviews I have read it just doesn't seem to reach the all round level of the Mini.

22 January 2009

Having had 5 Alfa in the family (2xAlfetta, 1x Alfa 90, 1x Alfa 155, 1x Alfa 156) I can't help but think of Berni the bear (go ogle it if you're not familiar) when I see the MiTo's front end. A desperate attempt to force the 8C's front onto a stubby supermini bonnet, and the result is Berni all the way.

22 January 2009

Ah the Alfa 90...you must be the other person that bought one....I am all misty eyed.

My father had one in silver I loved that car, in all honesty in was close to hopeless but so full of character and a great sounding engine.

the MiTo is a mutt in my opinion.

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