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The Alfa Romeo Mito – A Usable And Fun Package

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2/4/2015 11:20:51 AM

Here we test the facelifted Alfa Romeo Mito, and you may be scratching your head wondering what is different. But there are some subtle, but important, revisions, including a revised chrome front grille, headlight and tail light surrounds in a titanium grey finish, and a sportier rear bumper. Inside, there’s a revised dashboard, better quality plastics and a new five-inch touchscreen, though our car came with optional satellite navigation. A palette of new colours and a slimmed down model line-up for petrol versions of the car complete the overhaul of the Mito line-up. The diesel line-up remains the same as before, with the choice of 83bhp 1.3-litre or 118bhp 1.6- litre variants, and here we test the latter.

The Mito's power is easy to plunder thanks to its plentiful grip and good chassis balance

The Mito's power is easy to plunder thanks to its plentiful grip and good chassis balance

The improvements to the cabin are welcomed, with a soft-touch surface to the top, and a general feeling of robustness to all of the plastics. The driving position is pretty good, thanks to a lot of options to adjust the steering wheel and seats, and heavily bolstered chairs keep you hugged in place when cornering. Most of the controls are easily accessible, however, the touchscreen for the navigation system is mounted far too low. Combined with small graphics, driver’s will need to continually look down at the screen to find their way, rather than being within the field of vision. Oddment space is pretty reasonable, with a cupholder located ahead of the gear lever, a tray in the armrest and a decent sized glovebox and door pockets. Despite its diminutive size, there’s plenty of space both front and rear, with decent amounts of headroom.

The dials are simple, legible and look good

The dials are simple, legible and look good

Our test car was configured as a four-seater, and we have doubts whether you would want to carry an extra passenger in the back anyway, but it’s rather cheeky that Alfa Romeo charges £450 for an extra seatbelt and a split/folding rear seat. The boot is a reasonable size, however, but is hampered by an extremely high loading sill. This makes it difficult stowing heavier items, and more importantly getting them out again at the end of the journey.

The driving position is decent enough but the steering wheel is short on rake adjustment

The driving position is decent enough but the steering wheel is short on rake adjustment

Away from the lights and there’s lively and sparkling performance, with good mid-range torque and responsive power. The unit is pretty quiet, whether cold or warmed through, and doesn’t sound strained, even with the pedal to the metal. It’s therefore a shame that there’s a significant amount of wind and road noise at speed, which translates into a wearing drone. The steering is well weighted, but there’s not an enormous amount of feel, and compared to the MINI and Citroën DS 3, the Mito is lacking in character, with the vital fun factor missing. The DNA switch on the centre console allows the sensitivity of the throttle and steering to be adjusted to one of three settings – Dynamic, Normal and All-Weather – and in our tests, we found the Dynamic setting to offer the best compromise.

There's just about space for two adults in the rear, but it's tight

There's just about space for two adults in the rear, but it's tight

Ride comfort is pretty firm, however, drains and potholes are soaked up well, but it’s undulations and ridges that it dislikes, and at motorway speeds the suspension feels fidgety and unsettled. On back roads, the Alfa handles flatly, with minimal lean through the bends, delivering good levels of grip.

 

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