Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer, looks at buying a used example of Alfa Romeo’s bold, sporty supermini, the MiTo.

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Engines – In recent years Alfa Romeo hasn’t just been busy with its new cars – it’s also been beavering away creating a new family of engines. Downsizing is all the rage, and the MiTo is blessed with a good range of small capacity 1.4-litre normally-aspirated and turbo charged 1.4-litre petrol engines and 1.3 and 1.6-litre diesels. Low CO2 and fuel consumption figures dominate, which should please those seeking to pay less tax.

Exterior – A bold departure for Alfa Romeo, the pint-size MiTo’s radical exterior has polarised opinion. However, in typically Italian style the car’s looks are dramatic and certainly provoke enthusiastic discussions among its defenders. After all, Alfa Romeo doesn’t ‘do’ bland cars.

Interior – It’s a familiar experience inside the MiTo, as the usual Alfa trademarks are present – lots of dark-textured plastics, cowled instruments, elaborately-contoured seats and a sculpted fascia. There’s not a huge amount of space in the back, but that’s typical of Alfa’s bold form-over-function philosophy.

Driving – Much work has been done, according to Alfa’s engineers, to make the MiTo fun to drive. Its compact footprint helps, and there’s no question that it’s an agile car that’s not adverse to being hustled on a twisty B-road. The MiTo’s range of willing and responsive engines – petrol and diesel – do much to help its cause.

Ownership – The MiTo isn’t a big car, which makes it ideal for urban driving duties. Parking is also straightforward, although the trade-off with its size is that backseat passengers will always feel compromised. On the performance front there’s little to worry about – the engines offer a good balance of power and economy and it’s a fun car to chuck about when the mood takes you.

What to look for – Being a relatively new car there’s shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Buying something with a portion of its warranty remaining is always a good idea, but also check that the various service inspections have already been carried out – neglect at an early age could spell disaster later in life. Also look out for parking dents and kerbed wheels, and any evidence should have you walking away.

Model history – 2009, Alfa Romeo launched an all-new compact hatch, the MiTo. Supported by a modest range of small-capacity engines offering improved power and economy over their predecessors, equipment levels are generous and there’s a choice of comfort or sports orientated trim levels.

Reasons to buy – Bold looks, brand image, typical Alfa Romeo flair, well equipped.

Reasons to beware – Polarising looks, compact cabin dimensions.

Pick of the range – MiTo 1.4 TB Lusso 120bhp.

What to pay – 2008 08 £8,975; 2009 09 £10,050; 2009 59 £10,500; 2010 10 £11,300; 2011 11 £12,625. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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