Car: Alfa Romeo Mito Quadrifoglio Verde
Owned since: July 2016
Previously owned: Renault Twingo 1.2
"I won it on BOTB.... only joking of course. I wanted something that would be good on a back road, reasonable to run and insure and still be comfortable to drive on the daily grind. I test drove a number of the Mito's competitors including a Skoda Fabia vRS, Ford Fiesta ST and Clio RS 200, however none of them drove or sounded nearly as nice (in my opinion). Moreover the Mito still has that Italian design and charm about it that the others just don't have. The interior is of a much higher quality than the rivals also, if you ignore the rather average UConnect system that is. Oh, and the adage about not being a proper petrolhead until you've owned an Alfa might have swung it for me."
What I wish I'd known:
"That the DNA system allows you to reduce traction control but not turn it all the way off, which is a little disappointing. Granted it does let it slip and spin a lot before it intervenes, and on the road you'll never really have a problem with it, but if you plan to do track day (as I do) then this is something you might want to think about."
Things I love:
"I love the way it drives and can fire round a corner, I love how comfortable it is with the TCT gearbox in traffic, I love the pops and cracks it does on up shifts and how quickly it revs to the redline. I love how it can put so much personality and drama into a quick blast, I love the noise of the engine (it sounds so much better than you'd think) and I love how quickly it can get to 60 from the line - it's the closest thing you can get to an Italian supercar in a hatchback. Well, I think so. All these things make it a very exciting car to drive and it puts a huge grin on my face when I look out the window and see it on the drive."
"While modern Alfas aren't nearly as unreliable as previous models, this does not mean new Alfas are without fault - here goes...
"When you wash the car or have it sitting in the rain for a while the rear brakes have a tendency to become so stuck that when I try and reverse of my drive it will jerk the car to the point of it killing the engine; as I'm sure you can imagine when it first did this it unnerved me quite a lot! There is a work around however: build the revs to 1,200-1,500 rpm and leave the drive at some pace, which solves it.
"The key sometimes won't unlock the car from time to time; you can be within breathing distance of the driver's window and the car will remain locked for some time.
"In Natural mode the steering is way, way, way too light on a fast road; it's OK around town, but if you're just cruising on a back road the steering feels really overassisted and indirect. Dynamic mode fixes this but it something to note.
"The car features daytime running lights in the form of two yellow bulbs above the main headlight, which can be deactivated. When the headlights are off all is well, however turn them on and the driver's side DRL turns off and gives a warning light! I'm really not sure why this happens.
"The interior fan intake vents are not fine enough to stop leaves getting in and clearing them out of the bonnet when you clean the car is not enough - leaves can still get in and stop the interior fan from producing any air; this means that no heat enters the cabin and in winter this is more than annoying. Moreover when the fan contains leaves it makes an unholy amount of noise. My car is under warranty (not worth the paper it's written on) so I took it to my Alfa garage who did fix it by clearing the leaves but they will charge you for it. I don't know about you but if a part doesn't function - like the fan not blowing air - it should be covered under warranty, but I digress. Just something for the hopeful Mito owner to look out for. I do still love the car but it does like to test me!"
"The car is much cheaper to insure than its rivals; at 18 with one year's no claims and with 12,000 annual mileage (and no black box), it costs the same as my Twingo did at 17. Parts are relatively easy to find, I'd stay away from the dealer network though as you'll leave very empty handed. As for running costs, it isn't very good on fuel, though given so many car companies appear to lie about mpg that shouldn't really come as a surprise.
My commute consists of 50 per cent average speed camera'd A-roads and 50 per cent city start-stop traffic and I get 30-40mpg, not the claimed 52. A full tank at current fuel prices is around £45-£55 and gets approximately 320 miles, which is more than I initially expected to pay but you come to terms with these things. Tyres are around £120 each for Pirelli P Zero Neros."
"So far I've been to MITCAR and the NEC Classic Car show but much more is planned including European road trips, track days and more events of course! I was on the list to come to the PistonHeads Sunday Service at Goodwood but sadly something else came up and I couldn't attend."
"I plan to own the car for another 18 months and replace around my 20th birthday with something rear-wheel drive, but I guess we'll see where time takes us."
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