Alfa Romeo’s new B-segment level vehicle will compete with the hugely popular BMW MINI and sister company Fiat’s cute 500. Other vehicles in the segment include the Peugeot 207 and Ford Fiesta.
In a bid to reduce the average age of Alfa Romeo drivers, the MiTo is targeting the 25 to 35 year old age group with a 50:50 split between males and females. The car’s name is derived from the Italian cities in which it was designed (Milano) and engineered (Torino) respectively.
As it attempts to coax young people into its cars, the sales and marketing people have used the internet heavily to catch the attention of potential buyers. Using symbols in its advertising campaigns, they’re trying to fit MiTo into people’s lifestyles that are currently filled with mobile phones, laptops, the gym and socialising.
Around the car
The styling cues from the MiTo have been taken from Alfa’s most recent supercar, the 8C Competizione. In doing so, the Italian company describes the car as the sportiest compact car on the market. The shield shaped “Alfa Romeo” grille is retained, while the distinctive headlights have been transferred from the 8C.
Inside the car, there is plenty of leather, and the plastics that are used are of a very high quality. Personalisation of MiTos will be possible thanks to three trim levels – Turismo, Lusso and Veloce – and a wide range of options can be specified.
Add-ons include a Bose sound system, in-car telematics and satellite navigation systems, and Blue&Me – an in-car entertainment system that can operate iPods and telephones, by voice if you wish.
Why would you buy one?
MiTo is always going to be an interesting proposition for car buyers due to a number of factors…
The Alfa Romeo brand’s popularity is such that it has more car clubs than any manufacturer in the world. Then there is also the current financial restraints that people are experiencing, meaning people are downsizing and trying to reduce outgoings. And there is the individuality – people in the market for a car in this class may look around and see MINIs and Fiat 500s everywhere, so want something different.
There is a choice of four engines – 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre diesels and turbo and non-turbo 1.4-litre petrol units.
The 1.3-litre diesel is an attractive proposition with a CO2 output of 119g/km and a claimed average fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg.
At the top of the range, the 155bhp 1.4 Turbo has a top speed of 134mph, a zero to 62mph time of eight seconds, and still returns 43.5 miles for every gallon of petrol.
Vehicle setup can be controlled via MiTo’s DNA (Dynamic, Normal and All Weather) system. Dynamic mode features an engine boost to aid performance and driving pleasure. Select All-Weather on the lever next to the gearstick for a more sensitive traction control system, thus giving more grip in hazardous conditions.
Is it any good?
MiTo doesn’t deliver the smoothest driving experience, which in some ways lives up to the car’s sporty tag. The DNA system is a little confusing and like many similar systems will probably spend most of its life in Normal mode.
But, there are many things to like about the MiTo – the quality of the materials is superb, there is ample room in the rear seats and level of handling has been well engineered, if not the ride. Power delivery and the range of engines is good, with favourable fuel economy figures and CO2 output. Quoted residual values are impressive at 48% for a three-year-old, 60,000 mile car.
If Alfa can corner the younger car buyers, then it will have a whole new fan base to contend with.
- Model tested: 1.4-litre Turbo
- Engine size: 1,368cc
- CO2 emissions: 153g/km
- Price (as tested): £13,247
- For: Vehicle options, interior quality, engine range, styling
- Against: Ride quality, DNA operation
- Alternatives: BMW MINI, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta Zetec S, Volkswagen Polo Sport