Robert Barry loved the MiTo QV as a driver’s car but was less impressed with the white badges stuck on the flanks.
Quadrifoglio Verde – directly translated from Italian means four leafed green clover – which is the iconic badge that has adorned many top of the range Alfa Romeo models for decades.
It is a badge that now graces the latest three-door Alfa-Romeo MiTo hot hatch which has a more powerful new multi air turbocharged engine under its bonnet. The new engine lacks low down torque and begs to be driven hard (like an old Honda Vtec engine) to give its best performance, but the cheap looking White plastic QV badge that Alfa-Romeo has stuck on the flanks really do look like an after thought.
And I’m also not convinced about the new matte grey plastic trim around the headlamps and tails combined with the metallic silver paint. I preferred the chrome finish of the earlier version of the MiTo Sport which we drove more than a year ago.
The selectable electronic ride and handling function known as Alfa-Romeo DNA (dynamic, normal, all-weather) of the MiTo QV feels even more extreme in its application as opposed to the older car. The Dynamic mode offers extremely responsive engine performance and sharper steering response, but Normal mode which offers better fuel economy makes the car feel as though someone has pulled the hand brake on. All-weather mode is recommended for wet conditions, such as torrential rain, snow and ice.
Another disappointment is the close ratio 6-speed manual gearbox, while it has a nice feel through the selector gates, having changed all the way up from 1st to 6th gear, you find the car buzzing along at 2800rpm around 110kph. While this no doubt helps the turbocharged engine to respond quickly – surely the idea of a 6-speed box is to provide better fuel economy by making 5th and 6th gears taller.
Ride quality of the MiTo QV is poor, the low profile wheel and tyre combination sends bumps and thumps through the cabin at all speeds, but like most sporting suspensions the trade off is exceptional handling over winding roads. Just as any sporting Alfa should do, the MiTo has levels of grip for a front-wheel-drive that are exceptional mainly thanks to the Q2 electronic differential.
Despite the ‘rattle-your-fillings’ ride quality, the stylishly executed MiTo QV cabin is a pleasant environment with comfortable sports bucket seats, brilliant climate controlled air, and the Bluetooth functions are first class. The MiTo Blue & Me system will download the entire contents of your cellular phone into its memory banks and you can also download your favourite tunes into the hard drive.
Overall the MiTo is a fun-to-drive package such as the MINI Cooper. Like its British built rival the MiTo is primarily a two-person car that can carry occasional passengers, rear seat space is slightly better than the MINI and the rear seats of the MiTo fold flat to give useable cargo space.
As a day to day car the firm ride will become tiresome for some people and so will the need to use the throttle and gears to get off the line at the expense of fuel economy. However died-in-the-wool Alfisti will just love it, Momma mia.
Body type Five-door hatch
Air Bags 7
Through Life Cost Report
The Through Life Cost Model is used for illustrative and indicative purposes only. StratCon Partnership Limited and Adrenalin Publishing Limited accept no responsibility or liability should any costs indicated in the Through Life Cost Model change from those published. All residual values are based on an average of values achieved through Turners Auctions Limited sales for the previous 3 months from issue date.
Friday, 30 March 2012