Alfa Romeo Mito 1.4 TB 155bhp Veloce

March 2009

picture of car from the front

Front end is inspired by 8C supercar

Ratings

Overall Rating 6Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 7Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 6Controls and display

Comfort Rating 6Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Flexible and powerful engine, sounds good too
  • Attractive cabin with good specification
  • Exterior looks are distinctive if not attractive to all
  • Good value for money

Gripes

  • Steering lacks feel and is often too light
  • DNA switch is gimmicky and hampers throttle response in Normal mode
  • Some quality shortcuts are evident in the cabin
  • Ride quality is average but handling does not compensate

Alfa Romeo is expanding its range into new markets with the introduction of the Mito, a small hatchback slotting beneath the 147 and designed to take on premium superminis such as the Mini. It also brings with it some of the sporty flavour seen elsewhere in the range, and is clearly aimed at youthful and fashion-conscious buyers.

The Mito is unmistakably an Alfa Romeo: even without its badges an average punter would recognise the front-end design. Taking many of its cues from the 8C supercar, the Mito is a little controversial as it squeezes the same headlight and grille arrangement onto a much smaller car. However, it is likely to be a design that people either love or hate, and for those that are keen it will stand out amongst the competition.

Inside the Mito has an upmarket feel, a step above the usual supermini level and clearly aimed at enthusiasts and fashionable buyers. It has the same driver-focused feel of the bigger Alfa Romeos, with a sporty steering wheel and attractive instruments. It also offers a degree of personalisation, with a choice of dashboard colours which also cover the door trims and seat fabrics, adding a welcome dash of colour.

Underneath the eye-catching shell the Mito shares some of its bare bones with the Fiat Grande Punto, although parts such as the brake and suspension systems are unique to the Mito, in keeping with its sportier focus. In addition, the Mito has a number of electronic systems designed to improve performance and handling, most notably the DNA switch, with three modes varying the throttle response, the power steering and the actions of the electronic differential.

Mechanically the Mito offers a choice of petrol and diesel units, though the turbocharged 1.4-litre unit in two outputs is likely to be popular with enthusiasts, as it gives the Mito the status of a junior hot hatchback. All engines come with a manual gearbox too, with no automatic option offered at launch.

Our verdict on the Alfa Romeo Mito 1.4 TB 155bhp Veloce

The Mito has a good deal to offer a buyer looking for a stylish and well-equipped hatchback that has more personality than the norm. The high-output 1.4-litre engine is a pleasure to use, although it is behind some of its rivals in terms of driving pleasure due to the lack of steering feel and inconsistent suspension.

Costs
Costs rating 7

Running costs for the Mito will depend heavily on the engine choice, with the high-output 1.4-litre turbo unit proving the most expensive to run. Insurance costs are relatively modest however, even for the most powerful versions.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 6

The Mito sits comfortably within the supermini sector thanks to its exterior dimensions, although its focus is more towards keen enthusiasts rather than those seeking maximum space. Rear seat space is only adequate, while boot space is average for the class. In practical terms the Mito offers some oddment space, on a par with similarly driver-focused small cars.

picture of car from the rear

Front and rear light surrounds can be specified in different finishes

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 6

The layout of the Mito has a strong sporty flavour with a chunky steering wheel and attractive instruments. Functionality does take a back seat to style inside the Mito however, as some of the minor controls seem oddly placed or not intuitive. A little familiarisation goes a long way however, and the charm of the design is certainly appealing.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 6

Comfort levels in the Mito are quite good. The seats offer decent support, noise levels are kept in check and as a result it is suitable for long journeys and everyday use. On the minus side the ride quality is somewhat mixed and it sometimes struggles to deal with bigger bumps.

Car security
Security Rating 8

All Mitos are fitted with an immobiliser and alarm system as standard, in keeping with the car's desirable nature.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

The Mito's safety equipment list is comprehensive, with all models benefitting from the full VDC system, an Alfa version of ESP, as well as seven airbags on all versions.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

The Mito's appeal is centred around its performance, especially in Veloce form with the high output petrol engine, and on this score in does well. With strong torque and an engaging sound it is an enjoyable engine to use, although with the DNA switch in Normal mode, throttle response is poor. The Mito is at its best in Dynamic mode, with the steering and throttle response at their sharpest. The Mito has plenty of grip and is well-balanced, although feedback through the steering wheel is lacking, and drivers who are used to small hot hatchbacks may be a little disappointed.

picture of car interior

Sporty interior is stylish rather than functional

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 5

The Mito is not best suited to family duties as it doesn't make the most of its size and lacks the practicality required. However, children will fit comfortably in the rear and the boot could cope with a single buggy.

First car appeal
First car Rating 7

The Mito is bound to be a favourite with first car buyers thanks to its style and image. The lesser models in the Mito range will fill most of the criteria, but the high power Veloce versions are likely to be too expensive to buy and insure for inexperienced drivers.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

The quality of the Mito is something of a mixed bag, although it continues the upward trend of recent Alfa Romeo products. For the most part the quality is good and, in terms of appearance, it has a well-produced feel. Closer examination shows a few corners cut however, and it therefore falls a little behind the class leaders. The Mito's image is built around the passion and excitement of the Alfa Romeo marque and this has been successfully translated to the smallest Alfa.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The three-door only Mito has large doors which aid access and, although the roof is relatively low, access to the front seats is good. Access to the rear is a little more restricted and, even with the front seat tilting and sliding forward, the aperture into the rear seats will be a little awkward for the less able-bodied. Boot access is straightforward, although there is no proper exterior handle which may lead to dirty fingers.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

All Mitos comes with a CD/radio unit with MP3-compatibility, but Veloce models are boosted by the addition of a USB slot which allows MP3 players to be connected and operated. The sound quality is good and the steering wheel controls are useful, although doing anything more than accessing the next or previous track on an MP3 player is awkward.

picture of car in detail

DNA system is effective but can't make up for fundamental flaws

Colours and trim

The Mito is helped greatly by the various colour options for the interior and exterior, particularly the choice of dashboard colours which is rare for a car in this segment. The trim itself is also of decent quality, although there are some areas where penny-pinching is in evidence.

Parking

The Mito's relative compactness means it can slot into smaller spaces and the very light power steering is useful at parking speeds. However, the car's styling does mean that visibility is only average and parking sensors are only optional across the range.

Spare wheel

Space saver fitted beneath the boot floor.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (95bhp, 120bhp, 155bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.3-litre (90bhp) 1.6-litre (120bhp). Tranmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox. Trim levels: Turismo, Lusso, Veloce.

 

Alternative cars

Mini Cooper S Attractive and fun to drive, cramped cabin

Renault Clio Dynamique S Pseudo-sporty to drive, discreet looks, good specification

Fiat Punto Abarth In-house rival is more composed, although less attractive

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Less of a premium feel but great fun and well-equipped



Over 1,200 more car reviews online

All the reports since 1990 are available on this site, just search by make and model below.

Step 1 > Select make Alfa Romeo    Aston Martin    Audi    Austin    BMW    Bentley    Cadillac    Caterham    Chevrolet    Chrysler    Citroen    Daewoo    Daihatsu    Dodge    Ferrari    Fiat    Ford    Honda    Hyundai    Isuzu    Jaguar    Jeep    Kia    Lada    Lamborghini    Lancia    Land Rover    Lexus    Lotus    MG    MINI    Maserati    Mazda    Mercedes-Benz    Mitsubishi    Nissan    Perodua    Peugeot    Porsche    Proton    Renault    Rolls-Royce    Rover    SEAT    Saab    Skoda    Smart    Smart Car    Ssangyong    Subaru    Suzuki    Toyota    Vauxhall    Volkswagen    Volvo    Yugo   

 

March 2009