Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback (2010 – ) first UK drive – Auto Trader UK

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

hatchback (2010 #8211; ) first UK drive

Wednesday 23 June 2010

The Giulietta badge has been featured on some of the prettiest cars Alfa Romeo has ever built. And the latest Alfa Romeo Giulietta continues the trend, it’s the best looking hatchback in its class.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has a fight on its hands. The five-door hatchback enters into one of the toughest markets dominated by some talented family favourites, such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf .

Each car in that particular class offers something different: the Focus is superb to drive, the Golf offers plenty of class, while the Honda Civic. Vauxhall Astra and Kia Ceed all provide a certain something too.

And the new Alfa Giulietta brings style to the party. It looks sensational, particularly in white and so much more than a larger Mito.

The front hints at the Giulietta of the 1950s, while the rear is pure 21st century excess #8211; particularly its brake lights when illuminated.

But in this class, ability is more important than style; and its apparent Alfa has worked hard to make the Giulietta a car capable of offering an ownership proposition at least equal to the best.

Step inside and it’s a far better space package than its predecessor, the Alfa 147. The boot measures 350 litres, which is slightly smaller than the Focus, but 16 per cent larger than the 147. It’s a similar story inside, where there’s much more room up front, and space in the rear is on par with its rivals.

Supercar-inspired interior

It scores well for interior aesthetics, with design among the best in class, and the quality of materials is vastly improved and not far short of its rivals from Germany. Toggle switches inspired by those in the Alfa 8C Competizione can’t fail to excite Alfisti. However, the speedometer is tricky to read, as is the red-on-red digital trip computer.

Drivers may need to work hard to get a comfortable driving position with pedals mounted too near the driver and a steering wheel that doesn’t move far enough. However, only at the end of our several hour test drive did any aches creep in.

The Alfa Giulietta is able to entertain on twisty roads, with involving steering and a communicative chassis. Like the Mito. the Giulietta features the Alfa DNA system, which tweaks the engine response, steering, braking and suspension depending on whether its Dynamic, Normal or All-weather modes are selected.

Dynamic mode offers the most driving thrills, although it proved a little jerky at low speeds, such is the sharp throttle response.

We tested the 170bhp 2-litre diesel and found it to be refined and punchy; and its 60.1mpg and 124g/km of CO2 will make it one of the favourites in the range. It offers an eight second 0-62mph time and a 135mph top speed. Alfa also offers a 105bhp 1.6-litre diesel which is noticeably slower but emits 114g/km and returns more than 64.2mpg.

Petrol options include a pair of 1.4 engines producing 120 and 170bhp and a 1.75-litre, 235bhp unit in the Giulietta Cloverleaf hot hatch. The 170bhp engine features Fiat and Alfa’s Multiair engine technology, and is smooth, refined and powerful.

Its not the most sonorous engine, with a constant whistle from the turbocharger, but it is flexible. Alfa claims CO2 emissions of 134g/km and an average of 48.7mpg.

The 120bhp 1.4 is both slower and less efficient than the 170bhp unit, but is more than £1,000 cheaper. The Cloverleaf is a genuine hot hatch with a conscience #8211; 6.8 seconds to 62mph, a 150mph top speed with emissions of 177g/km and a 37.2 average mpg figure.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta gallery:

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Safe and well-equipped

Alfa Romeo claims the Giulietta has the most comprehensive safety equipment level in its class, and has received a full five star rating in the EuroNCAP crash test programme.

The entry-level Turismo model has basic kit and buyers will need to choose the Lusso for alloy wheels, an alarm, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic wipers and headlights and dual zone climate control.

The sportier Veloce comes with 17-inch alloys, a body kit, part leather seats and sports suspension, while the Cloverleaf adds tinted glass, Cloverleaf badging, red brake calipers and 18-inch alloys.

Models start at £17,000 for the 1.4 120bhp Turismo, but it costs more than £1,000 to get into the far better equipped Lusso model, and £19,000 to park a diesel-engined Lusso on the driveway. It’s not cheap, but class and exclusivity comes at a price.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is quite possibly the most complete Alfa ever built. Combining the flair it has become famous for, with genuine everyday appeal, the Italian car maker at last has a car to rival the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf .

Key Facts:

Model tested: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDM-2 170bhp Veloce

On the road price: £22,295

Price range: £16,995 #8211; £24,495

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