Browse over 9,000 car reviews

EXPERT RATING
7.0

Likes

  • Handles well
  • Reliable
  • Striking looks

Dislikes

  • Not as sporty as expected
  • Turbo is prone to losing oil

The trim three-door drove and handled well — and took Alfa reliability up a notch.

New

We don't always associate prestige with little cars but Alfa's cute little MiTO hatch bridged the gulf pretty well.

Alfa wasn't alone with a prestige little car but with its sporting heritage it promised something more than its rivals in terms of Italian looks and driving experience.

As a three-door hatch only, the MiTO had limited appeal for anyone looking for practical transport. It lived up to the expectation of striking looks, with its distinctive grille, stylish headlamps and smooth lines.

At launch in 2009, there were the base model and the Sport, joined by the QV in 2010. In 2012 the revised line-up deleted the lesser pair and brought in the Progression and Distinctive.

The upmarket QV, with more equipment and tuned for performance, carried on until the MiTO was pulled from the market in 2015.

The staple 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo came in varying levels of tune.

If buyers were expecting a fireball, the MiTO might have disappointed.

In the initial base model, it produced 88kW/206Nm and in the Sport 114kW/230Nm, the QV getting 125kW/250Nm.

In 2010 the base model went to 99kW/206Nm and added the Sport engine as an option.

Transmission choices were a five-speed manual until 2010 when that was dropped in favour of a six-speed manual, and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission was introduced as an auto option.

Shortly before the MiTO was phased out, Alfa added a 900cc twin-cylinder turbo (77kW/145Nm).

If buyers were expecting a fireball, the MiTO might have disappointed. It wasn't a slouch, it handled well and was a pleasure to drive but it wasn't as quick as the Alfa badge might suggest.

Now

Mention Alfa Romeo and you're often howled down with horror stories of poor build quality and non-existent reliability. That was certainly the case in the bad old days when Alfas would rust while you watched them and break down in the driveway, it's not the way they are today.

Readers tell us they enjoy owning and driving the MiTO. Build quality is not a problem and breakdowns are rare.

Mechanically, the MiTO seems sound but check all the controls — windows, remote locking, airconditioning — for electrical or operational glitches.

The MiTO's turbo is prone to losing oil.

Give the body a close inspection, particularly for paint, which we're told can be patchy and uneven. Also check that expanse of front bodywork that is prone to chips from stones thrown up off the road.

As in any modern car it's vitally important that the engine oil is changed regularly, particularly so with a highly tuned turbo like the MiTO's. View the service record to confirm regular maintenance has been carried out.

The MiTO's turbo is prone to losing oil, so check around the assembly for leaks. The toothed belt to drive the camshafts needs to be replaced every 120,000km. Make sure that has been done — don't risk a belt breaking.

If you're intent on buying a MiTO it's probably best to avoid the twin-cylinder engine, a quirky item that will surely be an orphan when it comes time to sell.

Alfa Romeo Mito 2009:

Safety Rating
Engine Type Turbo 4, 1.4L
Fuel Type Premium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency 6.1L/100km (combined)
Seating 5
Price From $5,060 - $7,370

Verdict

Smithy says

One to consider if you like the looks and want a neat driving experience.

Owners say

Rodney L: I owned a 2014 Progression 1.4-litre turbo for 12 months before selling it at 20,000km. It was very reliable, build quality etc was fine. Except for turbo leaking oil, I had no major issues with it. It was fantastic to drive in Dynamic mode but lacked enthusiasm in Normal mode. I was disappointed with the turbo issue and the decision by Alfa to discontinue it, which was the reason for my sale. But I still have a soft spot for it.

Don Cairns: I bought a new Progression in 2013 and have done 78,000km in it. It is fun to drive and in Dynamic mode in manual using the paddles it is positively exhilarating. It's very economical as well, averaging 6.2 L/100km to date, and has had no mechanical problems. The only downsides are a hard ride and a noisy engine at revs but who cares? The gearbox is not always smooth but its roadholding and urge still put a smile on my 76-year-old face every day.

Evan Dobson: I bought my Distinctive with 60,000km on it and have done another 30,000km. It's superb, pulls well, is economical and is great fun to drive.

Gordon Whyte: I've had my Progression for three years and I love it. It's comfortable, well equipped and so far it has been reliable. The only thing I've had to attend to is a squeaky electric window regulator.

Lesley Bright: My MiTO has been the most reliable and economical car I have ever owned. It looks good, the ride is firm but sporty and the economy is good.

At a glance

Price new: $29,990-$37,490
Price now:
MiTO - $7000-$12,000
MiTO Sport - $8500-$13,000
Quadrifoglio/QV - $10,000-$24,000
Progression - $10,500-$19,500
Distinctive - $13,000-$21,500

Safety: 5 stars
Engines: 1.4-litre 4-cyl turbo, 88kW/206Nm, 99kW/206Nm, 114kW/230Nm and 125kW/250Nm; 900cc 2-cyl turbo, 77kW/145Nm
Transmissions: 5 and 6-speed man, 6-speed dual-clutch auto; FWD
Thirst: 4.2L-6.5L/100km

Also consider

Fiat 500 2009-15 - 3 stars - One to buy if you really like its cute looks. Pay between $5500-$15,000.

Mini Cooper S 2009-15 - 3.5 stars - Pocket rocket with retro looks. A fun car. Pay between $15,000-$39,500.

Suzuki Swift 2009-15 - 4 stars - Terrific little car. Buy it with confidence. Pay betwen $6500-$19,500.

Coming up

Do you own or have you owned a Skoda Octavia? Share your experience with other CarsGuide readers by sending your comments to Graham Smith at grah.smith@bigpond.com or write to CarsGuide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW 2010.

Click here to see more Alfa Romeo Mito pricing and spec info.

Range and Specs

Vehicle Specs Price*
Base Premium Unleaded Petrol, 6 SPEED MANUAL $3,960 - $5,830
Distinctive 1.4L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 6 SPEED AUTO DUAL CLUTCH $8,800 - $12,320
Progression 1.4L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 6 SPEED AUTO DUAL CLUTCH $7,920 - $11,220
See all 2015 Alfa Romeo Mito in the Range
*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist
With a passion for cars dating back to his childhood and having a qualification in mechanical engineering, Graham couldn’t believe his good fortune when he was offered a job in the Engineering Department at General Motors-Holden’s in the late-1960s when the Kingswood was king and Toyota was an upstart newcomer. It was a dream come true. Over the next 20 years Graham worked in a range of test and development roles within GMH’s Experimental Engineering Department, at the Lang Lang Proving Ground, and the Engine Development Group where he predominantly worked on the six-cylinder and V8 engines. If working for Holden wasn’t exciting enough he also spent two years studying General Motors Institute in America, with work stints with the Chassis Engineering section at Pontiac, and later took up the post of Holden’s liaison engineer at Opel in Germany. But the lure of working in the media saw him become a fulltime motorsport reporter and photographer in the late-1980s following the Grand Prix trail around the world and covering major world motor racing events from bases first in Germany and then London. After returning home to Australia in the late-1980s Graham worked on numerous motoring magazines and newspapers writing about new and used cars, and issues concerning car owners. These days, Graham is CarsGuide's longest standing contributor.
About Author
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.

Comments