PH Carpool: Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf


Name: Marc Harvey
Car: Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf
Owned since: April 2010
Previously owned: uninteresting commuting white goods

Marc with his P'n' J
Marc with his P'n' J
Why I bought it:
I went to test drive the Mito when it first came out, and came away pretty disappointed with the first-generation 155hp turbo. A couple of years later, partly to put my mind at ease and mainly out of spite after the local VW dealer told me that my custom wasn't of any interest, I went to try the Cloverleaf when it came out.

The things I'd disliked on the 155 - sloppy gearbox and unresolved ride - had been sorted. I also remember putting my foot down in third and going from 40 to illegal reasonably quickly, and thinking that this was quite exciting. The turbo also made a pleasing noise on the overrun through the open window.

Marc embraces the foibles of this badge
Marc embraces the foibles of this badge
What I wish I'd known:
Not to buy a red one. The 'Alfa Red' paintwork chips with dangerous ease, and Alfa Romeo's customer service department is unwilling to do anything about it. In retrospect I should also have listened to my father when he said it'd depreciate like a stone sinking in water.

Things I love:
The usual Alfa Romeo foibles: the petrol gauge which reads 'benzina', the magnificent little Multiair engine, the asymmetrical 'startled owl' looks, the precise gearbox, the fact that there was a large piece of loose trim in the driver's footwell when I collected it (new) despite the PDI stamp in the service book...

Mito picked after run-in with snooty VW dealer
Mito picked after run-in with snooty VW dealer
Things I hate:
The usual Alfa Romeo foibles: recalls for over-heating plastic-melting headlamps, brittle switchgear, a couple of rattles, the occasional exposed screw-head, my ongoing battle to have the front resprayed, the Stop-Start system which occasionally does one, the other or neither, but rarely both. The DNA system which, when you start the car, reverts to 'normal' mode where the steering is soft and unpleasant, the damping seems to over-bounce (if that makes sense) and the throttle response makes it feel like the turbo fell out.

Oh, and the driving position would benefit from the steering wheel going lower, and the stereo is crap.

Interior not the best quality
Interior not the best quality
Costs:
Tyres and servicing, and a reasonable amount of unleaded. It will apparently do 40mpg, though I've not noticed. The tracking is easily knocked out of alignment, too.

Where I've been:
I don't drive to work, so the Mito only gets used for pleasant duties. It's also been going to south and central France about four times a year where it sits happily on the motorway at a rapid lick, and it seems ideally suited to the routes nationales where its decent overtaking ability and an awake passenger are all you need to make exciting progress.

It also enjoys the occasional early-morning trip to the quieter corners of the Peak District. I've avoided track days with it as I don't own shares in Michelin.

What next:
I've heard that cheeky 200hp upgrades are available, mind you, so are Giulietta Cloverleafs...


Want to share your car with PHers on Carpool? Email us at carpool@pistonheads.com!

Like a cornering shot, only stationary
Like a cornering shot, only stationary
Mito hides behind a conifer...
Mito hides behind a conifer...
   

 

Comments (57) Join the discussion on the forum

  • LuS1fer 27 Jul 2012

    Ftumpch said:
    I've always wondered why Alfas sell so poorly when on paper they're the most appealing cars on the market
    That must have passed me by. How so?

  • Colonial 27 Jul 2012

    DeltaEvo2 said:
    pauloroberto said:
    Sorry, I couldn't buy a car with a clover leaf on it.
    Because?
    Deep seated hatred of the Irish?

    Fear of bees?

    Idiocy?

  • Ftumpch 27 Jul 2012

    DeltaEvo2 said:
    pauloroberto said:
    Sorry, I couldn't buy a car with a clover leaf on it.
    Because?
    Yes do tell. A fig leaf I could understand, but...

  • Ftumpch 27 Jul 2012

    I've always wondered why Alfas sell so poorly when on paper they're the most appealing cars on the market - but this write-up answers that pretty comprehensively.

    It seems to me the days of putting up with foibles like this are seriously numbered. It's fine for a car without engine management, driver aids, or integrated bumpers etc and that you can fix yourself on the weekends, but for something as complex as this, jeeez I'd hate to own one out of warranty.

    Still, thank goodness for committed enthusiasts like this owner. Otherwise there's be nothing to look at while driving the company car!-/

  • Mutts 25 Jul 2012

    Love my MiTo. Its the 135MA with Alfa's Dual clutch gearbox.
    Done about 12,000 miles in it. DNA switch is great for round town, leave it in N for town, then D for open roads. TCT gearbox is fun with the paddle shifters on the wheel.
    The Blue&Me will read out txts from my phone plus i can "shout at her" to do things like play music, make a phone call.
    Downsides, im going to need a new set of front tyres soon. 13,500 miles and the wear limit is approaching. The boot isnt big enough to get my compound box case in. Averaging 40mpg over the time ive had it.

    Still get people eyeing it up, the looks may be "marmite" but i like it.

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