Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Exterior design
- Mix of performance and economy
- Premium badge
- Not the most comfortable
- Entry-level models lack the best tech
- Interior could be more spacious
What's the Alfa Romeo Giulietta like?
If you’re looking for a more individual and sporting family hatch – something that stands out in the car park - the Alfa Romeo Giulietta could be just the ticket.
With its ‘hidden’ rear door handles, it looks like a coupé from some angles, and whichever engine you choose, the performance is good to superb.
After 2014, it comes with Alfa’s electronic DNA system, which can be used to modify your driving experience at the turn of a switch.
Unlike other such systems – often from the makers of far more expensive cars – this really makes a noticeable difference.
It uses the engine’s management computer to change the character of the sleek 5-door, and in Dynamic mode, improves response from both the engine and the steering, giving a much more enjoyable and responsive drive.
Having said that, it’s not slow when in Normal mode, and the third All Weather setting reduces power and/or torque to give more traction in snow and ice.
Economy is more important than out-and-out performance to many people these days, so the diesels have outsold the petrols in large numbers, even if they're a little more noisy and a lot less smooth.
Fairly stiff suspension gives flat cornering with very good grip and tremendous roadholding in all, but the overall road feel when pressed falls a little short of the best, like the VW Golf. However, the Golf is much more expensive year for year.
Comfort is not very good on anything but the smoothest of surfaces. It feels knobbly and unsettled over many roads, both in town and out in the country.
There are two petrol engines with four power outputs. The smallest 1.4-litre is turbocharged to give either 120bhp, 150bhp or a stonking 170bhp, and the range topping Cloverleaf gets a 1.75-litre unit with no less than 231bhp.
This last brings superb performance, with 0 to 60mph taking just 6.6 seconds, but the 120bhp 1.4-litre is still reasonably quick, taking a decent 9.1 seconds, and it can average 45mpg.
There are five diesel options - a 1.6-litre with 105bhp or later 120bhp and a 2.0-litre with either 140bhp, 150bhp or 170bhp.
All have good to excellent performance, with the 120bhp 1.6-litre taking a decent 9.7 seconds to 60mph and the 150bhp model's 8.5 seconds.
But of course, they're the economy cars in the range, managing between 60mpg and 74mpg average.
The rear door handles, like those in the latest Honda Civic, are hidden to make it look like a coupé, and it really works, giving a sleek and very pretty shape.
Equipment is a little lacking in base models, and there's a raft of special editions. So it’s worth checking if the one you want has all the kit you aspire to.
Mid-range Lusso brings climate, traction control, parking sensors, cruise, audio remote, alloys, heated mirrors, an alarm, and hill start assist.
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The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a 5-door hatchback that offers a decent driving experience as well as good economy across the range. With coupé-like styling, the Giulietta makes for a beautiful car to look at, allowing you to stand out from those around you while out and about.
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