Tweaked supermini is more accomplished

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

Add a comment…
si73 16 April 2009

Re: Alfa Romeo Mito 155 T-Jet Veloce

timmmmy wrote:

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?

The tested Alfa is faster and more expensive than the Fiesta however if you look at the Alfa's range, its cheapest model 1.4 turismo is cheaper than a similarily specced and performing 3 door Fiesta 1.4 style+ by about £650, so what with its styling expectedly high residuals and its premium badge i would definately agree with you and choose a Mito over the Fiesta, oh and i'm probably more of a Ford fan as ive owned them in the past and as yet never an Alfa. There have been comments about the Alfa's size aswell, its actually based on a grande punto/ corsa and is similarily sized, its better value than the corsa though the punto is cheaper. i'd still choose the mito though.

alibell 15 April 2009

Re: Alfa Romeo Mito 155 T-Jet Veloce

McJohn what do you drive then..??

You've obviously made your mind up, about Alfa a long time ago.

Me, I drive a Toyota, but I've always wanted to own an Alfa.

The initial cost of a new Alfa has always put me off.

I also consider buying a car on it's merits, not by bias.

Namely a Saab 9-3, I don't agree in the "It's just a Vectra" attitude.

I'll make my mind up, not follow the flock.


Or should that be BMW.

benandrews 13 April 2009

Re: Alfa Romeo Mito 155 T-Jet Veloce

alfa bob wrote:
If i remember correctly? Did not Mini owners set up their own website listing the huge amount of problems with the car???
They did set up a website, yes, but not solely for the purpose of reporting problems. If it is that you are talking about, it is a huge community of Mini lovers sharing their experiences, meeting up to go on Mini runs, exchanging opinions on future models and showing off new cars and their latest modifications. It is a display of quite how passionate people are about their Minis and was set up by a fan, not some marketing bod at BMW and is full of boys, girls, newly qualified drivers, people who have loved minis since '59, petrolheads and people who just like it because it looks nice. Spotted, I am a Mini driver. On my second Cooper S. It's an amazing car - goes like stink, sticks to the road like glue, looks fit as, holds it's value better that any other car and although is one of many many other minis on the road is virtually unique. Having said all that, I also love Alfas and Fiats. I would happily drive any Alfa ever made and spend many nights pawing brochures and drooling over the pictures on the Alfa Romeo website imagining driving a black Spider with tan leather seats...... With all these cars it comes down to passion - people who drive them do so because they love them. They love the styling and the heritage. They can see past the idiosyncrasies and a little bit of oversteer or a jittery ride to own something that's a little bit different. I have never met someone who is actually passionate about a Ford. They may have always bought Fords because they are well made and reliable and have plenty of space for a family + shopping, they are comfortable to drive and do X to the gallon but I have never known anyone drive a Ford for the reasons I love Minis and Alfas. So Alfa lovers - don't hate Mini fans. We're not as different as you might think. I may be spouting a load of over sentimental drivel but I'm guessing there's at least one other person here who knows where I'm coming from.