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First drive: new Alfa Romeo MiTo
Alfa MiTo is one of the most intriguing superminis. It looks interesting. It
has a fair bit of flair in its cabin. The petrol engines are really striking,
with clever technology imparting tax-beating CO2 and a fair bit of driving fizz.
the MiTo still gets forgotten against things like the Citroen DS3 and Mini.
Maybe it’s the generally low profile Alfa has had these past few years
– one of the tiniest ranges of cars of any manufacturer. Maybe the 4C will
help remind people Alfa does still exist.
the MiTO has just had a tiny facelift. It has also now has another option in
the line of enigmatic engines.
time it’s another version of the tiny 875cc TwinAir, making some 105bhp, which
means adaquate performance in a supermini that squeezes under 100g/km. Stick
the DNA switch into ‘dynamic’ to get the full beans, but pull it back to ‘normal’
to reduce the boost, and help get better economy. Even so, you won’t make the
official 67mpg because it’s too tempting to over-drive it.
usual endearing TwinAir chugga-chugga noises emanate from the bonnet, and the
usual wide torque spread makes it an easy engine to get along with once you’ve
got used to two strange quirks. Firstly you need to be handy with the clutch
and throttle when launching from rest to avoid an annoying cough. Second, it’s
so happy to rev that it’s too easy to bump the very strict 6000rpm rev limiter.
light nose weight of the two-cylinder car makes it glide more smoothly over
potholes than early MiTos did. Even so a badly heaving road – like the ones we
call B-roads in Britain – will sometimes catch it on the hop. The steering too is
nicer on this one than on the originals, with better self-centring and good
feel, if a bit of rubber somewhere in the system.
in it’s a playful little car to throw around.
a new optional dashboard moulding that fades from black on top to red in the
vertical section. All a bit teenage bedroom. But the standard interior has had
some nice material upgrades, and better seats. It’s better than the mass-market
norm. There’s also a new neatly integrated centre-dash media/TomTom screen.
procedure Alfa review then: not the most rational car in the segment, but a