Alfa Romeo has seen a resurgence under Fiat-Chrysler Automotive (FCA) ownership. I have previously tested the Giulietta and rather liked it. This time I wanted to give its 3-door little brother- the MiTo- a go. I’ve always liked the styling and was curious to see if it had the substance to match. I opted for a sportier model in the QV line. This has the essence of the hottest Quadrifoglio Version, but to a lesser extent. So let’s kick off into the new year, and what a good year it is set to be for the marque; with the hotly anticipated Giulia set for release in September.
Looks – 10/10
The MiTo is built on the same platform as the Fiat Grande Punto, and yet looks much daintier than the Fiat. Alfa Romeo has always been about styling, and the newest models are in no way disappointing. The MiTo looks great from every angle, and in every trim. With the QV Line you get all the sporty touches, such as grey light surrounds, door handles and wing mirrors. This offered a glorious contrast against the optional Tornado Blue paint (£475). As standard you get 17-inch black alloys, privacy glass, and a lovely twin exhaust. The familiar triangular grille looks great at the front, as does the number plate being on one side of the car, making way for the sculptured honeycomb air intake. I still maintain that any car with pillar-less doors is cool, and the MiTo ticks that box.
On the inside the QV touches include white and green stitching on the seats and gear gaitor, dark roof lining, large aluminium pedals, the D.N.A. drive selector, carbon fibre effect trim on the dashboard and sporty red and white dials. The front seats each feature half of the Alfa Romeo logo, which is a superb touch, and the flat-bottomed steering wheel has a similar shape to the centre as is on the front grille. It’s quite chunky too, adding to the sporty feel. The multimedia screen for the Uconnect navigation system (£750) sits nicely in the dashboard, although it is a little on the small side. I’m not overly struck on the information screen on the dashboard either; the single-colour display is a bit ‘old hat’ these days. Minor issues in the grand scheme of what is a nice looking little car.
Handling/Performance – 8/10
The QV Line has the same 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the Quadrifoglio Verde, but with a reduced power output. That being said, the 140PS and 230Nm offering is a decent one, and makes the QV Line a warm hatch. The gem on offer in the MiTo is the 6-speed twin clutch (TCT) gearbox. It’s marvellous. Changes are barely noticeable in automatic mode, and can be prompted by pressing paddles behind the steering wheel in manual mode. This also has a launch control mode function, and that means the 0-62mph time of 8.1seconds is achievable by everybody. Top speed is 130mph, which means there’s still plenty of overtaking oomph at motorway speeds. There’s even a nice little rasp to the engine, and the pops on an aggressive up-shift will put a smile on your face.
Once you get to some corners, the MiTo does rather well. Its size means that it feels nimble. The 215-width tyres give you lots of grip, and the Brembo 4-piston front brakes give you plenty of confidence to attack bends. The D.N.A. drive selector is useful too. In dynamic mode the steering power assistance is reduced, and throttle response increased. This gives a nice weighty feel to the steering, although it didn’t feel quite sharp enough to give a pin-point turn in. The seats also lacked the lateral support to really stick the car into some corners. The suspension is noticeably firm, but having taking it on a hefty motorway drive I can also testify that it’s not uncomfortable. And for their lack of lateral support the seats were great on a long drive.
Practicality – 8/10
Total Score – 46/50