MITO delivers high in class

"IT costs what?" blurted a friend, when I told him the new Alfa Romeo MiTo 1,4 Quadrofoglio Verde costs a healthy R264000.

"IT costs what?" blurted a friend, when I told him the new Alfa Romeo MiTo 1,4 Quadrofoglio Verde costs a healthy R264000.

His reasoning is that you shouldn't pay so much money for a car that has a 1.4 litre engine.

The problem is, this same friend sees no difference between a glass of white wine from a "no-name" five-litre cask that works out to R1,37 a glass compared with, say a Sauvignon Blanc that usually sells for about R18 a glass in a reasonable restaurant.

The point I'm trying to make is, for my friend it is a waste of money to spend so much on a glass of wine when all you do is throw it back and get sloshed anyway.

He carries that reasoning over to cars ... why pay R264000 for a 1.4 litre engine when you can get a similar sized engine in a reasonably good car for under R100000.

But the MiTo has an engine that combines the latest in motoring technology, wrapped up in a car that delivers high in class and refinement.

The MiTo was first launched locally last year, but what Alfa Romeo have done is extend their range with another two more models.

The original 114kW 1,4 TBI remains but is now backed up by the 100kW entry-level Progression while the big brother 125kW Quadrofoglio Verde rules the roost.

A new innovation, and one the manufacturers are punting big time, is the Multi-Air capabilities of the engine.

It's quite a technical aspect to the car, but in simple English it helps to reduce emissions and increase power output.

Another feature that carries over to the new models is Alfa's "DNA system", that is a three-mode electronic system which communicates with the engine, brakes, steering, suspension and transmission, allowing the driver to adjust the responses of the car to suit driving styles and road conditions.

Other new innovations to be used by Alfa for the first time in its vehicles is the stop-start technology. How does it work?

Well the electronic system switches off the engine whenever the vehicle is stationary and idling in neutral, then restarts it automatically when the clutch is depressed.

Gear Shift Indicator is also new and indicates to the driver - via the instrumentation panel - when it is best to change gear and again, hopefully, improving performance and engine efficiency.

Is the Mito expensive? Some may argue it is. For me it's like that glass of wine ... you pay for what you get.