Alfa Romeo Mito test drive by Daragh O Tuama

Alfa Romeo Mito

I’ve always been a fan of Top Gear, and as a fan of Top Gear I’ve always wanted to own an Alfa Romeo……I mean I know they haven’t exactly got a name as being the most reliable car in the world, I know they don’t deliver excellence in the handling department, but they are sexy little machines.

This week I got to test drive my first Alfa Romeo – I know, I know, I call myself a motoring enthusiast and I’ve never had a proper test drive of an Alfa, but now that I have I feel I understand. It’s as if some of life’s mysteries are now clear to me.

And even though it was the MiTo I was driving, I feel that I’m now more of a man. Grrrrrr.

That’s right folks, this week I had the new Alfa Romeo MiTo.

This car is in competition with Mini, the Fiat 500, and pretty much any small car that you can imagine, and it’s what I would call great fun. In fairness, it doesn’t exactly handle great, but that’s part of the attraction.

The model I had was a 1.4, MultiAir TB 170 Cloverleaf and this cloverleaf delivers a punch. When you put the foot down in this lightweight car you can feel the g’s bring you back in your seat, and I imagine that if you really floored it controlling this car wouldn’t be easy. I would imagine it would be akin to taming a wild dog, that is, not without a fight. Not surprisingly this car will give you 0-100km/ph in about 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 219kph.

Now, what does all of that mean, MultiAir TB 170 Cloverleaf? Well…. MutiAir was designed by Fiat Powertrain technology and it serves to increase power, give better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

The Cloverleaf part: This originated in the 1920’s on cars designed by Giusepe Merosi for the Gran Siciliana – one of the most prestigious races of the 1920’s, any how, the story goes that he had an image of a cloverleaf on all of these cars and each corner represented one of the four drivers of the Alfa team. This proved to be lucky to one of the Alfa drivers when he won this race after the leading ascari car broke down 200m before the finish line and Alfa took the victory.

Three years later however the same racer, called Sivocci died in a tragic accident during the race. His car on that day didn’t carry the cloverleaf. The clover leaf since WWII was used in Alfa cars to distinguish sporting versions of Alfa models.

Okay, history lesson is now over:

Back to the MiTo, I kind of like it. I’m not a fan of small cars in general, and if a car is going to be this small, I would usually recommend that it comes without back seats – I mean what’s the point in having two token seats in the back of a mini, fiat 500 or a MiTo? Absolutely no point – and sadly this car still has them. Anyway, as a person who doesn’t generally like small cars, I was very impressed by the look of the MiTo. Its grill delivers an angriness that belongs to a musclier car, and its’ sleek curves are completely in keeping with the sexy image that Alfa offers.

When it comes to the interior, it is quite comfortable, but, and this is a big BUT, a lot of outside noise comes through to this car, so much so that you really have to jam up the volume on the radio to hear it clearly.

Alfa’s and Fiat are now going down the route of the Blue and Me audio kits, for Bluetooth etc. I found this to be quite awkward, and I was very disappointed that it didn’t accept my iPod without malfunctioning every few minutes.

This model of MiTo uses about 8.1l/100km and burns 139 gco2/km, which places it in tax band b.

The MiTo prices start at about €15,000 if you avail of the scrappage scheme and if not you’re  looking at about €16,500. If you’re looking for the cloverleaf version you would need to cough up in and around €24,000.

In comparison to the mini or even the fiat 500, this is definitely my favourite. Sure the mini is good fun and all, but this is more of a challenge. As for the Fiat 500c – I’m driving one now, and it doesn’t come close.


For more information and reviews, visit Daragh’spage on www.newstalk.ie/motormouth

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