Alfa Romeo MiTo has Italian flair without the luxury price tag

The 2013 Alfa Romeo MiTo might just be the perfect car for someone who wants a bit of Italian flair without the luxury price tag!

The 2013 Alfa Romeo MiTo might just be the perfect car for someone who wants a bit of Italian flair without the luxury price tag!

Despite being a performance brand the latest Alfa Romeo cars offer low road tax and very good fuel efficiency while retaining that great Italian design flair so sadly lacking in many rivals.

The entry model 1.4 Junior costs just €17,995 and engine options range from 1.4 petrol, 1.3 JTDM diesel, 1.4 Turbo petrol and 1.6 JTDM diesel.

Diesels are becoming ever more popular here. It seems we are following the example of our fellow Europeans where diesel sales account for the majority of new car sales.

We can expect to see diesel sales continue to grow as these engines offer better fuel consumption and under the C02 tax system in many cases they make more sense. With more and more luxury brands devoting a lot of resources to improving diesels it is not surprising to see a performance luxury brand like Alfa Romeo pursuing the diesel route.

Diesel engines offer great torque pulling very well from low speeds, great MPG or litres per Km and now also plenty of performance. So how about this diesel Alfa Romeo Mito 1.3 JTDM? There are now four trim versions, Junior, Sprint, Distinctive and Cloverleaf.

The 3 door MiTo is a funky looking machine with swooping lines and a very distinctive front end with large bug eye type headlights. It certainly generated plenty of attention during my tenure.

The cabin is beautifully laid out and very well finished. Recognising criticisms of the past Alfa have paid great attention to build quality and the result is a car with loads of Italian flair but build and quality that is more reminiscent of a premium German brand.

The chunky multifunction steering wheel, sports seats, comprehensive instrumentation and great specification immediately impress.

The MiTo comes standard with ABS, VDC with hill holder, multiple airbags including knee airbags, a vehicle dynamic control switch which boots power and responsiveness as well as giving the steering a more positive feel and a host of the usual electrics including an innovative alcohol tester kit that allows the driver to see if he or she may be over the limit for driving.

The driving position is very good aided by the very supportive sports seats.

My test car was powered by the 1.3 litre JTDM diesel engine. What a revelation! This is a truly superb engine. Power output is a beefy 95 bhp yet with emissions of just 112g/km putting it in the lowest road tax bracket.

This lively unit is mated to a very nice 6-speed gearbox with well chosen ratios making the best both this engines high torque and lively acceleration. Choosing the dynamic mode via the selector switch makes every thing truly come alive with more rapid acceleration and a sportier feel yet the new MiTo is mean on the diesel burning just 5.9 litres per 100km.

The suspension set-up is a perfect combination between sporting handling and comfortable ride.

The MiTo is actually great fun to drive in an involving sort of way that you just don’t expect from a small car. Levels of refinement are high with wind, road and engine noise all well suppressed.