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.