By Nick Jones
Things at Alfa Romeo are rather rosy.
The Mito is a great car and selling well and the new Giulietta is doing rather nicely too for the Italian car giant.
Whenever petrolheads think of Alfa’s they think of passion, flair, design and charisma. What never featured in the same thought as historic Alfas was reliability.
But times change and nowadays the previously maligned marque will compete with the very best in terms of longevity and breakdown-free motoring.
In fact, that has been the case for quite some time now. It was ten year’s ago that Alfa won Car of the Year with the 147 and there can be no doubt that the firm would love to regain that mantle back with this latest good-looker.
The Giulietta looks great, don’t you think?
It certainly has the stance, the pomp and the proportions to give it a good start in life.
The fact that it is really a five-door hatchback is cleverly disguised by the fact that the rear door handles are hidden in the C-pillars.
I’m going to break with tradition now and begin my perspective of the car’s looks by coming in rump first, if you’ll forgive the phrase.
To my eye, the rear end is typically Italian, a genuine triumph of style over substance – something Italian’s are renown for – that has lines running up to the narrow glass space and huge red rear lights that push into a neat tailgate. Nice.
Down the sides we have a wonderful shoulder-line that pulls the design together with neat and somewhat traditional Alfa multi-spoke alloy wheels.
At the front it’s a larger version of the Mito really, with distinctive teardrop headlights, all the intakes cut low down to the ground for that aggressive stance and the famous ‘heart’ grille sitting proudly central to all the goings-on.
As with most Alfas nowadays, it comes with a heap of engines to entice. Here are my highlights, starting with a 120bhp 1.4-litre unit, plus a similar MultiAir version with a turbo that pushes out a healthy 170bhp.
If you want more power from your petrol then a 235bhp unit is available, capable of propelling the Giulietta to 150+mph, with 0-60mph taking just 6.8 seconds.
On the diesel front, a 105bhp 1.6-litre can be had, with a more powerful and somewhat pleasant 2.0-litre should you wish. Both units use the same JTD second-generation common-rail injection configuration and while they may not be as loud and rustic as the petrol variants, neither energy nor frugality will be in short supply.
A six-speed manual is standard but there is an automatic available with the higher-powered units.
I also particularly liked the DNA selector. It stands for Dynamic, Normal or All-weather and allows the driver to select a car set up that suits either prevailing road conditions or their mood. Very clever.
Alfa has given the Giulietta a plush interior, with the highlight being the controls in tiers neatly arranged on a sweeping dash with a traditional cowl over the speedo and rev counters.
Three trim levels are available, plus you can add a Sport or Premium pack to each if you so wish.
Stop and Start technology is used on the Giulietta to enhance fuel economy and the boast is that 60mpg is achievable from the 1.6-litre petrol model and 50mpg can be had from the 2.0-litre.
The 1.4-litre petrol MultiAir achieves 50mpg and has emissions of just 134g/km.
With the Giulietta, things are going to get better for Alfa Romeo – it’s a cracking car and with prices starting at just £16,995 (rising to £24,495) you most certainly wouldn’t get tired of driving it or just looking at it on a morning or evening.