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Alfa’s Mito QV oozing Italian charm

02.07.2015

WHEN I had the opportunity to drive the updated Alfa Mito Quadrifoglio Verde recently I jumped at it because just a week before this was our Autodealer hot hatch shootout at Zwartkops. So, with its rivals fresh in my mind, I could approach the often forgotten Mito objectively.

Has the Mito aged?

The Mito has been with us for some time yet I still feel the car looks fresh, especially when adorned with the cloverleaf badging and large anthracite grey alloy wheels. The car still garners looks from people when cruising around proving that the Italians can really design a small hatchback.

Inside has aged a bit, with the instrument binnacle looking a bit dated, the carbon-look dashboard covering has always tickled my fancy though, while the addition of the Uconnect infotainment system does inject some youth into the car. You now have a touchscreen system with Bluetooth, iPod, USB/AUX compatibility, which is so much better than the old system in every conceivable way.

How does it stack up?

On paper, the Mito is slower than its main rivals and, I surmised, after driving its key rivals, this is true in the real world, too. Its 1.4-litre turbocharged motor puts out 125kW/250Nm versus the 147kW/275Nm in the Peugeot 208 GTI and 134kW/240Nm in the Ford Fiesta ST, which both weigh very much the same as the Alfa. I have selected these two rivals as they come with manual transmissions, much like my Mito test unit.

The Mito simply doesn’t feel as sharp as these two vehicles though and is less of a hot hatch and more of a soft performance hatch with style and kerb appeal in spades. It is also not willing to let you disable the Traction Control system which, in a dynamic environment, might hamper the ultimate fun that the car could provide.

It does have a clever Q2 electronic differential, which does help in the bends and in accelerative situations, though. I could still feel the rear end of the car wasn’t as planted as its rivals, which could lead to some playful lift-off oversteer; perhaps the traction control isn’t a bad idea after all.

The one thing Alfa has in its favour is consumption; push its rivals hard and you’ll see a figure creeping north of 10.0 litres/100km, whereas the Italian was using 8.6 litres/100km during my time with it and I wasn’t driving with frugality in mind.

Daily living

I could see myself cruising around in a Mito as a daily drive quite easily, whereas the Fiesta ST with its hard ride might be a bit much for me, although the Peugeot is just as adept at the daily grind as the Alfa. Then again, as a daily drive, cars like the new Volkswagen Polo GTI and Renault Clio RS 200EDC are more suitable, thanks to their twin-clutch automatic gearboxes.

The DNA drive setting system works a treat with 'D' for Dynamic being for when you press on, 'N' for Natural and 'A' for All-weather, which we’d rarely use locally. The one gripe I had with driving the Mito was the seating position, which felt as if my legs were too short and my arms too long.

Verdict

The Mito QV is often forgotten when it comes to considering small performance hatchbacks but after spending some time with one I feel that it deserves its place on the list amongst its competitors. It is the left-field choice, the stylish one, the Gucci loafer to the ST’s running shoe and for some people that matters more than lap times and involvement.

Article written by Sean Nurse
02.07.2015
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