- We like...Fast but good on fuel
- We don't...Cabin looks cheap in places
Sportiest Mito yet is also the line-up's cleverest car. Find out why - and whether you should buy one - by clicking belowEver noticed how Italian lends an air of romance to pretty much everything? Take ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’. It means ‘green cloverleaf’ – the name Alfa gives to its sportiest models. But it sounds a heck more enticing in its native tongue, dsn’t it?
And to justify the badge’s place on the side of its baby car, the Mito, Alfa’s engineers have done plenty. Its 170bhp makes it the pokiest Mito yet. Now that power output mayn’t sound that special when put beside, say, the 197bhp you’ll get from the Renaultsport Clio Cup that you’d buy for similar money. But when you think that the Mito Cloverleaf has an 1.4 engine that’ll also return up to 47mpg overall and keeps its emissions at 139g/km (meaning cheap road tax), it’s doing pretty well. Thank the marque’s new Multiair technology that helps the motor be both sporty and economical.
It’s a little belter to drive. Find an empty country road, point its nose along it and it’ll gallop, giving a muted but engaging rasp at its tailpipe as the revs build. But it’s also an easy car to drive, because of its size and also because it’s easy to keep calm and sensible while ambling through town.
In truth, it’s the most civilised Mito. Why so? Go for the Cloverleaf and you get what Alfa calls ‘Active Suspension’ as standard. This, using five sensors spread across the car, keeps check of what the car is up to and adjusts the suspension to suit. The damper for each wheel alters itself independently of the others.
The system also reacts to the car’s ‘DNA’ set-up. This, as fitted to other Mitos, too, lets you switch between ‘Dynamic’, ‘Normal’ and ‘All Weather’ settings. The second two speak for themselves. But ‘Dynamic’ is for when you’re really going for it. Pick it using the silver switch sited between the seats and the car’ll give a little kick ahead to show it’s ready. The throttle responses’ll crispen, the steering weights up just enough to sharpen lines and improve turn-in, while the ride stiffens a jot.
Even here though it is firm but never, we found, uncomfortable, smoothing away the worst of even badly scarred surfaces. Put it back to ‘Normal’ and it becomes an accomplished motorway cruiser, taking you along comfortably and in reasonable hush, that rorty motor cruising at a purr.
Other, cheaper Mitos do without this ‘clever’ suspension and suffer. Even with the DNA set to ‘Normal’ they'll feel ‘bony’ and unsettled. But select ‘Dynamic’ and they'll jolt badly enough to give a headache. Pity then that the Cloverleaf’s set-up can’t be had on other Mitos, even as an option.
No doubt, the Cloverleaf’s handsome, its red-painted brakes, Cloverleaf alloy wheels, special door mirrors, and headlamp covers marking it out. Plus, of course, those wing badges. Inside, you get the carbon-fibre effect dash offered in other high-spec Mitos, sporty-black headlining, that DNA switch, manual air conditioning, remote locking and seven airbags. It’s good looking and well finished, although some of the plastic mouldings low in the cabin look and feel cheap. There’s fair space for two in the back, although tall adults will suffer if left there too long. Boot space is fair and the rear seat folds to extend looad space but dsn’t split.
Should you buy one? Why not. It’s quick, cute, involving to drive and reasonably careful with emissions and fuel economy. Best of all, it is (at time of writing) a fair bit cheaper than the equivalent Mini Cooper.
* Note that the insurance rating given below uses the new system, where cars are placed in groups 1-50
To read our verdict on the 'regular' Mito - and watch our video, click here
To view and buy new and used Alfa Romeo Mitos, click on to motors.co.uk
- Engines1.4 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph7.5secs
- Insurance groups26A*
Motors.co.uk value verdict: