This modern take on what is an old engineering principle uses the latest technology to produce a lively, hard working, engaging city car with sub-100gkm emissions to maximise its green credentials and minimise tax, insurance and running costs. There are ten models in the Mito range in four trim levels from just under £15,000 to a little over £20,200 with twin or four-cylinder petrol engines and manual or automatic transmission, as well as two diesels.
For me, it is the cheaper TwinAir versions which stand out, and not just because of their distinctive styling but also with their pop-pop engine note.
Yes, you have to really wind it up to briskly get going, but not everyone drives like that with eyes focused on the road more than the fuel gauge and surrounded by a loud engine note.
The real power of the Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir is its sophistication in a small package, from the eye-catching looks to its interior equipment including climate control, powered windows, cruise control, parking sensors and connectivity. A sunroof is one of the few options.
It really is a little bit of luxury.
The near 900cc engine starts immediately, pulls fairly well but you have to keep stirring it along through the six gears to keep up with traffic, thankfully the light short-travel clutch and positive change action make city driving a dawdle.
As you might expect, steering is light, possibly too light for some, but the turning circle is compact and the brakes slow it without too much pressure.
Secondary controls are very close to hand in the cosy cabin and all worked well including the heating and ventilation which filled the space with air and kept it at a desired temperature, although you could open the electric windows if desired.
Gauges were minimal and small but fairly clear with a lot of warning lights to back up essential functions.
Oddments room was on the tight side and compartments were small while the boot took about 270 litres, or a few shopping bags behind the sill.
Two doors mean you have to twist a bit to climb into the rear pair of seats and then legroom is in short supply as well as headroom, but the front two seats are roomier if lacking in a lot of adjustment. The cushions and squabs are comfortable.
Ride quality is reasonably good for a small city car as it soaks up bumps and only large ridges and holes make the suspension bang or crash. You can hear it working away but not feel all impacts.
There is some body roll on corners, particularly tight ones taken at speed you don’t want to lose, and the handling tends to make it run wide on bends until you lift off, but it’s all well controlled.
Journeys can be enjoyed rather than endured if you keep within the engine’s limits and ideally about 2,000rpm under-foot.
You will see a good fuel economy over 40mpg without too much trouble, but the indicated combined figure is somewhat fanciful. There is no denying the Mito TwinAir has a lot of charm with some shortcomings, but it stands out in the city-car sector.
|Alfa Romeo MiTo TB TwinAir||Price: £16,820|
|Mechanical: Twin-cyl 105bhp 875cc petrol, 6sp||Insurance group: 13|
|Max speed: 114mph||0-62mph: 11.4sec|
|Combined mpg: 67.2mpg (41mpg on test)||CO2 emissions: 99gkm|
|BIK rating: VED band A/ 12%||Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited|