Alfa Romeo MiTo hatchback (2008-2018)
“The Alfa Romeo MiTo is an upmarket supermini, but it can’t compete with the MINI hatchback or Audi A1 for design or driver involvement”
- Stylish design
- Well equipped
- Reasonably cheap to run
- Suspect interior quality
- Uninspiring to drive
- Uncomfortable ride
The smallest model in Alfa’s range, the Alfa Romeo MiTo is billed as a rival to posh superminis like the Audi A1 and MINI hatchback, but in reality it competes more closely with the DS 3, Ford Fiesta and Citroen C3.
Its trademark ‘shield’ Alfa Romeo grille, offset number plate and circular tail-lights mean the MiTo is undoubtedly a striking supermini, with lots of character. The fact it has only ever been available with three doors also gives a clue to its sporting pretensions.
If the interior could live up to the stylish design outside, the MiTo would be a better all-rounder, but the form and quality of its cabin both disappoint. In this respect, the MINI and A1 feel much more expensive and better-built inside, and even the affordable Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Adam are nicer to spend time in.
It would be easier to overlook these flaws if the MiTo was brilliant fun to drive, but Alfa Romeo’s desire to make it sporty has resulted in stiff suspension that sees small imperfections jostling occupants. The Ford Fiesta has more accurate and communicative steering and the MiTo doesn’t feel as agile as you’d hope.
Our pick of the mediocre engine range is the 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol with 138bhp, but it’s hamstrung by a standard automatic gearbox and isn’t cheap. The engine itself is smooth and offers reasonable power, making it a decent motorway car, but the TCT auto is too jerky.
Thanks to its appetite for revs and a throaty engine note, the 0.9-litre TwinAir is the best alternative, but it needs to be used to its full potential to make progress and is one of the few engines in the class that struggles with hills. Poor refinement and sluggish performance means the 1.4-litre petrol with 77bhp and the 1.3-litre diesel are both underwhelming.
The entry-level trim is simply called Alfa Romeo MiTo, but spend a little more and there’s the Super, followed by the Speciale and Veloce. The latter is the only model to be offered with a 168bhp version of the 1.4-litre engine, so it offers near-hot-hatchback performance.
Safety is a bit tricky to judge with the MiTo. Although Euro NCAP awarded it five stars, it was crash-tested way back in 2008 and the test has been revised several times since then. However, you do get seven airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction control as standard, as well as hill-hold assistance – a system that keeps the car from rolling back during hill starts.