The Alfa Romeo Mito is an odd-looking car. No seriously, it is. What? You havent noticed? Not even the bulging eyes? Or the awkwardly shaped backside?
I should shut up though because looks arent only subjective, they can be misleading, which explains why the fact that the Mito is a seriously good car – especially in Cloverleaf (or Quadrifoglio Verde, if were being all Italian about this) form – has slipped under my radar. Until now.
The Mito is fugly, which is very, very ugly indeed. And yet, that squat shape is a positive asset in town, where its the visibility and short overhangs make parking easy.
Big alloys (18-inch jobbies, in the case of the Cloverleaf) set the car up beautifully and give it the right stance, almost, but not quite, off-setting that gormless face. And youll never mistake the Mito for anything but an Alfa, which is a Good Thing, obviously.
The interior is dark, and simple, and hugely effective. Extravagantly bolstered Sabelt sports seats trimmed with Alcantara and fitted with a carbon fibre back, no less – hug you and hold you firmly under hard cornering yet are surprisingly comfortable, even for an old man like me.
The embossed Alfa logo is a nice touch, and adds to the ambience of the interior, which is hard-core and purposeful. I liked it, mainly because it didnt seem to be trying too hard. Even the aluminium pedals standard Halfords-chav fare these days look wonderful.
Everything that you need falls to hand perfectly – if a little randomly at times – and the driving position is sublime. Space in the back is at a premium, especially with a tall driver, but boot space is better than you might imagine.
The Mito drives beautifully. An analogue car in a digital world. Yes, its stuffed with electronics, but the point is that it just doesnt feel like it is; it drives like a hot hatch from the eighties: fun, furious, and raw. I found myself heelntoeing up and down the gearbox for the sheer joy of it, revelling in the engine and exhaust noise and sharp handling. When was the last time you did that?
It is stiffly sprung, but not unpleasantly so, and that adjustable suspension turns it into a point-and-squirt, nip-and-dart buzz-box. But you have to press the three-position button on the centre console to the Dynamic position to get the best out of the car.
Dynamic sharpens the throttle, tunes the suspension, adds overboost, decreases the electronic chassis intervention, and sprinkles fairy dust on the whole experience. Dynamic is a night out with Motorhead with Kylie waiting for you in bed when you get home. The Normal setting is a night in your local pub with Coldplay (sans Kylie), while All Weather is watching the X-Factor at home with the wife and kids
The chassis isnt perfect, though. The sensory crackle and hiss is brakes that might work well but lack feel, and torque steer that can be intrusive; full-bore acceleration, wet roads, and white lines are never to be taken lightly but in the Mito they are a combination should be avoided if at all possible.
Neither is serious, and both could be described as quirky characteristics (to use a dreadful motoring clich) rather than flaws. Anthropomorphic? Yes, but then this is an Alfa Romeo
One hundred and seventy bhp isnt an awful lot these days, but if the quantity is modest, the execution is flawless. The 1.4-litre Multiair Mito snarls and growls and hurls itself forward like a much more powerful car and I never needed (or wanted, for that matter) more. This is a clever trick to pull off and is one that Alfa Romeo should be congratulated for; a horsepower arms-race might make for a good boast in the pub but too much power is often simply too much (Megane Renaultsport 265, are you listening?).
The Mitos top speed is 136mph and itll hit 62mph in 7.5 seconds, both of which are more than adequate and more than you need for some very, very quick A-B times. Sure, you need to keep the engine revs up to get the best out of the motor, but with such a lovely gearbox and clutch this is no hardship.
Fuel consumption is claimed to be around the 47mpg mark, but you wont get that. Never. Not even in eco-fuel-cycle-friendly All Weather mode. (And if you do, you shouldnt be driving a car like this)
Value for Money
You either want an Alfa Romeo or you dont. If you do then the Mito Cloverleaf is an absolute bargain – and if you dont, then it doesnt matter how cheap it is. My Mito press car cost 21,710, but then it was fitted with 3k-worth of options.
Those carbon fibre Sabelt sports seats might be fantastic but at a cost of 2,000 they should be. Id probably specify them if I was buying new, but I would understand if you disagreed with me.
The white paint and dual zone climate control are more reasonably priced at 425 and 410 respectively, and the tinted glass is a steal at 115.
By any objective measure the Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup is a better car than the Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf; its quieter, better to drive on long journeys, and is a more-rounded companion.
There is something about an Alfa that gets under your skin, gives you a sense of pride, of having dared to be different. Buying an Alfa is a rite of passage, and for some people nothing else will do.
Sure, the Mito can be a mite unruly at times, and sometimes you might not want such a hyperactive companion, but it is never anything less than utterly engaging. I loved it, and it joins the very short, very select, list of cars that I would buy myself.
For more information check out our full summary of the Alfa Romeo Mito alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos.