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I am now the owner of a new ex-demo MiTo (6800 miles, 2011, 135bhp 1.4 turbo multiair, TCT transmission). Had it since last Thursday.

One week isn't enough time to get to know a car, so I'd like some advice from a more experienced owner on how the thing handles on the limit. So far the best way I can describe the handling is that it feels "funny" and "prone to surprise you/inconsistent".

My previous car was a 2004 Ford Fusion (identical to the mk6 Fiesta, just different body). It had hydraulic power steering and no driver assists whatsoever. So basically I learnt the grip limit and the steering feel, and I could consistently drive around a roundabout with the tyres making a small constant squeal and a tiny bit of understeer.

With the MiTo, it feels like the grip limit is lower than the Ford's. I say "feels" because the MiTo has a deceptively smooth ride, so perhaps what felt like 80km/h in the Ford is more like 100km/h in the MiTo. Do you find it hard to gauge the grip limit in the mito?

To try and get to terms with the mito's handling, I took it to a disused 20m diameter roundabout and drove progressively faster and faster to see what happens - at the initial slow speeds the car tracks the steering wheel's input. At higher speeds the car tended to understeer more and more, as expected. By the end of it I was going at a speed where the steering wheel was at full lock and I controlled the car's direction solely with the throttle. The feeling I got was that the electronic wizardry (torque vectoring) artificially raises the grip limit by giving you an initial "pull" into the direction of the turn, but once you exceed the grip limit, control is lost abruptly and with little warning through the steering wheel and tyres. I tried in all 3 modes (D/N/A). The difference I noticed between dynamic and normal was that the tyres would only squeal in normal (in dynamic the understeer happened with no tyre noise), and although the steering was harder in dynamic, I can't remember actually getting more "feedback" from the tyres. All-weather mode didn't make much of a difference to the handling at all (just made the steering softer during the skidding).

This was all done on a poor tarmac surface (the shiny, glassy kind) and with the stock Conti PremiumContact 2 tyres (cold pressure: front 2.4 bar, rear 2.1 bar).
 

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I find the mito gets quite upset on broken roads and low speed. The car comes into its own at higher speeds on long sweeping bends etc it almost settles into a rhythm and the steering is meaty and direct. Over time you learn the cars foibles and you learn to blame the roads more than the actual car as most of our road anyway are close to being farm tracks, although i would say the rear suspension is far to hard and over rough surfaces it jumps and and doesn't inspire confidence. As for the DNA switch i let the car warm up and put it into D but if im right in saying it partially laxes the traction control allowing a bit of slip but this goes a little wrong when you swerve hard to avoid (say a pheasant like i did once) and you can nearly spin the car. Normal mode i find a little blunt and lethargic and all weather is great for snow as the traction control is on its highest alert. I have Pirelli P Zero Neros at 2.3 and 2.1.
 
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