Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Alfa Romeo MiTo.
Two-cylinder, 900cc – no this isn’t a motorcycle review, it’s the base model version of the Alfa Romeo MiTo.
Priced from $22,500, the tiny engine in the MiTo is called the TwinAir and I must say, in general, I was pretty impressed.
Weighing in at a respectable 1127kgs, the little engine does quite a reasonable job of getting the two-door Alfa around.
There’s a choice of normal driving mode and dynamic (what other makers would call ‘sports’ mode), it’s the sportier setting that provides the most ‘user-friendly’ driving.
As you might expect the tiny engine really needs to be pushed to get the MiTo moving along and the best part of the engines output occurs between 3,000 and 6,000rpm, after this the Alfa literally runs out of puff and in no uncertain terms tells you it’s had enough!
But, in that sweet spot the acceleration is actually pretty good and the exhaust note, while being a touch noisier than you might expect, is reasonably enjoyable.
From 100km/h in top gear the 77kW and 145Nm two-cylinder turbo power plant managed to pick-up speed, though if you were planning on overtaking you would, as you might expect, have to drop it down a gear or two.
I averaged 8.3L/100kms in a week of city driving; the official combined figure is 4.2L/100kms and the claimed urban consumption listing is 5.0L/100kms. Big difference, is it possible to use that little fuel? Well, I think you would have to drive extremely conservatively to go near that!
Also, if you want this grade of MiTo you are going to have to like changing gears – its manual only.
Beyond the engine and transmission the MiTo rides all right and the steering is sharp, the handling though is not anywhere near what you might expect from an Alfa Romeo.
The cabin is not a highlight unfortunately. With a look and feel that’s more 1990’s Hyundai than Italian sports car, don’t have high expectations when it comes to features, fit and finish and comfort.
A couple of good points inside though – I liked the clear gauges and the simple air-conditioning controls. An adjustable centre armrest is also a nice touch and doubles as a small hidden storage compartment.
The glove box is quite tiny, but the boot is deep and respectably sized. Legroom up front is only average, but rear leg, head and shoulder space is surprisingly generous and three adults could travel in reasonable comfort back there.
Don’t expect features like a reversing camera or satellite navigation, but I’m pleased to say the centre touch screen is easy to use and the stereo sound quality is OK.
The Alfa Romeo boasts a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up – It’s quirky and that two-cylinder engine is an experience all in itself! In saying that the pricing is reasonable and the little Alfa does have a likeable quality about it.
It’s not the best equipped or most comfortable car in its class, but if you’ve always wanted a two-door Italian ‘sports’ car on a budget then take a MiTo for a test-drive.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 0.9 litre turbo petrol delivering 77kW and 145Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual only
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $22,500