The Alfa Romeo Mito is a small hatchback that offers an alternative to more ‘premium’ little cars like the Mini and Audi A1, but it’s showing its age only too obviously these days.
The Alfa Romeo Mito is the smallest car that the company sells in the UK. Although it’s the same size as a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa, the Alfa is a more expensive, high-prestige car that is an alternative to the likes of the Audi A1 and Mini.
The Mito is based on sister company Fiat’s Punto, but as is often the case with Alfa’s cars, the key to its appeal is how it looks. From the classic grille to the offset number plate, this is a car that could hardly be more distinctive, while the various bits of chrome detailing make it look really smart. Models higher up the range look even more exclusive, and if there is a criticism, it’s that the Mito doesn’t allow the same opportunities for personalisation as, say, the Mini.
It’s every bit as stylish inside, and certainly a step up over the more mainstream alternatives. The design features lots of circles – most noticeably on the instruments and air vents – but the materials are all rather dark and more modern alternatives feel higher-quality. Some of the switches are hard to reach, too, but at least the colour touchscreen for the infotainment system is reasonably easy to use.
There are no complaints about the driving position, as both the driver’s seat and steering wheel have plenty of adjustment, and anyone in the front seats will have enough room, unless they’re well over six feet tall.
Like every passionate car-lover, I want this Alfa to be a great car and I wish it was even half as good as it looks, but it just isn’t. Thank the Lord more modern Alfas like the Stelvio prove the company hasn’t lost its mojo.
In the back, though, things aren’t quite as good. For a start, the windows are quite small, so it feels rather dark back there, while there isn’t quite as much room as in some of the alternatives. Taller passengers, in particular, will feel claustrophobic, while it isn’t as easy to get in and out as it is in alternatives with rear doors.
The boot, too, is a little disappointing, although in fairness it’s a decent size. The trouble is that the load lip is high, so lifting big and heavy items in or out can be quite awkward, and none of the versions come with a split-folding rear seat as standard.
You might expect the Mito to be rather more impressive with how well it drives, but sadly that’s not the case. For a start, it’s not easy to see out of the back, but the big problem is how uncomfortable the car feels: the suspension lets you feel far too many lumps and bumps in the road.
To make matters worse, it’s not as if there’s any sharp handling by way of compromise. On the contrary, the lack of feel in the steering combined with the way the car’s body rolls in corners makes it far from enjoyable to drive and it does little to inspire confidence in the driver.
At least the car scores well for safety, while there’s a surprisingly large range of engines to choose from. The TwinAir unit at the bottom of the range is noisy and not that economical in everyday use, but the diesels are stronger and cheaper to run. The best engine is the more powerful of the two 1.4-litre TB MultiAir units, which powers the Cloverleaf model from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds, making it a credible hot hatch.
Trouble is, as with the rest of the range, that version looks quite expensive – which is not good news when the Mito can’t match the likes of the Mini Cooper, Audi A1 and DS 3 in several important areas and is showing its age quite obviously.
Nevertheless, the Alfa Romeo Mito is not without some appeal and diehard Alfa-lovers will always prefer it to the alternatives. Most people, though, will be better off looking elsewhere.