Alfa Romeo Mito

Fun with a Chilly Twist

What's behind the Italian automaker Fiat Group (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino): owner of Ferrari, Maserati, Chrysler, Jeep and Alfa Romeo? Definitely any country with these brands is sitting pretty relaxed.

Driving Impressions
First impressions were that it's not too different from the Fiat 500, if a little bit bigger. The MiTo was first introduced in 2008. The MiTo's curvy design makes it feel smaller than the competition and crucially its pretty design looks instantly charm.

That's what Alfas have always been famed for: clutching the heart-strings. The MiTO might be the baby of the range; it shares several styling cues with the 8C. The MiTO seems to originate most of its front fascia design from the 8C Competizione. From the doe-eyed headlamps to the bulbous 'nose' that protrudes onto the front bumper and the Alfa Romeo shield, it's all 8C derived. Even the roof-line parallels those on the 8C. 

The MiTo represents nothing less than a sea change in Alfa's communal view, which is exactly what the company has needed for long time. Because, not since the charming little Alfasud of the 1970s and early 80s, has a model in its line-up had so much weight heaped on its shoulders. The recent Giulietta, which I personally drove in Beirut back in May, owes its very being to this little car and, between the two models, there's a reasonably straight measurement of future output from this famed, historic company.

The engine is fitted with an automatic start/stop function - I'm still to be convinced if this actually does save fuel but I suppose it helps the environment by cutting emissions. I didn't ever find any long traffic jams, especially in the countryside of Turin, which could have resulted in the engine frequently cutting out only to restart with the fuel gauge dropping faster than if this facility isn't used. At traffic lights, I had to have experienced it.

The Alfa's 1.4 liter direct-injection four is pushed along nicely by a turbocharger, developing only 133 hp, but more importantly the 230 Nm of peak torque.

The three-door, five seat hatch is dishonestly roomy inside, for the front row at least. But this is typical of a three-door hatch. The styling and sloping roof sacrifice some rear headroom, and the rear seats are typically uncomfortable to enter for the taller adult.

In the front, nevertheless, the trim is lavish. Sporty dials are set in a carbon-fiber fascia and the little DNA button by the shifter to alter the car into different modes. I loved that!

Verdict
Audi has the A1 and Mini has the Cooper so the competition is quite exhilarating between these vehicles. But as I said, either you love the brand or not. The MiTo looks like a cute, squished version of the 8C Competizione supercar but with a tilted dual-clutch auto, premium fuel, and a little bit disappointing of a sport drive. But I think in our Middle East region, people who are in love with Alfas they will surely opt for the Giulietta.

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