Kamis, 02 Oktober 2008


MiTo is new baby Alfa

Shane O' Donoghue 2 October 2008

What is it?

Alfa Romeo's new entry-level model: a car that should seriously boost the company's sales figures given that it hasn't been present in this market segment since the '70s. Alfa is positioning the MiTo further upmarket than the Fiat Grande Punto it shares its underpinnings with and should be considered to be a genuine rival to the MINI.

For now, the MiTo will only be available as a front-wheel drive three-door hatchback. Nearly all models at launch will be turbocharged, with several petrol and diesel options ranging from a 94bhp 1.4-litre to the range-topping 153bhp turbocharged petrol unit and 1.3- and 1.6-litre turbodiesels. Alfa will offer the MiTo in Turismo and Veloce levels in the UK, though buyers will have a huge range of customisation options, including different colours for the light surrounds and mirrors.

Is it any good?

First impressions certainly are favourable. The MiTo is of much higher perceived quality than the Fiat Grande Punto it is based on, so between that and the undisputed style, the premium Alfa demands is justified. As to whether it truly competes with the MINI on the road, we're not so sure. We tried the 118bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel and the 153bhp turbo petrol engines and both are punchy, giving the little MiTo the performance to match its extrovert looks. It's an agile car too, with direct steering and very little body roll. The only doubts we have are concerning the car's ride quality, which is possibly a little too firm, even given the sporting image. The upshot is decent body control, but the MiTo doesn't quite tickle the fancy of the keen driver quite as well as the MINI does. Perhaps the forthcoming GTA hot hatch version can redress the balance.

Should I call the bank manager?

It shouldn't take too much persuasion to get your local branch to lend you the necessary for the MiTo. Prices start at just under £11,000 in the UK, with Irish buyers offered the new car at a little under €20,000 and there will be tempting insurance and finance deals too. Even the most expensive model - the 1.4-litre turbo Veloce - will only come in at £14,975 in Britain, which neatly slots it between the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. All MiTos will be well equipped as well, with climate control, seven airbags and alloy wheels on every model, along with the fancy driving electronic aids. If you're keen you can place your order from October, but neither British nor Irish buyers will get their hands on the MiTo until the start of 2009.


The word 'downsizing' cropped up more than once on the launch of the MiTo and though the new hatch isn't quite the baby sports car Alfa would like us to think of it as, it is achingly stylish, seemingly well made, very well equipped (and priced) and has the performance to stand out in the supermini class. It's definitely a rival for the MINI.