Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Aggregated reviews, user reviews, videos, photos and stats
- Good looks
- Some very fast engines
- No experts truly love it
- Cramped back seats
- Limited rear visibility
The Giulietta reviews are mainly positive, it's another stylish hatchback from Alfa Romeo. Quite a few testers are impressed with the Giuletta, with one tester declaring it to be ‘the best Alfa for 25 years’. However, despite its obvious merits and plus-points, there are a few areas where it’s not quite up to there with the best in the class.
Much like its exterior, the design of the Giulietta’s cabin is equally as stylish, with a dashboard that resembles those on classic sports cars. However, it’s not all just for show, as it’s all screwed together well with good quality materials, though critics say there are some cheap plastics here and there.
The boot space is also an area where the Alfa excels, as it’s now a similar size to the VW Golf’s, despite the swoopy roofline. However, there isn’t a huge amount of space for passengers in the rear and a few testers didn’t like how the cramped footwell meant that there was nowhere to put your left foot. The restricted rear visibility was also a problem that was regularly reported on.
The Alfa Romeo engineers benchmarked the Giulietta against the Audi A3 and VW Golf, so it’s no surprise that the critics reckon it has quite a grown-up and mature feel to it. Compared to its predecessors, the Giulietta is considerably more competent in a wide range of road conditions, with impressive ride quality (even on the sportier Veloce and Cloverleaf models), decent handling and fairly good refinement, though there were some critics who thought the diesel models were a bit noisy.
There were a few other problems that the testers had with the Giulietta, especially regarding its handling characteristics. Many thought it was a fun car to drive, but wasn’t quite as engaging as its arch rivals from Volkswagen and Ford. On a more subjective note, some testers even thought that the more mature characteristics of the Giulietta robbed it of some of the ‘sparkle’ that you associate with an Alfa.
There were quite a few complaints regarding the ‘DNA’ switch, which alters the throttle and steering response. In ‘Dynamic’ mode, testers weren’t that fond of the heavier steering that comes with it. That problem is rectified in the other two settings – ‘Normal’ and ‘All-Weather’ – but means the throttle isn’t quite as sharp as it is in the sporty setting. Basically, there doesn’t appear to be a good compromise between the different modes.
There are a wide range of petrol and diesel engines on offer, and they all seem to get good reviews. The diesels have decent performance and are low to tax, but some critics thought they were a bit noisy and many found it difficult to match the claimed fuel economy figures, especially in the 140hp model. The petrols are also fairly impressive, with the new MultiAir engines offering very good power and performance alongside very commendable fuel economy.
However, the petrol units do have their downsides. The least powerful is slower and more expensive to run than the similarly sized MultiAir engine, and quite a few weren’t that awestruck over the meaty motor in the Cloverleaf model. Overall, the one the testers were most satisfied with was the 1.4 TB engine, as it offers a nice blend of performance and efficiency.
Value for money
The Giulietta is one of the more expensive cars in its class, but it is competitively priced when compared with its premium rivals. It also comes with a good amount of equipment – all models get climate control, an electronic differential and, apart from the Cloverleaf model, stop/start as standard.
It’s also quite cheap to run, and the low tax for the diesel models makes them good fleet cars. However, the Giulietta isn’t expected to hold its value that well, there are worries as to how fast the Giulietta will depreciate compared to more mainstream rivals.
The automatic gearbox for this car, the ‘TCT’, went down fairly well with the critics. It shifts smoothly, is easy and intuitive to use and, according to the official figures, improves fuel economy. However, it’s not available on all the cars in the range, and it is quite a pricy optional extra (around £1,350) so only choose it if you think it’s worth the financial outlay.
The general view is that the Giulietta is a very good all-round car. When compared with its predecessor, the 147, there’s more space, it’s more refined and the Giulietta is generally better to drive. The claims of it being the best Alfa in over twenty years are certainly valid!
However, there are some niggles that spoil the package somewhat – rear practicality and visibility is compromised slightly, it’s not quite as fun to drive as its rivals and the diesels are fairly noisy. They’re not deal breakers, but the shortcomings are highlighted when you compare the Alfa to its less compromised competitors.
Overall, the Giulietta is a stylish and very desirable family hatchback that does quite a few things very well indeed. It’s not quite as complete or as well-judged as its main rivals, but the Alfa’s character and charm certainly do give the Giulietta a distinct USP.
- Price range:
- £17,765 - £26,660
- 37 - 64
- Safety rating (NCAP):
- Date released:
- Replacement due:
- Not for a long time
- Model history:
- The TCT auto-gearbox was available as an option from Nov-11. The Sportiva trim was added for the 2013 model year cars.
- Engine to go for:
- The 1.4 TB gets the best reviews, the experts all agree it's a nice engine that's both fun and sensible!
- Engine to avoid:
- The 2.0 JTDM 140. The reviews couldn't match the claimed fuel economy.
- Options to go for:
- The double-sunroof option make the cabin nice and light
- Engine naming:
- JTDM engines are diesel, TB and TBi are petrol
|1.4 TB MultiAir||15||7.8|
|1750 TBi Cloverleaf||12||7.2|
|2.0 JTDM 140||2||8.0|
|2.0 JTDM 170||6||7.8|
Alfa Romeo Giulietta User Reviews
Well being my first Alfa romeo, i will be honest, i came into the purchase a little skeptical. Especially with AR reputation etc etc. But having read very positive reviews for the Guilietta i decided to indulge in one of my “forever desired” automobiles of the road. Yes ive always liked the styling of alfa across the range especially the 159s and brera. Having had a VW scirocco before, i sort of went for the design , characteristic and soul of the car over actually reliability and such like.
Im glad to say i dont regret my purchase at all, yes ive had a few minor problems, but having a great dealership (alfa have truly upped their game here) they have been dealt with swiftly and promptly. My dealer was lipscomb of kent, and although its a drive from where i live, the purchase deal and service i got from them is worth it.
First of all, forget the critics constant moans about the lack of a foot rest, its seriously not needed, as the driving position in so comfortable, placing your foot on the mat becomes second nature. Also along with a very stylistic designed interior, the cockpit is a very comfortable and pleasing place to be. My only grudge, if any, is i wish the cloverleaf had more bolstering seats, but thats only really relevant at high speed cornering! All controls are nicely placed and look great, the dials are my favorite part of the interior with their own little character too. Build quality and material i dont think are up to german standards as of yet, but my car is quite and well held together, but with its looks its easy to compensate minor issues.
Now the best bit, and the reason i bought the Cloverleaf spec…
The power of the Cloverleaf….. wow, i mean for a 1.7 its shoves out 235bhp, it shifts,!!!! When u punch in its Dynamic mode u feel it, and your thinking handling through those front wheels must be poor. Nah the Guilietta digs and hugs those corners very nicely, it really is a great car. When in Normal mode it is a friendly family hatch, change to Dynamic and you have a very fast and versatile sports hatch, it sure can show up an audi or bmw or two lol As well as that power there is actually a reasonable return in mpg. Ive managed up to 36 on a long drive and even 32 on my daily commute. But it will drop if your heavy footed especially in D mode.
What can i say the looks of this car is just one of the best on the road, if you disagree (and ive yet to meet a single person to disagree) your blind! Im still looking back at my car when i walk away, thats it…. its that gorgeous.
Well what can i say what a car, what a fast, awesome looking comfortable car!!
Get one! the car is great across the range, go on i dare you, you wont regret it.
This review dedicated to the members of Alfaowners.com, and their help they have given me over my ownership…
- By danqv, who owns this car
I own a Giulietta 2.0JTDm (170) Veloce and have done so for about a year now. Starting with the engine, it’s a diesel and you can tell that when you start it up, but once on the move unless you listen hard you don’t really notice. It has start/stop technology and you won’t notice it stop, but you will notice it restart. It pulls really well from low revs and performance doesn’t suffer significantly when laden. It has Alfas DNA and if you put it into D (Dynamic) this improves throttle response. This is a little sudden though at small throttle openings. I find mine incredibly economical, averaging 35mpg on 5mile journeys. I have never owned a car previously that has been this economical over such short journeys. On the motorway it is a relaxed cruiser with the ability to accelerate quickly. Economy here is between 50 and 60mpg It is also deceptively quick.
The handling is sure footed and seems to be less affected by crosswinds than other cars. It feels safe and secure and can be driven with confidence as the chassis and steering work well together to inform you of what is going on.
Giuliettas are very comfortable cars, the seats being supportive and the chassis supple enough to ensure that the road below is well insulated from your body yet communicative enough to let you know that you’re on the move. Big wheels and shallow tyres mean the road below makes itself heard, but it’s more of background noise rather than a deafening bellow.
Inside there is ample space for five adults in comfort, I’m about six foot and find a comfortable driving position easily, with adjustable steering wheel (rake and reach) and the front seats move fore/aft, up/down and the seat back reclines. The half leather interior is lovely to look at and sit in and the dashboard is a stylish mix of quality metal and plastics. It’s a very nice place to be. The in car entertainment system is strong, with USB connectivity and built in bluetooth/handsfree integrated into the controls. It works well. There’s seat back pockets, door pockets, a huge glove box and an arm rest cubby hole to store your bits and bobs in. The boot is a good size too, coping with four suitcases easily on our family holiday. The rear seat backs fold forward to make the rear space more useable, and here I am a tad disappointed in that the seat base does not flip forward enabling the load floor to be level. Still, can’t be perfect!
To date I have not had any components fail and it feels a solid, safe place to be. Outside the car is just stunning: the paint finish is good, shut lines consistently tight and the doors shut with a reassuring thud. This is one area where the Giulietta seems far removed from Alfa’s of old. I previously owned an A3 and compared to the Giulietta that did not feel any better built or have better quality components.
The Giulietta is a very attractive car, it turns heads and people will start talking to you about your car if you have one. I suppose the big question is ‘Would you buy another Giulietta?’ and the answer most definitely is yes.
- By AJ170, who owns this car
Be careful about what the brochure says about miles per gallon. I am only getting 33mpg at the moment, and I don't drive fast. My Alfa salesman says this will improve as the car does more miles, but I'm not convinced.
I'm into my cars and have always wanted an Alfa, but didn't want it to breakdown all the time. Mine hasn't had any problems of that sort yet.
The Giulietta gets a lot of attention, my mates all like it a lot. The LED lights on the front really help make it stand out. The interior is smart and leather feels top quality.
The Multiair engine is powerful and growls nicely when you floor it. Cornering is good and it sticks to the road better than any other car I've been in. If the mpg increases then I'd be happy to tell anyone to buy it...
- By David Jackson, who owns this car
Had one for a few months now and am very happy with it. Looks far better than any other hatchback gets a lot of attention. Interior isn’t as nice as outside but nothing to complain about apart from the seats which I don’t find too comfortable. Standard radio is ok never struggles to get reception and sound is nice and crisp.
Engine I went for is the 2.0 diesel which is a bit loud when it’s started on a cold morning but otherwise it doesn’t sound too diesely. Suspension and handling are good but not great. Owned a Leon before this which was not as quick but more fun to drive.
Overall quite happy but not over the moon.
- By JonB, who owns this car
I have a 2011 61 Veloce
Positives Its really quick The DNA is fun it has a nice metal interior I cant knock the local alpha dealer for service The aircon is responsive and it demists quickly
The seats are quite uncomforatble - if you are going to be spending alot of time in your car, rethink this as a choice The start/stop is temperamental The connection to your iphone from the glovebox is temperamental and not the best design
- By Lisa, who owns this car
The Giulietta is a genuine attempt by Alfa to make a car that appeals to the masses rather than the traditional Alfa buyer.
In doing this the Fiat group have finally succeeded in turning the latest Alfa into just another nice looking FIAT (But thank god its not another re-badged american monstrosity like its Lancia brethren!)
The designers have done their level best to come up with a 4 door hatch that can accommodate a family that looks great and drives very well.
Unfortunately there are several areas where corners have been cut and there is obvious cost saving, or pure laziness from the Italians to produce a car for the UK market without a usable footrest or hand brake lever on the correct side for the driver. The turbine alloy wheels are prone to corrosion, without even going near a curb, the front seats are poorly made and have a very cheap feel, and offer very little in the way of support when driving the car in a sporty manner. Ours were susceptible to creaking which was fixed with a couple of cheap cable ties. For a premium marque this is unacceptable.
The official MPG figures are a complete lie when it comes to real world use and should not be used when making a decision to buy or not to buy.
With the 170 MA you will be lucky to get 34mpg in normal driving and the 170 MA also suffers from massive turbo lag when not in dynamic. In dynamic mode expect a further 2mpg reduction but the extra boost does help to overcome the overly tall gearing. ( A closer ratio box would have gone a long way to make this a much more sporty drive)
If you are used to the bland and boring world of Opel, Vauxhall, Ford or VW you will love the Giulietta. If you crave the excitement of a traditional hot Italian thoroughbred I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed….but its the best Alfa have to offer for now…
The 1750 engine in the cloverleaf just turns it into a fast fiat, just in case you were wondering…
- By Nero, who owns this car
I have done just over 10 000 miles on my Veloce spec Gullietta. The car has really restored my faith back in the brand. Built quality is solid, no rattles whatsoever. Seats are a bit firm but the leather/microfibre layout looks good and like the dashboard are well made and put together. Mine has the TCT or twin clutch gearbox which allows for auto-comfort when driving in town and snap changes in Dynamic or “sport” mode. Which I do often. The TCT also works well with the start-stop function and is almost unobtrusive. Average consumption over the last 3 000 miles has been 37 and you can see 44 if you stay calm, which is not bad for a car that will give 7.8sec to 60. The turbo can be a little laggy but no more than other turbos I have driven
The only negative aspect would be the small footwell in RHD models, and It can get a bit cramped in the rear for adults but as my kids are small Im not too bothered.
Pros Engine and gearbox Handling Reasonable fuel consumption Looks
Cons Rear interior space Cramped drivers footwell
- By Doberonekenobi, who owns this car
The Giulietta want appeal to traditional Alfa buyers, Thank God. Because this one works. At last Alfa have made a car for the masses and not for the old Alfisti who still live in the steam age who judge cars by how load the exhaust is or how many headlights it has and say it hast
nt that Alfa feel and constantly rant on about its not being a real Alfa. Well its time those Neanderthal cavemen move into the real world. You only have to look at the Alfa owners web site to see a ocean of problems with old Alfa models and the people who criticize the Giulietta usually own clapped out 156 or citeron people carrier. Well the rest of us want a car that is practical and works and is a looker too. Well done Alfa ! This is by far the best car in its class.
- , who owns this car
I have had my Giulietta Cloverleaf just over a year now and have covered 9500miles. The options I chose were white paint, red leather, Bose stereo upgrade, rear parking sensors & Tomtom port.
Exterior: The car looks great. More individual, exclusive and pretty than any other car in its class. I find myself having a sneeky look back over my shoulder when I leave it in a car park and smiling as i walk towards it.
Paint is holding up well to stone chips, only minor surface marks on the front of the rear arches. Darkened turbine alloys with 5 dimond cut spokes are like new and give a nice glint in the sun.
Interior: The red leather feels realy nice and my work collegues have commented how good they look & feel as well as how nicely & uncluttered the dash looks. The seats are not as supportive as i’d like but they are quite comfortable and are showing no signs of wear or sagging. I have no squeeks or rattles and it seems well screwed together. The plastic on the tops of the doors & dash however does feel a bit cheap and rough though, but the rest of the interior is fine. The Blue & Me (bluetooth car kit/Ipod/USB MP3/Tomtom controller) does take a while to get used to and is a little fiddly compared to other systems provided my other manufacturers.
The Alfa supplied tomtom2 is a bluetooth enabled version of the tomtom go1000. It integrates into the car with its own purpose made cradle (you need to spec the socket in the dash at tome of order) but it gives you a little more than just basic navigation. For 12 months you get live traffic information, auto re-routing, speed camera updates and google search which is great when you know the name but not the address of somewhere.
The cloverleaf has alloy pedals for clutch brake & throttle which look nice. There are only small rubber gripps on these pedals and can be slippy if you have wet shoes. A couple of wipes of my shoes on my mats prevent any slips.
Performance: The Giulietta is equipped with a DNA switch. A is all weather and is useful in slippery conditions. N is normal mode for everyday relaxed driving. Steering is quite light and throttle responce is “normal” D is dynamic and is for those times when you just want to have fun. Steering is firmed up slightly and throttle responce is sharpened. Torque is brought lower down the rev range and it feels so much quicker. Consumption doesnt match what is in the book, but it all depends on driving style. Most of my driving is short 3 mile stop start commutes to and from work followed by passionate driving when the road conditions & speed limmits allow. My current overall consumption is 27mpg but on a run i have achieved 34mpg. My previous car was a 1.9JTDm Alfa 147 and over 4.5years of the same type driving i achieved 34mpg, so I don’t think 27 its too bad for a 235bhp 4 door family hatch with the type of driving I do.
Faults: My car has not been 100% faultless. I had blue and me problems (loosing ipod connection) and the module was replaced. I believe the problem turned out to be a loose cable connector. My only other problem was at 7months old my revs didnt seem drop fast enough when changing gear. This turned out to be a faulty clutch position sensor.
Have these problems put me off. No. I love this car and plan to keep it for many more years.
If you are considering buying a Giulietta, pop along to a dealer, book a test drive and make up your own mind from your own hands on experience.
- By AlfredTI, who owns this car
Interesting opinions here - Nero also committed suicide in the face of potential assassination??? and executed his own mother. So as judgements go ….
This is a lovely car, after having tests in all of the “Also consider” to your right as well as couple of others a new Giulietta was where my money went and a surprising amount of head agreed with a decision from the heart. Put simply, while behind the wheel I could not wipe the smile off my face, still can’t.
The interior is a joy to be in, elegant, quiet, and comfortable. If crud expands to fit all available space then the lack of huge side pockets and cubby holes has made me a tidy, so the wife is impressed on several levels. This maybe a negative point for some but ….
All small turbo engines are going to suffer a bit from turbo lag and lacking low rev pull, but comparatively the 170 Multiair is impressive and gets surprisingly eager to perform when prompted. The TCT gearbox also performs well in a variety of conditions; it’s more than just an auto by a long way.
For me Giulietta was the best all rounder, stylish, economical dependant on driving style (I get between 25 - 45mpg), as safe as the class gets and built on solid technical underpinnings which really come through in the drive. From driving a pregnant wife around town with limoesque smoothness to friends with white knuckles on the back roads and even getting some of those garden center / flat pack purchases in without issue.
No, it’s not outstanding at any of these things; it’s not a van, a limo or a sports car. It’s a five door hatch - a perky, nimble, addictive, fun, safe, beautiful all round bloomin good one.
Faults - Location of armrest obstructs handbrake making it vaguely awkward Hands free has a bit of delay which has been remedied Entertainment system is a bit awkward for playlist fidgets TomTom socket option results in loss of dashtop compartment Occasionally find yourself letching at your own car in public.
- By GavinS, who owns this car
Driven 700 miles in a 170bhp 1.4 Multi-Air Veloce in ghiacciaio white. Looks great and has a comfortable ride despite the 18-inch Sport wheels.
The DNA switch makes a huge difference to how the car responds. Dynamic increases the torque and makes the throttle very responsive - enough to push you back in your seat. Normal mode gives you a smooth and relaxed ride - throttle response is fine for getting around town and for slow moving traffic.
My only complaint is that it has an awful gearbox and the gear ratios don’t feel right:
In Normal mode, 1st gear is extremely slow to launch from. 2nd gear sounds like it struggles at the 15-20mph mark, but it’s moving too quick to shift to 1st gear.
In Dynamic mode, 1st gear revs the engine too much as the throttle is too sensitive. Definitely tricky to leave the car in this mode in stop/start traffic.
The gearbox doesn’t feel great when shifting in the lower gears. Even after 700 miles. 1st and 2nd gear has a lot of resistance and doesn’t have a smooth motion. On occasions its extremely difficult to get it to shift to 1st gear from neutral.
Fuel consumption is high despite mostly careful driving. I’m only getting low 30mpg in a mix of open road and town driving. Flat motorways at 60mph only returns around 40-45mpg. This should improve after I’ve done around 5,000 miles but I don’t expect much. I think Alfa may be asking a bit too much of the 1.4 engine for a big car like the Giulietta.
- By bellissimo, who owns this car
I moved from Audi to Alfa in January this year and am still delighted by my choice. I chose to test drive the A3, Golf and Giulietta. I read many professional reviews and some not so. I found that the Giulietta was a breath of fresh air, compared to the other two. In comparison the handling, especially in D mode was way superior and inspires confidence. The interior has a very practical layout and has a visual appeal to accompany it. I took a little while to get used to the different layout and way the Alfa worked as I had so many years with the VW group, but once used to it found them sensible. There are some annoying issues including the position of the drivers seat back adjustment, but I have not found the footrest issue mentioned elsewhere a problem. In fact I will go as far to say that the lack of footrest has made it more comfortable for me ( i am 6’2”) and was a factor when choosing the Giulietta.
I know styling is also a personal choice, but the Giulietta in my eyes is a lovely looking car, but this is not at the expense of practicality. The boot is big enough and the room in the back is sufficient for a family. One recent trip to the East coast when five of us were in the car, everyone got out without complaining about room and one of them was a 6’ teenager.
When comparing standard equipment the Alfa came up trumps with the VW and Audi both requiring extra money for simple requirements like Bluetooth for the mobile phone. (recently rectified by VW but not when I was looking) and cruise control. Also a major point for me was the way Alfa offer a cost effective and in my opinion excellent Tom Tom sat nav. At the time the Alfa added £80 to my bill for the connection and £300 for the sat nav unit and you would receive a fully integrated system connected by Bluetooth to the car. It also controls your iPod if you wish. In comparison to the VW and Audi who offered an in built system that only took the first part of a postcode for well over £1000.
The dealer I used, based in Northampton was extremely helpful, I didn’t expect the same level as Audi but I was pleasantly surprised. I have had a minor issue with the car, when the clutch metal cover kept falling off. I was offered a loan car or a lift locally and the car was returned fully cleaned (by hand).
The fuel consumption has been a little too low for my liking, averaging 38 to the gallon with the 170 bhp multiair, petrol model. I do a mixture of motorway and town driving, but I have noticed an Improvement now I have passed 5000 miles.
All in all the car seems solidly built and as a fantastic change from the established brands. Well done Alfa… By the way, if you get one you might find other Alfa drivers wave at you, a nice little touch.
- By Dave C, Northants, who owns this car
I have had my Giulietta MA Veloce (TCT) for a little over 2 months now and have covered just under 3000 miles in it, 2000 of those driving to Italy and back for a holiday.
It is a company car and while it was being built I had the use of a 2011 Golf 1.6TDI Match so I have been able to compare it directly to a car it aims to attract buyers away from.
I have owned two Alfas before (a GTV and a 164) and a number of Lancias (HPEs and a Thema Turbo) so I would have to confess to a weakness for Italian cars. However this would have to be considered at least partially balanced by more recent Audi and BMW ownership (E90 320D, E39 540i and B8 Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI).
The Audi was well made, finished and equipped, but had terrible ride and was a fairly dull drive so I would not be in a rush to get another one. However I was very happy with both BMWs so although I have always kept an interested eye on second hand Alfas, I would consider myself a bimmer driver rather than an alfisti.
Compared to the other cars on the company car list, the Giulietta was the standout option for looks and drive and just felt more ‘special’ than the other non German options. I considered a 1 series as I do prefer RWD and my bimmer leaning was in effect. However despite my recent leaning towards German cars, the looks of the new 1 series don’t do it for me and I would have had to compromise on engine or trim level to bring it in on budget.
Plumping for the Giulietta meant a Veloce trim model was in budget. The low emissions of the TCT version also meant I could go for a petrol and keep the company car tax liability below that of the comparable performance (but not economy) diesel.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but after 3 months of driving a terminally anonymous silver golf, seeing an Alfa red Giulietta roll off the delivery truck was a lovely sight. To my eyes it is the best looking car in its class, no question.
Two months on and I still think it looks great although the paint finish is fragile and easy to mark/scratch. The E90 and B8 were about as bad, but as they were both metallic blue it was less noticeable. The paint finish on a 10 year old E39 puts them all to shame though.
The interior is more of a mixed bag though. First impressions are good and some elements like the climate control dials and (much talked about) horseshoe switches are well made, but a lot of the other plastics fall well behind the quality of the golf. Moving from the A4 to the Golf I didn’t notice any drop in interior quality (impressive when you consider one was a £34K car and the other was £21K), but moving to the Giulietta is slightly disappointing.
The door cards, glove box door and trim around the hand brake are the standout results of cost cutting, but the flex in the top of the instrument binnacle and steering wheel buttons are also slightly disappointing.
I don’t know as this will make sense, but I am not so much disappointed in the interior as such, more disappointed that Alfa are not competing at the same level in terms of material quality. I can understand that they need to make more margin on their products than VAG to survive and that is probably the reason. Hopefully if they start to pick up more market share they will be able to scrimp on the pennies a bit less and match the material quality of other cars costing the same amount.
The leather and microfiber seats talk the talk but do not walk the walk. Not enough adjustment and lacking in lateral support. The seats in my GTV were much better and even the Golf Match seats were more supportive (if dull). I also thought they were going to prove uncomfortable on long journeys due to a cheap construction and hard bar running across the middle of the seat, but after covering 900 miles in one hit I had no discomfort or complaints.
I am 6’ 2” and am not quite able to get the perfect driving position. Some would consider that reason enough not to have a car, but maybe I am used to compromising (the HPE had the Italian driving position of old). If the steering wheel came out from the dash another 1-2” it would be fine, but ends up a slight compromise. I also cannot see the speedo past 60, which may have some repercussions.
Sticking with the negatives the lack of a DAB option is very poor and something I do miss from the Golf, but the stereo works well in all other regards and my iPod hooked up fine. One thing to note is that I had to remove ‘the’ from the start of all the band names in my iTunes library to get the alphabetical groupings to make sense – Ab to Th followed by Be to Cu followed by Da to Th was making my head hurt.
My iPhone 4 also connected to Blue and Me first time and works fine.
Rear legroom and back of front seat to front of rear seat space is worse than the golf. Getting my 1 year old behind me in a rearward facing seat is impossible and it is too tight for my 5 year old as well. I aim to get a less bulky seat for the 1 year old to resolve the problem.
The boot is a good size and we were able to get a weeks luggage for 4, box of toys, easter presents and a small 3 wheel buggy in the boot with the parcel shelf in place and no resorting to a roof box. Cheap soft bags rather than semi-hard roll cases was the key. The aperture for the boot however is a more awkward shape than the golf and our 3 wheel mountain buggy (which fitted in the golf fine with all wheels on) will not fit in the Giulietta without removing at least one wheel and then needs some difficult twisting to get past the parcel shelf supports.
The start stop is a little too quick off the mark in the TCT version (and should be disabled by default in dynamic mode imho). I disable it a lot more often (most journeys in fact) than I did in the manual Audi (only disabled it once).
The TCT gearbox is actually pretty good. All my cars have been manual up to now (even the 540) so this was a big leap for me and I am still adjusting. In full auto and normal mode it behaves fine for every day driving. In Dynamic mode it holds the revs too long once you reach your chosen speed, but pushing it over to the manual gate (I do not have the flappy paddles) in Dynamic is the way forward. Although the changes are not instant, they are acceptably executed. It is still more of a digital/playstation experience than I would like and I would buy a manual if it was my own money, but I still enjoy driving it (and the throttle blip on down change).
The final gripe of note is the MPG. An average of 35 is poor. I was hoping for 40 on a long run. Going to Italy and back at an average speed of about 120km/h it returned 35. To put this in perspective I used to get 30mpg on the same run in the V8 bimmer. (50 in the 320D and 45 in the Audi A4).
Maybe it will improve after some more running, but I am not expecting miracles. Fortunately for me it is only my social and pleasure driving I have to finance so I will suck it up, but if economy is a consideration, do not be taken in by the ridiculous ‘official’ figures.
After all of that you may be wondering if there are any other good points, well yes there are, some big ones:
1: The engine. I am bit blown away by this little power plant. On the alfa forums you will see comments about it not competing with the 235bhp cloverleaf engine for torque or delivery, but that is like saying a 530 powerplant is no M5 V8. It is still a great engine.
Not as ‘rorty’ as alfa engines of old, but it produces a good, if slightly angry, noise and pulls well. Easily eclipses the 150 and 168 bhp 2.0 diesel engines I have had in terms of off the line pace and would even give my old V8 a run for its money up to a ton. The VW 2.0 TSi engine may be better on paper, but on the road I can confirm there is not much in it.
You need to work it more than a bigger engine particularly a 2.0 diesel, but then there was no aural pleasure in dropping a couple of cogs in a diesel. In this you almost look forward to it (Ah, I think I see the source of my mpg problem).
2: D (dynamic) mode. Putting the Giulietta in Dynamic mode weights up the steering, changes the differential behaviour and makes more use of the turbo to get an extra 30 or so torques. Despite what some reviews say – it does not change the dampers. It would be good if it did, but even without that it is quite a character change. Electrically assisted steering or not, it feels good and the car grips very well.
3: Handling. It is not a roll free experience, but it never seems like it is going to let go, any understeer is controllable and it feels precise. That it handles better than the A4 is probably no great surprise (even if that was an S-line on 19” rims), that it feels more planted and balanced, even when loaded up, probably is.
4: The looks. Did I mention those already…
The motoring press seem to be bemoaning the loss of ‘Alfa-ness’ in the Giulietta. I think it is still there in full effect, but it has evolved because it had to.
The new M5 pumps an engine sound track through the stereo whereas all previous versions did it the old fashioned way, and Mercedes think chrome and quality are synonymous. Smaller engines with turbos are becoming the norm and identities are being lost through mergers, platform sharing and economics.
This is the landscape that Alfa has to compete in and to compare the Giulietta to Alfas of old and say it comes up short is missing the point. It needs to be compared to its contemporaries and in that comparison all of the old, if clichéd, reasons to buy one are still there.
Could the Giulietta be better? Without a doubt yes.
As a piece of engineering to transport people from A to B in comfort is the Golf a better car? Yes
Is a Ford Focus a better drive? Your brain will think so, but I am not so sure about your heart.
I would like to love this car a little more than I do, but I suspect if it was any more like a Golf I would love it less.
Despite the time I have taken to write this and the attempt I have made to impart some of my experience of ownership I have just realised that it is all a bit pointless.
If you are reading what someone else thinks before you go and part with your money for a Giulietta it is not the right car for you as you have already engaged your brain too much.
- By Javam, who owns this car
Coming from a Golf GTI to a Guilietta QV The Golf has the personality of a fridge. the Guilietta is a breath of fresh air. Well screwed together and as good as any German appliance. Well done Alfa.
- By Paul sands, who owns this car
So what is going on with the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. ? Its main rivals are the Golf Gti Audi A3 and the Ford Focus ST. Audi and Golf have a reputation for good quality build, but that’s just good marketing , cars these days are as reliable as each other. Ford Focus you could say is better value for money, yes I would agree. Alfa Romeo have a history of good looking but unreliable cars. However modern cars now are as reliable as the next, for example BOSH make electrical parts for most makes of vehicle. Generally this is what peoples perceptions are, but is it true ?
Looks: Stunning and beautiful, as you would expect from the Giulietta. European safety requirements limit how cars can be shaped for accident reasons, so the Giulietta has done well. There is extensive talk on the shape of the front, it is very different to the norm, but you eventually get used to it. If you look at NCAP safety for this car the vehicles front score is higher than its rivals except the Focus, perhaps this is part reason for the shape.
Costs: Good value , standard equipment on the Cloverleaf model is excellent, and also on standard models, there is a long list of optional extras at a premium.
Safety: NCAP safety test rating is 5 out of 5 stars the highest score possible.
Handling: All new chassis, this can be felt more so on the cloverleaf model, not any noticeable rolling at medium cornering speeds.
DNA System: Dynamic Normal All weather. The system defaults to normal every time you switch the engine off, but the system does work very well. Dynamic just sharpens acceleration response and increases to full power and also sharper breaking but does not firm up the suspension. Normal reduces full power. All weather was very good in the snow
Comfort: Standard models are a smooth ride in deed, but any loose trim will be very noticeable if its rattling. Its not a super quite cock pit and at high speed there is excessive wind noise from the exterior mirror areas. As you would expect, the cloverleaf is firmer and hence cornering speeds are more fun.
Performance: Average performance on standard models, and again European emissions regulations prefer turbo charged engines rather than naturally aspirated engines, and as you would expect the 1750tbi 235 bhp cloverleaf engine is very responsive. Turbo lag is very noticeable. Also MPG is not as good as claimed but never is, because most of us don’t live in a wind tunnel. You don’t buy a Alfa to save fuel.
Servicing: Very good, at 21,000 miles or two years, was quoted £235 from Alfa main dealers for the first service. Interim oil changes are not necessary however if you decide to do so yourself, draining the oil and changing the filter is bordering on the impossible, best to use a suction pump to drain oil from the dip stick hole or pay the £60.00. Bridgestone tyres are approximately £135.00 each as you would expect. Don’t buy cheap tyres, my friend recently bought budget tyres and had a blow out in his TT, he was very lucky.
Gadgets: Hill holder works when it wants to, blu and me works fine but I like the fob gadget best. If you hold the unlock button on the fob for 5 seconds all the windows open together, press lock for 5 seconds to close the windows. Very handy in the summer to quickly cool the interior cabin when approaching your car. Priming the break callipers in D mode, I honestly carnt tell if it works. Its supposed to give quicker breaking response.
Summing up: The neighbour wanted the cloverleaf model as his replacement company car, but was not able to have one and ended up with the Golf gti. I still catch him ogling the Giulietta from my kitchen window. So If you want a Giulietta then the cloverleaf is the car to go for, but is it worth the extra £10,000 ? The mind says no, but the heart says yes. If you value aesthetics above practicality and cost then choose the Giulietta Cloverleaf. The Golf Audi and Focus don’t seem to catch your eye, they blend in like all the other run of the mill cars. The Giulietta certainly catches peoples attention, and from my own experience it draws sometimes too much attention in car parks as well as on the road. It has never broken down in 18 months and has always started first time. Like other main stream cars it had niggling little problems but nothing major.
Tony Wilson (natasha147) DSA ADI (Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor)
- By Tony Wilson DSA ADI, who owns this car
Don’t buy this car………………………………………………………… …………………………if you want to keep your licence clean, drive a bland safe and predictable mode of transport and have no sense of style!
Let me start by saying that if you believe the advertising, then every car is the perfect one for you whether it be the ultimate driving machine or whatever the marketing gurus come up with to “influence” the gullible.
Now, of course, we all want different things and nothing is 100% perfect although in my humble opinion, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is pretty much there!
I have had my Giulietta for 3 weeks and clocked up almost 2000 miles and have enjoyed every single mile of that and even just looking at the gorgeous styling details.
I have the Lusso spec which covers all bases for me, yes it looks even better with bigger wheels, side skirts and chrome mirrors but apart from that nothing really lacking.
Reviewers complain about the driving position, so far no problems for me, seats comfy and supportive and although the foot rest(yes there is one in the TCT auto!) could be better, have spent up to 3 hours in the car without issues.
Dashboard is a delight to look at with mix of modern and retro and only comment is that the top part of the door card is a bit hard and could so with being the same as the rest of it.
As for the looks, well, she is not quite up to the Brera levels but still a looker! The details are just great with the bonnet lines, grille, off ser number plate, proper LED lights front and rear(the rear being particularly stylish) and far better than a bland eurobox.
Next, the important bit for an Alfa, engine and handling! I have the 170 MA with TCT (better for company car tax for me). It has a good sound to it as you press on up the rev range and really demands to be at the upper end. For that you are rewarded with great performance and I continue to be amazed how quick I can get to licence losing speeds! Yes you need to drop down a cog or two (I tend to use the manual over ride rather than rely on kickdown) but it is quick enough for me. Driving in D mode on twisty B roads is a joy, safe in the knowledge that when the opportunity arises, that slow moving vehicle can be dispensed with easily!
Handling is, for my ability, great, I have found out that I can take corners at speeds which in a previous car where only dreamt of. The steering has enough weight and all the electronic gubbins do their stuff.
Put her into N and you have still loads of power when needed and a slightly more relaxed drive for round town. Oh yes, and better mpg too! Driving in D can take it’s toll but that is a price worth paying!
Built quality, has so far been good, only thing is that the Blue and Me has a habit of losing the Ipod connection but this is rectified by unplugging and reconnecting with engine off. An Apple and Microsoft configuration issue I guess!
Other little niggles - the stop start is very( and I mean very!) quick to cut in - it came in at a Zebra crossing the other day but that is solved by turning it off. In D mode the TCT does hold onto the gears abit too much but again easily sorted by using manual changes which a pretty seemless.
The Giulietta is, for me, two cars in one, a reasonably economical car for pottering about in town and at 70 on motorway and a hotish sports car for having some serious fun in, when conditions allow!
I always look forward to a drive and look backwards after I have parked up!
It is a great car which I thoroughly recommend that you do not buy. That way we can keep our exclusivity on the road. Seriously, it is a must have for any self confessed petrol head!!
- By Maningrey, who owns this car
I’ve owned a Cloverleaf version for a couple of months now, and whilst I am still building up the vigor with which I am driving it, I can safely say that it is an all-round impressive car.
Firstly, it is a distinctive looking car. That might surprise some readers who may say it looks very like an Astra, but the detail of the design makes that oh so not true. The complexity of the curves on the bonnet and bumper are subtle but beautiful to see. The rear light clusters with their LED swirl as well as the shape of the hatch all make the overall shape stand out from the crowd.
Secondly the inside is a good place to be. The driving position takes a period of fine adjustment to get spot on, but having reached that point it is very good – can floor the clutch, reach the gear leaver without stretching, see all the instruments without snagging my knee when changing gear, and no sign of back ache after a longish drive. (I do have the electric and leather seat options.) Do I miss a support for my left foot? In all honesty no. There’s space beside and Tellunder the clutch to tuck my foot comfortably away.
It is quite dark inside, but not oppressively so, and overall the interior feels pretty well put together. As far as I am concerned the Blue&Me system has been faultless – my iPhone paired to it without any issues, an iPod lives in the glove box and supplies my music. I have the optional port for a tom-tom and have been impressed with the performance of the tom-tom unit itself, using its touch screen to manage the iPod as well as my phone calls.
Space is good for passengers too – certainly compared to my last car, a Brera! Four adults fit in with ease, and access is good. Boot size has been more than adequate so far.
Thirdly, it goes like a bat out of…..! The DNA switch dramatically changes the performance characteristics of the car. N is ideal I find for urban driving and cruising down motorways. D (which unleashes the warp core!) transforms the car when the road and conditions are right for some pure fun. Throttle response turns into a hair trigger, about 10% more torque becomes available at 1900rpm rather than 4500, steering stiffens, and the brakes’ pre-fill feature activates giving much faster bite. What was a pleasingly swift car using N becomes out and out fire breathing in D, albeit one that is still civilized.
But what are the downsides? Really, only some details. Height adjustable front seat belts would be a plus. Being able to have tan leather with red paint in a Cloverleaf would also be a plus. And…erm…..that’s pretty much it.
Do I enjoy driving it? Absolutely, no reservations.
Am I glad I’ve bought it? Unequivocally.
Would I recommend it? Without a moment’s hesitation.
- By Tirreni, who owns this car
We jumped out of a golf Gti and into a long lusted after Alfa Romeo. Finally, an Alfa that received good reviews and ticked all the practicality boxes. Our chariot is a Nero black qv with leather and sunroof and it looks utterly gorgeous. Aside from a couple of small quibbles with the use of some harsh looking interior plastic finishes and seats that aren’t quite as supportive as they look, my wife and I are both rapt with the Alfa. I particularly love the suspension tune, very comfortable for this kind of car, Particularly in comparison with the sometimes fidgety and harsh Golf. Handling is communicative and entertaining, and under steer is pretty much non existent and I feel levels of adhesion are superior to the German. The steering is superb, good levels of feedback for a modern car, with no vices evident, lovely and organic feeling. long distances are covered with ease and no comfort complaints whatsoever. Alfa Romeo deserves every success with their new product and I voted with my wallet. Sure, cars like the Renault Megane rs might be faster and handle better, but The Alfa is beautiful, fast, practical AND comfortable. Plus, it IS an Alfa Romeo, and Absolutely drips with character. guaranteed smiles.
- By Nath, who owns this car
I have a 1.4 170 bhp model with TCT semi-automatic gearbox, which is great fun to drive, and Dynamic mode is truly a joy to drive, with the pulling power in 4th & 5th phenomenal.
But it’s not as sports car, it’s also a practical everyday car that can be used for committing as well as for having fun driving - and if the traffic’s bad I just slip it into full automatic mode and take it easy.
Inside it’s comfortable and well-equipped, and big enough to take four adults to football matches across England without complaint. Plus it’s got class and style that set it apart from just another box on wheels like so many others. It seriously never fails to turn heads.
The mpg is the only downside - I don’t get anything like the advertised figure (but then again I don’t drive the way an mpg-conscious tester would!)
- By Dirk Gently, who owns this car
Love very muchly - the looks obviously (cliche’d but the fact remains), very practical and well put together. The drive once moving is great and Dynamic mode is fantastic. Handling for a nose heavy diesel is superb considering, even in the wet, very confidence inspiring.
The great - plenty of room in the boot and cabin, quiet (only really notice the oil burner under the bonnet at standstill, and has a great exhaust note for a diesel when giving it some (unless you open the window that is and then it sounds like a diesel…!)
The good - The economy is fine for me, ok I do a lot of motorway mileage, but I have spent a lot of time negotiating Birmingham city centre, which is certainly not the most economical of environments.
Not so much - boot sill a bit high, rear seats don’t fold flat (or anywhere near it to be honest..!) There is a noticable lag when pulling out into traffic unless you kick into “D”, which can be the cause of some consternation at roundabouts….
The less than desirable - very minor niggles like cup holder is too small, not enough odd-n-ends storage.
The worst bits - cleaning flies of the grille - man what a chore. Door bins pretty poor effort.
On the whole - excellent car even given the negatives (doesn’t every car have an element of compromise…??)
- By Wazza, who owns this car
I do a lot of miles on the road through work and bought the Guilietta due to it’s good looks and because when I test drove it, it was like driving a go-kart (well in comparison to my old Audi A3 Diesel anyway).
The positives are how much feedback you get from the road, and how great it looks.
The negatives are the seats are very uncomfortable for long journeys. I can honestly say I feel like I have been beaten over the back with a cricket bat after a day in the car!
I have had a couple of quality issues, the speakers a prone to breaking, we lovingly call the start stop, stop stop technology, and the blue tooth can be a little bit temperamental.
I have done 45,000 miles in 2 years in this car, I will be amazed if this car does over 70,000 without something major blowing up, but we’ll see!
Summary - If you do very few miles then this could be a good car (I’m not convinced that I would risk my own money on one being an Alfa), if you do lots of miles steer well clear.
- By Richard , who owns this car
Great video review of the Giulietta. Steve Cropley tests it on the track, telling us what it's like to drive. He reckons it's the 'best Alfa for 25 years', high praise indeed! Video from Autocar.co.uk
Promotional video showing the Alfa Giulietta.
Video from the NCAP crash tests. The Giulietta scored an impressive 5/5 stars.
Great review of the Alfa Giulietta 1.4 TB. Video from FifthGear
Short video showing the interior of the Giulietta.