British buyers have had a long time to live with the idea of a diesel Alfa Romeo now, helped in no small part by the Italian manufacturers excellent range of diesel engines.
Sure, theyll never produce the sporty exhaust note of a petrol model - though some get awfully close - but for power and response theyre hard to fault. And Alfa fans will be pleased to hear that this hasn't changed with the Giulietta, with its 2.0-litre JTDM-2 diesel engine.
With 168 horsepower fed through Alfa Romeos TCT twin-clutch transmission, the Giulietta is actually a fairly potent machine, reaching higher speeds with little effort. 60mph arrives in under 8 seconds, and top speed is 135mph. Despite this, you still get 62.8 mpg combined economy and 30 per year road tax.
Next to some rivals the engine can sound a little uncouth, but in isolation we found little to complain about - and surely Alfa owners are predisposed to a little more aural drama, anyway
The dual-clutch transmission works well too. The car always feels responsive and changes are respectably smooth and fast. Our only issue was with the start-stop system, which lags behind the best. On a couple of occasions it turned the engine off a little too soon when pulling to a halt - just as we needed to accelerate again.
The chassis is capable though, with good grip and composure through twisting bends. Like all good Alfas, its happy to be taken by the scruff of the neck and thrown around, and doesn't complain if you do so.
Its a little let down by the steering, which isn't as quick or direct as its predecessors, but it suffers less kickback from bumps, too. This highlights one of the Giuliettas other qualities - its ride. In Lusso spec and with Alfas Dynamic, Natural, All-weather switch left in Natural, the ride and handling balance is more than acceptable, happily absorbing bumps and ripples.
Inside, the Giulietta is a comfortable and well-built environment, with some pleasing design touches. Theres also good space front and back, and a decent-sized boot. The exterior styling? You can judge for yourself, but itd be hard to resist picking a traditional Alfa red over the nondescript white shown here.
Price as tested: 23,495 (approx.)
Combined mpg: 62.8
CO2: 119 g/km
In a very, very competitive market class it would be easy for cars to fade into the background, but the Alfa Romeo badge has just a little more cachet than many others and will always have fans for that reason.
Yet the Giulietta doesn't just have to trade on reputation, as its an impressive car in its own right. Sure, the new Golf will no doubt walk all over it in the inevitable multi-car magazine comparison tests, but we suspect few potential Alfa buyers will cross-shop with the straight-laced Golf - and vice-versa.
For more information check out our full summary of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!