Alfa Romeo has given its MiTo small car a mild makeover. Here, we're driving the mid-range Progression model in automatic guise.
The latest round of MiTo upgrades are well-received, bringing the car mostly into line with its direct competitors from Audi and Mini. Standard technologies now include a five-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and steering wheel controls. The 1.4-litre petrol engine offers linear pulling power off the line and the accompanying dual-clutch auto offers quick upshifts, though it is kept pretty busy. Cabin space is adequate for front passengers, and will also cater for rear-seat occupants on short trips. The MiTo comes equipped with a five-star ANCAP rating, seven airbags, a hill holder function, ABS and brake assist.
The Alfa still falls well short of its more mainstream rivals on pricing and specification. There's no option for a reversing camera or a hard-wired sat-nav system (there are mobile apps available which purport to offer the same function), and reverse parking sensors are an option. The interior composes of a lot of hard dash plastics, there aren't any roof-mounted grab rails and only the front passenger seat is afforded a vanity mirror. The steering feels a little numb when weighed up through corners as well as feeling heavy in slow-speed manoeuvres. The MiTo also suffers a firm ride, thudding its way over minor bumps and inconsistencies. Road noise and engine noise are both considerable bug bears, particularly at higher speeds.
Would I buy one?
I'd probably consider the base model two-cylinder TwinAir first. It's a) cheaper, and b) plays on the Alfa's Euro charm a bit more with its endearing two-pot burble. It only comes in manual, but makes a better case for the MiTo's premium price tag.