From £11,8945
Tweaks to the Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir add a shade more power, but it is still compromised in key areas

Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo Mito

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

Matt Burt
29 October 2013

What is it?

The latest iteration of the Fiat Group’s TwinAir engine installed in a mildly refreshed Alfa Romeo Mito as part of a range of minor model-year revisions for 2014.

The engine replaces the 85bhp unit previously available, and cuts 1.1sec from the 0-62mph time. Headline power outputs are rated at 103bhp, which arrives at 5500rpm, and 107lb ft, delivered at 2000rpm when the standard-fit DNA system is in Dynamic mode. Engage Natural mode and power drops to 97bhp and torque to 86lb ft.

Alfa says the key change has been to modify the intake cam profile so the engine can better modulate the amount of exhaust gas recirculated in its combustion chambers.

Emissions of CO2 increase by 1g/km at 99g/km, while claimed fuel economy remains at 67.3mpg. The engine is Euro 6 compliant.

Other changes applied across the revised Mito line-up include a new grille, new headlight surrounds and revised interior trims, which vary depending on specification. Our test car, in Distinctive trim, featured a two-tone red and black dashboard design.

The MY2014 Mito also introduces a new infotainment system with navigation developed by TomTom. The Uconnect system uses a 5in colour touchscreen and supports text-to-speech and audio streaming technologies.

What's it like?

You can forgive the TwinAir’s noise and vibrations up to a point, because it is one of the most characterful engines around with a sound that almost begs you to drive it that little bit harder. The problem is that when you do, you quickly run out of revs and into a soft limiter just short of the indicated 6000rpm redline.

Changing up a gear drops the engine to around 4000rpm, which means there’s an operational rev range of around 1500rpm. That the engine doesn’t really get into its stride until around 3000rpm doesn’t help, either.

Frequent gearchanges are required, then, but the six-speed manual gearbox fitted to our test car refused to be hurried, particularly when selecting third. We are told that it may have been an issue specific to our car, so we will reserve judgment for now.

The steering suits tight, winding roads when large turns of lock are applied. With the DNA system’s Dynamic model selected, there’s a decent amount of weight and consistency once you’ve overcome an initial band of over-assistance. 

On straighter roads, the steering impresses less with an artificial feel and a lack of communication with the front wheels in Natural or All-weather modes. Better is the Dynamic mode, which gives a far more consistent feel and adds much-needed weight.

Elsewhere, the Mito is business as usual: a driver’s seat that can ratchet to a surprisingly low position (a good thing, given the headroom-robbing sunroof fitted to our test car), a dash that lends a sense of occasion, even if it lacks a cohesive design, and a ride that is rather too firm.

Should I buy one?

Probably not. Unless you’re an enthusiast (and Alfa frequently points to its fiercely loyal Alfisti), the Mito TwinAir is a compromise too far. For most drivers the engine is a little too loud and for keen drivers, the rev band is just too narrow. 

And although we’re yet to conduct conclusive fuel consumption figures for this new version of the engine, we’ve previously struggled to achieve even half of Alfa’s claimed average.

Despite an on-paper increase in running costs and a £900 price premium, the 135bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged four is likely to represent a better choice.

Alfa Mito TB TwinAir 105hp Distinctive

Price £15,550; 0-62mph 11.4sec; Top speed 114mph; Economy 67.3mpg; CO2 99g/km; Kerb weight 1130kg; Engine 2cyl, in-line, 875cc, petrol; Power 103bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 107lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
12

29 October 2013

Dead car, dead brand, and dead platform (literally, as FIAT have no replacement in the wings)

The longer Marchionne refuses to sell Alfa to Herr Piech, the less he will get. He is therefore an idiot.

For the rest of us, a cautionary tale as to how the Germans have taken over European industry.

29 October 2013

I think it's time Alfa canned the MiTo and it's old Punto underpinnings and worked on a Fiat 500 sized city car. A small, good looking rival to the bland looking VW triplets for a little more than the cost of a regular 500 and could (possibly) appeal to more male drivers over the slightly girly 500.

29 October 2013

It will be interesting to see how this looks in reality. The pre facelift Mito was so nearly a great shape but those curious squinting headlamps made it look absurd; something accentuated by a rather ridiculous attenuated grille.

In order to compete with the Germanic hordes, vehicles from southern Europe have to have flair. Like it or not the DS3 does have flair and one suspects Mito sales have been disappearing in its direction. Alfa Romeos without flair are unforgiveable.

By the way, it is good to see some motoring journalists are beginning to acknowledge how horrible two and three cylinder engines are!

29 October 2013
Flatus senex wrote:

....
By the way, it is good to see some motoring journalists are beginning to acknowledge how horrible two and three cylinder engines are!

Don't remember seeing the journalist mentioning 3 cylinder engines at all, or is that a personal vendetta against 3 cylinder engines like the highly successful Ford Ecoboost unit?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

29 October 2013

The incentive behind such power units is Angel to save the manufacturer money and (b) to "rule cheat" on CO2 figures. The durability of these units and thus their "success" will be apparent outside the warranty period. I am aware that three cylinder units are not available on the Mito.

Whereas journos once used euphemisms like "thrum" they are beginning (at last) to use other descriptions like "vibratory".

29 October 2013

At one time I would have considered buying a Mito, but I can't get over the looks. To me it has the face of an owl and whilst different and distinct, the look of an owl is not something I look for in a car.
When you consider how handsome the 159 was and the 147 in its time, it's a shame Alfa & Fiat group styling has recently got it so wrong - Mito, 500L,500L "MPW", the failed Punto Evo facelift which was then reversed to look like the original...

29 October 2013

Is Norma Smellons and GermanPower the same user?

29 October 2013

The styling still doesn't quite work. Just needs to be painted pink with yellow spots for the perfect Mr Blobby impression.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

29 October 2013

" modify the intake cam profile so the engine can better modulate the amount of exhaust gas recirculated in its combustion chambers."

It has no inlet camshaft so im confused!

29 October 2013

It's baffling that Alfa Romeo, a brand with so much motoring history and legacy, is unable to produce bread and butter cars that can get anywhere near the all round competence of the likes of Kia and Hyundai that started making decent cars barely 10 years ago.

How come?

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