Alfa Romeo MiTo (2014-2018)

Models Covered

3dr hatch (0.9, 1.4 petrol, 1.3, 1.6 diesel [Turismo, Lusso, Progressive, Distinctive, Veloce, Sportiva, Quadrifoglio Verde, Turismo Sport special edition)


The MiTo aimed to take everything Alfa Romeo knew about sports car dynamics and distil it into one head-turning premium supermini. Aimed at the MINI but offering greater practicality, value and high street wow factor, this Italian alternative was first launched in 2009, but we’d recommend that in buying a used one, you try and stretch to one of the much improved post-2014-era facelifted versions – which is what we’re going to look at here. These cars were much enhanced by smarter looks inside and out that built on an impressively frugal range of engines and a uniquely special feel. Can small cars from the 2014-2018 era that are small and efficient really also be desirable? Alfa reckons so.

The History

It took a long time for us to see a product that properly competed with BMW's MINI. That car proved that European drivers were prepared to pay quite a premium for something three-door and compact, provided it was stylish, sporty and had the right brand cachet. Step forward Alfa Romeo's MiTo, first announced in 2009 but thoroughly revised in late 2013 to create the car we’re going to look at here.

Thirty years ago, enthusiasts on real world budgets dreamed of a compact Italian hatchback packing all of Alfa's heritage and spirit into a four-metre length - and realised it with the iconic Alfasud. This MiTo always aimed to satisfy their kids in exactly the same way. If you’re wondering about the name, well it combines the first two letters of Milan (where Alfa Romeo was conceived) and Turin - or in Italian 'Torino' - (where the MiTo was made). More importantly though, this was the car that returned its brand to the supermini segment, a true successor not only to the Alfasud but also to the iconic Junior models of the Sixties.

But while those cars were Alfa-engineered through and through, this one was developed in more constrained times that required it to share the underpinnings and engineware of Fiat’s Punto. Fortunately for potential buyers, the two cars had a very different feel thanks to the development of MiTo-specific steering, seating, suspension and brakes. The Milanese maker claimed that the engines were tuned differently too and of course, there were this car’s unique looks. So far so good.

Early MiTo sales were certainly encouraging, especially after hi-tech Multijet II diesel and 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol units were installed beneath the bonnet from 2010 onwards. By 2013 though, things were tailing off as buyers at the premium end of the small car sector began to be tempted away by direct rivals like Audi’s A1 and the prospect of the third generation modern era MINI. Alfa urgently needed to rejuvenate this car. They did with this facelifted MiTo that sold until the car was discontinued in early 2019.

What You Get

Most cars have some kind of styling brand identity but with an Alfa, the whole design has a unique look that could belong to no other marque - and it’s one you’ll either love or hate. The front end ought to look a little awkward, the shield-shaped front grille with its serpent-eating-baby badge pushing the number plate awkwardly to its left. For us though, somehow it all just works, with rounded jewel-like front and rear lights perfectly setting off sleek, aerodynamic bodywork derived from 450bhp Alfa’s 8C Competizione supercar.

This facelifted post-2014-era MiTo remained a three-door-only shape and at first glance, little seemed to have changed in comparison to the car we were first presented with back in 2009. True Alfisti who care to peer a little closer though will notice the improvements visited upon this improved model: the small but subtle changes made to the chromed front grille, the titanium grey headlamp and tail lamp surrounds, the tinted rear windows and the sports rear bumper.

The same mantra of careful improvement was also applied to the cabin with its revised dashboard, smarter steering wheel, more supportive seats and upgraded plastics. On the back seat, space for heads and legs is restricted, but a couple of adults on shorter journeys can be reasonably comfortable and two children will be fine. Lift the rear hatch – the badge neatly doubles as a boot release - and you’ll find that this Alfa’s cargo bay is around 25% larger than the one you’d get in a MINI.

What To Look For

The MiTo has a reliability record that's at the lower end of acceptable. The engines tend to be solid and rustproofing is excellent. Issues reported by owners include speakers that frequently fail, chrome trims losing their lustre and front spoiler lips coming adrift. One owner reported a rear wiper that went off on its own when the ignition was switched on. In fact, there were a lot of reports of electrical faults in our survey, so make very sure that everything works on your test drive. Check all these things. And check for the usual alloy wheels scuffs and interior child damage. Insist on a full service history.

On The Road

So, to what an Alfa Romeo should be about – the driving experience. First impressions are good. You sit lower than you would in most rival premium superminis. All the units on offer are turbocharged, with a choice of three petrol options and two diesels in the revised post-2014 MiTo line-up. Let’s start with the diesels, 1.3 and 1.6-litre JTDm-2 units offering either 85 or 120bhp. We ideally wouldn’t choose a black pump-fuelled MiTo, but if cost or circumstance meant we had to have one, then we’d opt for the far more efficient 1.3-litre unit. But don’t go the diesel route before checking out what petrol-engined MiTo models have to offer. We’d recommend the version that’s arguably the cleverest in the range, the entry level two-cylinder 0.9-litre TwinAir variant, which in this improved line-up got a 20bhp shot in the arm to take its output to 105bhp – enough to properly compete with its arch-rival, the MINI One.

If having to rev the thing hard for decent forward motion isn’t for you, then you’re likely to be much happier opting for the petrol alternative to TwinAir MiTo motoring - namely a variant with the Fiat group’s clever 1.4-litre MultiAir engine, offered with either 135 or 170hp, the latter featuring in the Quadrifoglio Verse hot hatch variant.


Yes, this car is far from perfect, but models from this Milanese maker never were perfect. You could see how someone looking at an up-market Fiesta or Corsa but seeking something just as efficient with a dash of extra pizzazz could be really taken with one. Something with a bit of heart. Something with a bit of style. Something with a bit of latin spirit. The Alfa legend lives on.