Alfa Romeo MiTo -

Used Car Review

Alfa Romeo MiTo, front
Alfa Romeo MiTo, front
Alfa Romeo MiTo, side
Alfa Romeo MiTo, rear
Alfa Romeo MiTo, rear
Alfa Romeo MiTo, interior

IF you want style and panache in a small car, look no further than Alfa's little MiTo coupe.

It's an absolute stunner to look at - and to drive in the more powerful models - with excellent handling and road holding in the Alfa tradition.

Some say that it's Alfa's answer to the MINI, but I would say it's more individual than that.

But the ride is fairly firm in lower order cars and even harder in the top 140 and 170bhp flyers, so make sure you can live with it during your test drive.

Incidentally, when you take a test drive in any car - and never buy without one - do at least five miles to get it warmed up. That could show up easily spottable problems that won't appear when its cold.

If the seller won't let you drive, walk away with your money in your pocket.

I've been lucky enough to drive a few different versions from the MiTo range over the years and even those with lowlier power can still be great fun.

The 1.4 petrol engine, in turbocharged and non-turbocharged forms, has been available in eight different power outputs, from 76 to a whopping 170bhp.

They are all smooth and the 120bhp upwards models have plenty of urge for excellent performance.

The other petrol offering is the TwinAir 900cc two cylinder turbo from the Fiat 500, which is very economical, but also quite slow.

There are also 1.3 and 1.6-litre diesels with 85, 95 or 118bhp, and the 1.6 has pretty good performance along with 64mpg economy.

Mind you, the Twinair petrol is capable of 67mpg and the 140bhp 1.4 MultiAir has an official average of 52mpg.

All engines drive the front wheels through a five or six-speed gearbox, this has the slickest of changes allied to a light clutch.

In the turbo 1.4 models there is a dash button that gives a choice of three power and steering styles by changing the settings of the engine computer.

This firms up the steering in Dynamic mode and improves engine response and traction control.

The other settings are Normal and All Weather and the car feels markedly different depending on which mode is selected.

There are an amazing 21 different levels of trim, many of them based on the major ones but with added equipment.

Some of the main trims are Lusso, Veloce, Distinctive and Cloverleaf, and they all seem to be available with the majority of engine choices.

Mid-range spec brings the essential traction control, aircon, alloys, remote locking, cloth seats, audio remote control and an alarm.

Height and reach adjustable steering and height adjust driver's seat help to give a very good driving position for all sizes and the front seats are well-shaped and supportive through fast corners.

However, poor noise insulation, lack of cabin storage space and so-so interior quality means it trails rivals on the overall experience.

The reasonable boot has rather a high lip, but the back seats fold for more space and there is a reasonable amount of rear legroom - although getting in there in any three door car is never easy or elegant.

Pay about £5,500 for a '12 12-reg 105bhp 1.4 MultiAir Distinctive, or £8,600 for a '15 15-reg 135bhp 1.4 MultiAir Sportiva.

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