First drive: Alfa Romeo Mito

The Alfa Romeo Mito's tiny turbocharged engine packs a 103bhp punch
The Alfa Romeo Mito's tiny turbocharged engine packs a 103bhp punch
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ALFA’s baby has been tweaked and primped for 2014, the changes even extending to its engine. There are new exterior details, such as chrome on the grille and tweaked rear lights, while inside there is a new dashboard layout, including a smart new touch screen.

The two-cylinder TwinAir engine gets a power boost to 103bhp, up from 85bhp. Despite this, Alfa Romeo says the fuel consumption and impressive 99g/km CO2 figure are unchanged. The model names and specification have also been tweaked for better value.

The Mito is certainly pretty and its looks help to make it feel a little more exclusive than most small cars. The detail changes include new colours, a sportier rear bumper and grey detailing around the lights, all of which add to its sport appeal. On the looks front, the Mito is in a class of its own.

The Mito offers modest space for occupants and luggage; those in the front have good head and legroom although there’s little space to rest your left foot. The rear seats are best suited to children or short journeys, and the lack of a centre seatbelt means it’s suitable for just two in the rear. Boot space is slightly behind the class leaders.

The biggest change is the extra power from the TwinAir engine and, although it doesn’t turn it into a hot hatch, the performance boost is welcome. The unusual two-cylinder layout gives the Mito a distinctive engine sound and to make decent progress you’ll need to use some revs.

The Mito has Alfa’s DNA drive-mode selection switch that allows you to change the throttle and steering settings too. With the switch in Dynamic mode, the steering has a little more weight and adds to the pleasure. When driven more sedately, the ride is firmer than some rivals and you’ll need to be patient to try and get the best fuel consumption.

Standard equipment list is generous, with engine stop/start, air conditioning, leather on the steering wheel and gearknob, and rear parking sensors. The big touchscreen is standard too, and on this Sportiva model there are also bigger brakes, unique alloy wheels, sports seats and the electronic suspension system.

Although the TwinAir engine is full of character and promises good fuel economy, we’d choose a bigger petrol or one of the diesel options for better all-round usability.

VITAL STATS

Car Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir Sportiva

Price £16,300

Engine 0.85-litre, 2 cyl, turbocharged petrol, 105bhp and 107 lb ft

Performance Max speed 114mph, 0-62mph 11.4 secs

Economy 67.2mpg

CO2 emissions 99g/km