Alfa Romeo MiTo Hatchback

Price range: $25,200 – $30,000

Overall

A classic Alfa interior with a sexy, distinctive body. ‘Torquey’ 1.4L Turbocharged Petrol engines.

Steering ‘feel’ found wanting; priced in the top-end of the SUPERMINI’s; no automatic on offer yet.

Design and Engineering

Good: Arriving Down Under in July 2009 the Alfa Romeo MiTo features a long bonnet and steeply-raked windscreen = sexy, sporty looks. The frontal design is similar to Alfa’s achingly beautiful 8C COMPETIZIONE supercar; large, circular rear lights are distinctive and help create a cute rear-end (and who doesn’t like a cute rear-end!?).

Not so good: Almost ‘cartoonish’ exterior looks may be too much for some; the thick, steeply-raked A-pillars reduce driver visibility; shares a lot of technology with the non-sporty, mainstream Fiat Grande Punto.

Interior and Styling

Good : Classy, sporty dash design; comfortable driver’s seat; feels like an Alfa inside.

Not so good : 3-door-only design means it’s not the easiest to enter the rear seats (however, once inside there is decent legroom available for a SUPERMINI); lacking headroom in the rear.

Performance

Good : July 2010 saw a change in the performance from under the MiTo’s bonnet. The two 1.4L four petrol engines on offer are now both turbocharged, the ‘entry-level’ grade produces 114kW of power and 230Nm of torque whilst the Quadrifoglio grade generates a more sporty 125kW and 250Nm.

Not so good : Brakes could offer more feedback – lacking in feel. It’s no Hot Hatch yet (however, a sportier grade will be available in the future).

Ride and Handling

Good : Fantastic front-end grip. The fancy ‘Q2’ differential really works.

Not so good: Steering has a little too much artificial feel – common to many modern electric steering systems; less than brilliant handling – suspension is not ideal for a Sunday morning blast on typical patchy Aussie back roads; the torsion beam rear suspension doesn’t help.

Buying and Owning

Good: Lots of luxuries as standard; ticks the safety box with a full set of airbags and active safety features as standard. Pre July 2010 MiTo’s were priced thousands of $$ higher than today, yet feature levels remain almost the same as before.

Not so good: Small boot; fuel economy is only on par compared to its competitors; no automatic on offer to date (but it’s coming soon in the form of a new dual-clutch sequential transmission).

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