The Alfa Romeo Giulietta’s new platform is modular, allowing flexibility in both body style and mechanical hardware. Its conception has majored on weight efficiency and safety, the latter a weakness, at least in NCAP terms, of the outgoing 147, which scored three stars when it should have made four.
Fiat has been building Alfas, Lancias and Fiats from the same platforms since the 1980s, but the crucial difference this time is that instead of engineering a platform for a Fiat and attempting to shift it upmarket for Alfa Romeo and Lancia with add-ons, it has developed a premium class platform for Alfa that can be cost and content-adjusted to suit the pockets of more budget-oriented Fiat buyers.
Design is at least as important to an Alfa’s make-up as its engines, and the Giulietta’s look could only have come from the Milanese brand. It’s not quite as delicately pretty a car as the 147 that it replaces, but its more solid presence – both visually and literally – lends it a quietly stylish confidence.
Alfa maintains its liking for the jaunty offset front numberplate, while the bonnet’s vee-sculpture, the shapely headlights and lower grille all draw inspiration from the 8C Competizione, as well as models from Alfa’s history.
Design highlights include a quartet of LED daytime running lights are vertically arranged within the front clusters. The rear door handles are integrated into the window frame, an arrangement pioneered by the 156 that helps this five-door resemble a three-door. Red LEDs in the tail-lamps form a pleasingly distinctive shape that’s not dissimilar to a music note flipped on to its side.
There are twin exhausts even for the diesel Giulietta and both are functional. The Alfa badge on the boot also doubles as a convenient keyless electric tailgate release.