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The Alfa Romeo MiTo has been progressively updated. Are the most recent changes enough to punt it to the top of premium section of the supermini class? Jonathan Crouch reports.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo ought to be a routine fixture in the top five supermini best sellers, but it hasn't worked out that way. Still, the Milanese brand hasn't given up with it. In 2014, we got a revised model with slicker styling, a better quality interior, more equipment and a more powerful entry-level petrol engine. More recently, extra 'Progression' and 'Junior' trim levels have joined the range, as has an EU6-compliant 78bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine. It should all mean that the MiTo's chances have never looked better.
Alfa Romeo is a brand that's never been shy of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Think of all the 'nearly' cars in the marque's history; models that ought to have been brilliant but for one reason or another fell by the wayside. When cars were cheaper to develop, a manufacturer could afford to launch a few duds before it chanced upon a star performer, but the auto industry has changed and Alfa has had to move with it. The MiTo, launched back in 2008, looked set to be another of those frustrating Alfa Romeos that never quite made the grade, but with stakes this high, the brand has been forced to invest and invest wisely in this car. The latest MiTo range has been thoroughly revised in recent times, with updates that go way beyond the normal bumpers, grilles and headlights job that most cars are treated to as they enter middle age. The result of all this effort has turned what was already a good design into one that you could buy as an interesting alternative to top versions of mainstream fare like Fiestas and Corsas. Yes, really.
The MiTo range now comprises five turbo-charged engines; four petrol and two diesel units. At the foot of the range, an EU6-compliant 78bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine is now offered. This sits below the 0.9 TwinAir Turbo powerplant, a unit that was given a 20PS shot in the arm back in 2014, boosting peak power to 105PS, translating to a sprint to 62mph that's 1.1 seconds faster than the previous 85hp version. The 1.4 TB MultiAir 135hp (available with a manual or the Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission) and the 1.4 TB MultiAir 170hp QV engine complete the petrol line-up, while the diesel range consists of the 1.3 JTDM-2 85hp and the 1.6 JTDM-2 120hp powerplants. All MiTo models get a comprehensive suite of driver aids, such as traction, braking and stability control and these systems, along with steering effort and throttle response, can be adjusted via Alfa Romeo's trademark DNA. three-mode selectable driving mode system. Where fitted, the SDC adaptive suspension and TCT transmission settings are also adjustable via the DNA set-up. It can be set in Normal, Dynamic or All-Weather modes to help drivers get the most out of their vehicle. In Dynamic mode, the throttle is spikier and the steering weights up markedly but the Normal setting takes the edge of the throttle response for more relaxed driving.
If you haven't tried a MiTo for some time and haven't experienced a model with the 2014 updates, I'll need to bring you up to date. As with most facelifts, the external changes comprise revisions to the front end, the lights and the bumpers. Here, you get a revised chromed front grille, titanium grey headlamp and tail lamps surrounds and a sports rear bumper. There are also tinted rear windows and a revised colour palette that now includes a classy Matte Magnesio Grey finish. The interior is a lot smarter than it used to be too, with improved materials used throughout and a dashboard that addresses some of the ergonomic issues of the old MiTo. The touch points in the car are notably better than before and there's a Uconnect five-inch, touch-screen infotainment system with voice recognition, Bluetooth, steering wheel remote controls, USB/AUX-in ports and optional satellite navigation. The driving position in the MiTo remains lower and more sporty than you'll encounter in the majority of superminis but there's a good degree of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel so drivers can adapt it to their own tastes. The boot is fairly modest at 270-litres and there's quite a high lip which means items have to be lowered inside.
The purpose of introducing the 78bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine into the range was to give it a lower price starting point. That means that you can get a MiTo for less than £13,000 if you go for the 'Progression' trim level with this engine. There's a reasonable level of equipment included too, even for this money. So buyers can expect to find air conditioning, a leather steering wheel and gear shifter and Alfa Romeo's Uconnect five-inch colour touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, voice recognition, USB and aux-in inputs, plus steering wheel remote controls. In terms of safety, the MiTo Progression is equipped with Vehicle Dynamic Control (stability, braking and traction control with hill-holder), TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring) and seven airbags, while its visual appeal is enhanced with 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and titanium grey headlight and rear light surrounds. If you really like you Alfas though, the trim level you'll really want is the sporty 'Junior' spec, this apparently inspired by the legendary Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior model of 1966. With a MiTo Junior, you get 17-inch alloy wheels with a brilliant white finish, as well as matching door mirror caps and a distinctive "Junior" boot decal, also finished in white. Other enhancements include front fog lights, a sports rear bumper and satin-effect door handles with matching headlamp and tail-lamp surrounds, while the interior benefits from special Junior upholstery, Junior floor mats and a flat-bottom sports steering wheel with contrasting stitching. Under the bonnet, this variant is powered either by the 0.9-litre TwinAir 105hp turbo petrol engine or the frugal 1.3-litre JTDM-2 85hp turbo-diesel. Pricing is set either just below or just above the £15,000 mark.
The entry-level petrol and diesel engines in the revised Alfa Romeo MiTo range really do get standout economy and emissions figures, though you don't really see these with the enry-level Euro6-compatible 78bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit. This manages 50.4mpg on the combined cycle and a CO2 showing of 130g/km. A much better showing is managed by the next petrol powerplant up in the range, the 105PS 0.9 TwinAir model. This delivers 67.3mpg and 99g/km. The alternative diesel 1.2 JTDM-2 variant might pack 20PS less, but it feels churlish to grumble when it'll return 80.7mpg and emit just 90g/km of carbon dioxide. These sorts of figures suddenly make the MiTo a real option for company car drivers who are looking to bring down their tax bills but don't want to be saddled with a boring car. Demand for used MiTo models has proven strong and there's no reason to assume that it will tail off with the introduction of a budget entry-level variant. This relatively beefy residual value has been a big draw for private buyers, especially when the cost of comparatively mundane rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta has steadily crept up to match the MiTo's asking price. Suddenly the Alfa looks corking value. Small wonder sales are trending upwards.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo has come good. While we don't think it'll ever be remembered as a classically charismatic Alfa, perhaps that's not what the company needs right now. The brand has brought us legions of cars that appeal to a hardened niche of buyers, but that strategy isn't going to prove profitable in this day and age. What Alfa needs with the MiTo is a car that delivers all the reliability and affordability of a Corsa or a Fiesta but which adds a dash of pizazz. That's pretty much what it has delivered here. So where's the catch? We're struggling to think of too many. Some buyers may overlook this little Alfa because it's been around for six years, but in doing so, they'd be doing this revised model a real disservice. You could argue that the three-year warranty isn't particularly generous and you'd have a point but beyond that, there's a lot to admire here and the prices look good too. The MiTo took its time but it looks as if it's finally come of age.
The Alfa Romeo Mito is a luxurious supermini to compete with the new Audi A1 and the Mini, it is only available as a 3 door hatchback. The MiTo utilises the Fiat MultiAir, TwinAir and JTD-M engines to allow clients the opportunity to go for economy, speed or a little bit of both. The Mito's unique selling point is its classic Alfa looks and in particular the grille. In a world of a million hatchbacks this one wants to be seen and heard.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo is a luxery supermini built in Turin, Italy. The MiTo was revealed in 2008 and has been an immensly popular all-rounder since. Sharing the same good looks as its big brother the Giulietta, the MiTo has a distinctive look and is instantly recognisable form a distance, a trait Alfa Romeo have always used in their cars. Sharing some of the same engines as the Giulietta the MiTo comes in a wide range of power and performance to suit any needs - from the entry level 0.9 Twin Air engine all the way to the premium 1.6 JTDM diesel engine. Below are some of the awards the MiTo has gathered:
Lease a MiTo if you are after a small supermini but want the luxury you may not get with the likes of the Corsa or the Fiesta. Being a member of Fiats premium brand allows for greater interior luxury and more power in the engines. However prestigious, the MiTo is still a highly practical car as its sleight frames gives the driver more maneouverability around the cities but still enough gruff to handle a motorway fast lane. Available to lease are 0.9 105 and a 1.4 TB petrol engine as well as a 1.6 JDTM diesel engine which emits only 90g/km of co2's.
To conclude, the Alfa Romeo is a smashing car to lease and drive. If you want a city run around but want the nicer things in life then the MiTo is for you. Have a look around the Alfa Romeo car leasing hub today at the latest images, in depth reviews and high definition video.
If you have any questions or would like to enquire on a MiTo deal please call us on 01565 880880 and we will be happy to help.
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