First drive: Alfa Romeo Mito Twinair
The baby Alfa has been tweaked and primped for 2014 including the clever Twin Air engine.
What’s new?: The fundamentals are the same but the Mito has been updated inside and out. There’s some new details on the outside such as chrome on the grille and tweaked rear lights, while inside there is a new dashboard layout including a smart new touchscreen.
There are mechanical changes too as the two-cylinder TwinAir engine gets a power boost to 103bhp up from 85bhp. Despite this, Alfa Romeo claims the fuel consumption and impressive 99g/km CO2 figure remain unchanged. The model names and specification have also been tweaked for better value.
Looks and image: The Mito stands apart from most of its supermini rivals with a hefty dose of Italian style. It’s certainly a pretty car and its looks help to make it feel a little more exclusive than most small cars. The detail changes include new colours, a sportier rear bumper and grey detailing around the lights, all of which add to its sport appeal. On the looks front the Mito is definitely in a class of its own.
Space and practicality: The Mito offers modest space for occupants and luggage; those in the front have good head and legroom although there’s little space to rest your left foot. The rear seats are best suited to children or adults for short journeys, and the lack of a centre seat belt means its suitable for just two in the rear. Boot space is slightly behind the class leaders but still competitive.
Behind the wheel: The biggest change here is the extra power from the TwinAir engine, and although it doesn’t turn it into a hot hatch the increased performance is welcome. The unusual two-cylinder layout gives the Mito a distinctive engine sound and to make decent progress you’ll need to use some revs. The Mito has Alfa’s ‘DNA’ switch that allows you to change the throttle and steering settings too.
Although the suspension is unchanged the Mito can be fun to drive. With the ‘DNA’ switch in Dynamic mode the steering has a little more weight and adds to the pleasure. When driven more sedately the ride is firmer than some rivals and you’ll need to be patient to try and get the best fuel consumption.
Value for money: The standard equipment list is generous, with engine stop/start, air conditioning, leather on the steering wheel and gearknob and rear parking sensors among other features. The big touchscreen is standard too, and on this Sportiva model there are also bigger brakes, unique alloy wheels, sports seats and the electronic suspension system.
Who would buy one?: Anyone wanting a small car with personality. The Mito might not be the most practical or the most fun to drive, but it stands out from the crowd with its sharp looks and Italian personality. Although the TwinAir engine is full of character and promises good fuel economy, we’d choose a bigger petrol or one of the diesel options for better all-round usability.
This car summed up in a single word: distinctive.