What's the used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback like?
What’s in a name? A lot, if that name’s Alfa Romeo. For car enthusiasts, the Italian firm is the repository of some of the most stylish and most desirable motor cars of all time. It is a name full of teasing promise, as inviting as a luxurious villa in the Tuscan countryside and as refreshingly alive as the views to the sea from the heights of Ravello, high above the Amalfi Drive.
However, while some of its offerings over the past few years have nearly lived up to the promise of that evocative badge, it’s fair to say that most of them have been more like a wet weekend in Hull. For a myriad of reasons, the Mito is one of them.
It starts well enough, with a body that takes its inspiration from some of the glorious Alfas of the past and then links it into a modern and fairly distinctive three-door hatchback shape. From some angles it’s almost cute and, if its job was to make it stand out in the small car class, it has at least succeeded in that.
Under the bonnet, the Fiat Group’s turbocharged 1.4-litre Multiair engines form the mainstay of the line-up, and are available in 138bhp and 168bhp states of tune. In both states it’s suitably flexible and refined, which is more than can be said of the 0.9-litre twin-cylinder turbocharged engine, the TwinAir, which has plenty of character but sounds thrashy and requires constant gearchanges to get the best from it. Buyers could also choose from either a weedy 1.4 naturally aspirated petrol engine or a 1.3-litre diesel, an adequate performer but one that is by no means smooth or particularly exciting.
On the road it’s all a little disappointing, with uninspiring performance from most of the engines, vague steering and an unsettled ride that for most of the time is downright uncomfortable. Its refinement is noticeably below par, too, with plenty of engine, wind and road noise to disturb your misery.
Things aren’t much better in the interior, where the driving position’s a bit compromised, the build quality feels disturbingly slack and space in the front and back is fairly limited, even by the standards of the small car class.
Its reputation for less-than-stellar reliability is somewhat off-putting too – but, nevertheless, if you wanted to own a car that carries one of the most passionate and desirable of all motoring badges, then a used Mito could be seen by some as a cheap and easy way to help you achieve that aim.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback?
Visibility is limited to the rear and sides of the Mito, so check for scuffs and dents on the bodywork picked up in city centre car parks, and check also the alloy wheels for kerb damage.
What are the most common problems with a used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback?
Most problems relate to non-engine electrics, but there have been reports of timing chain issues on the Multijet engines, the engine management light can come on, leaks from the transmission oil, power steering failures and some gearbox issues too. As well as this, interior trim can creak and rattle.
Is a used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback reliable?
The Mito didn’t feature in our most recent reliability survey, but previous surveys have found it in the bottom half of the table, with problems as reported above. Surprisingly perhaps, its bigger brother the Giulietta did well in our most recent survey, finishing 10th in the family cars category. Alfa Romeo as a brand actually finished in fifth place out of 32 manufacturers, an amazingly good result.
What used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback will I get for my budget?
Around £3000 will get you into a good, average mileage for the year Mito, with a full service history. Cheaper cars are out there, dating from 2008/9, but with high six-figure mileages and we’d walk past these without a backward glance. Spend between £4000 and £6000 and you’ll find good low mileage 2012 and 2013 cars, while £7000 to £9000 will net you a 2014 or 2015 model.
How much does it cost to run a Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback?
The diesel-engined 1.3 car is a little stodgy on the road but its economy is the best of all the Mitos, with a claimed average fuel consumption of 83.1mpg. On paper, the best performing petrol engine is the 0.9 TwinAir unit, with a claimed 67.3mpg. In real-world use, though, we’ve not achieved anywhere near that figure.
Annual road tax for post-April 2017 cars will be pretty much of a muchness, while those registered before April 2017 will enjoy zero road tax in the diesel and TwinAir versions.
Insurance groups are reasonable, spreading from 11 up to 26 for the 1.4-litre 170 Veloce petrol version, the fastest car in the range.
Servicing costs can be high at main dealers, but there are plenty of independent specialists who will give it a go. Alfa offers an Easy Care servicing pack for older cars that allows you to plan and pay by direct debit for upcoming services.
Which used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback should I buy?
The 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol is best avoided. It has to be worked hard to make even half-decent progress and, because it has little torque, you’re constantly changing down a gear (sometimes two) to overtake, and to climb steep hills.
The turbocharged 1.4-litre 140 petrol engine is a much better choice. It’s stronger and delivers its power more evenly so doesn’t have to be worked as hard. The higher-powered version of the 1.4, the 170, is stronger again, while the 1.3 diesel is perfectly adequate for most journeys.
Every Mito comes with a 5.0in touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Bluetooth phone connection, USB and aux connections, a leather multi-function steering wheel, air conditioning, hill hold control and seven airbags.
We’d spend the extra on our favourite Distinctive trim, though, which adds 17in alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a front arm rest, without hiking up the price too much.
QV line adds largely visual extras and stiffer suspension set-ups, which do nothing for the Mito’s ride.
Later post-facelift 2016 onwards cars changed trim names to Speciale, Super and Veloce, and of these we think the Super offers the best kit for the money quotient.
Our favourite Alfa Romeo Mito: 1.4 TB 140 Distinctive
What alternatives should I consider to a used Alfa Romeo Mito hatchback?
The Mini is suitably stylish in a retro-suburban way to compete with the Mito. It, too, borrows from the past in order to boost its modern-day appeal, arguably more successfully in the Mini’s case than the Mito’s. It’s good to drive, with usable rear space and a reasonable boot.
The Ford Fiesta plays a straight bat by comparison with the Mini and Alfa. However, its pleasant styling is backed up by solid dynamic appeal, it being one of the best cars to drive in this class, as well as having an excellent driving position and intuitive dashboard and logical and well thought out interior.