THE Alfa Romeo model range has been expanding and improving of late, with some lovely new cars. I have been test driving the lovely little MiTo to sample some of this Italian flair.
Road Tested by Hugh Maguire
The entry model 1.4 Junior costs just €11,995 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 new 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?
First of all I must confess to a certain bias when writing about Alfa Romeo. For years I have loved their cars. Back in the days of the Alfasud, the rear wheel drive GTV 3.0 and the Alfa Spirit I was a devoted fan. For me Alfa symbolises a flair, spirit and dynamism that few manufacturers can emulate – even today. Therefore, despite their vices over the years – and we all know they had many – I am still a fan.
The 3 door MiTo is a pretty 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.
Behind The Wheel
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 new 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 90 bhp yet with emissions of just 119g/km putting it in the VRT band A with an annual road tax of just €104.
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 6.1 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.
As I mentioned, prices start at just €11,995 for the 1.4 petrol Junior rising to €23,995 for the 1.4 TB Cloverleaf. The new Alfa Romeo MiTo is a superb car that rewards with an involving driving experience, excellent build quality, a dynamic individual style and yet is truly economical to own and run. The MiTo 1.3 JTDM Lusso costs €18,995. In short the new Alfa MiTo is in my opinion one of the very best new small cars on the market today.