The Alfa Romeo MiTo Review by TBM

The MiTo is as Italian as it gets for an upmarket small car. It is stylishly designed and full of character but sadly not solidly built like its German rivals. The drive is unremarkable compared to, say a MINI or a Citroen DS3. It also is not the most practical small car either, especially for tall people. I was disturbed by the distance of the gear lever and the steering wheel when the seat is put a little further back. The centre arm rest also interferes with the gear lever operation and the handbrake. The centre cup holder is by far the most unaccommodating unless you are drinking a Red Bull as it will not easily accommodate a full size 330ml can. What a bummer! Or is it particularly made for petite human beings of the fairer sex?

 

Alfa Romeo MiTo


Exterior

Alfa Romeo MiTo-Exterior

There is still a lot to like though, especially the great alloy wheel designs and an enviable silhouette with beautiful lines. The car looks purposeful, low-slung and aggressive without being too macho. The MiTo is evidence that Italians make beautiful cars although the MiTo is no mini 8C despite the obvious DNA cues. The car looks beautiful from all angles and, if that’s your criteria for purchase, you cannot go wrong.

Interior

Alfa Romeo MiTo-Interior

Practicality is not the MiTo’s strongest suit and could/should have been better. The rear seat space is limited and access is tight. The boot has a tall lip, which makes it tricky to load and unload – and it’s not particularly spacious. Again the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 are better on the practicality front, particularly the A1 with its four-door Sportback offering. Sadly there's no-five door MiTo on offer. The TomTom navigation system fitted to the car was paradoxically a European spec navigation and totally useless – quite a dumb oversight for a review on SA roads. It didn’t help that the car didn’t know where it was as it couldn’t pick up on any satellites either. Europeans, South Africa is also a country amply covered by quite a few satellites, you know!

Driving

Alfa Romeo MiTo-Driving

The test car, the 1.4-litre TwinAir petrol, is a good engine choice with good take off and overtaking ability. Thankfully, this engine makes the MiTo a slightly engaging drive although not redeeming. It rides fairly well over speed bumps and the steering is immediate and direct. With low profile tyres, the MiTo offers reasonable ride quality but is unforgiving on the bum (and dentures!) on most South Africa roads with broken surfaces and potholes. There is plenty of grip but the handling doesn’t inspire spirited driving as you would expect from comparable rivals, this is still MINI territory. Even in Dynamic mode, the difference in performance was unnoticeable from Normal and All-Weather modes accessible via the DNA know near the gear lever.

Overall

If style is your top priority then the MiTo is absolutely faultless. It has Italian flair by the bucket loads - the sleek silhouette and those alloy wheels are oh so beautiful! The interior is cosy with beautiful and comfortable seat with an overall premium ambience. On looks alone, the MiTo takes the hatchback crown hands down. Practicality and ergonomics are, however, the MiTo’s ultimate undoing. Unfortunately for Alfa, there are better rival choices if you are on a shoestring budget!

 

 

 

   

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