From £17,019
New diesel makes good sense on motorway runs but isn’t as usable as we’d have hoped elsewhere

Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Giulietta competes in the biggest segment in Europe - rivals include the VW Golf and Ford Focus

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has its flaws, but its dynamic capabilities and stylish looks are enough to keep it in contention

9 June 2011

What is it?

Alfa Romeo’s new mid-spec diesel engine for the Giulietta is a crucial addition that the firm needs to get right. But first impressions have us a little concerned.

The 2.0 JTDm-2 gets 140bhp and a healthy 258lb ft of torque. Compare that with the Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium X’s 161bhp and 251lb ft of torque and it’s off to a fairly decent start. But start the new unit up and you’re in no doubt that it’s the black pump you’ll be visiting. The resulting diesel clatter is intrusive.

What's it like?

As with all Giuliettas, you’re given a choice of three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Dynamic – as well as stop-start. In Dynamic, the throttle response sharpens adequately to put it more on a par with the diesel Focus.

Drive like you did when you were 18 and the subtle whoosh from the oil-burner’s dump valve promises much but delivers little. At 2000rpm the engine hits a flat spot, which frustrates when you’re trying to push on.

Front-end grip, however, is superb and the six-speed manual gearbox has a lovely throw to it, enabling quick and precise shifts – something you need with this particular engine.

Where this Giulietta is most 
at home is on the motorway. The chassis is composed and planted at higher speeds and the diesel engine merely ticks over at 70mph, hitting just under 2000rpm.

But – and this is a very big but – 
in mixed driving in Dynamic mode 
we managed only 31mpg – less than half the suggested 62.8mpg.

Should I buy one?

Given a long motorway run and a conservative right foot, however, we’re sure that mid-40s economy would be achieveable. So with its pretty interior, great handling and precise gearbox, this is a worthy enough alternative to the class-leading Focus.

Alex Kertsen

Alfa Romeo Giulietta 
2.0 JTDm-2 Veloce

Price: £23,520; Top speed: 127mph; 0-62mph: 9.0sec; Economy: 62.8mpg (combined); CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1320kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1956cc, turbodiesel; Power: 140bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
56

14 June 2011

Is there an award yet for the manufacturer who gets their car through the Euro test with the most over inflated claims compared to the real world consumption? The Fiat group must be in with a really good chance of this award after the recently tested 500 twinair, and now this, both doing roughly half their claimed figures in the hands of Autocar journalists.

I think this review should conclude, if you want a Giulietta, buy a petrol powered one.

14 June 2011

[quote artill]The Fiat group must be in with a really good chance of this award after the recently tested 500 twinair, and now this, both doing roughly half their claimed figures in the hands of Autocar journalists[/quote] Have a look at BMW's claims!

14 June 2011

[quote Autocar]Given a long motorway run and a conservative right foot, however, we’re sure that mid-40s economy would be achieveable.[/quote] About what you'd expect from a 2 litre petrol engine then.

 

 

14 June 2011

I have had no problems matching BMW's claimed combined mileage on my 320D, and had no trouble doing so on my old 530D either. All it took on either car was sticking to the speed limits, a gentle approach to acceleration and using anticipation and lifting off the power early, rather than making heavy use of the brakes, as far as safely possible.

14 June 2011

[quote Submariner Redux] I have had no problems matching BMW's claimed combined mileage on my 320D,[/quote]

I have just got back from a weekend in Essex, from my home in Mid Wales, and averaged 63.9 mpg over the 450 miles weekend trip in my Honda Civic 2.2 diesel.

14 June 2011

[quote Submariner Redux] All it took on either car was sticking to the speed limits, a gentle approach to acceleration and using anticipation and lifting off the power early, rather than making heavy use of the brakes, as far as safely possible.[/quote] That's it for every car, even for my new Meriva. But for Autocar an Alfa is always disappointing someway, no matter if this is a problem of the Euro Test, not of the car itself.

14 June 2011

[quote glorfindel]But for Autocar an Alfa is always disappointing someway[/quote]

I think the problem may be with the heavy-footed staffers. 'Mixed driving' in journo-speak probably means test track followed by balls-out B-road thrash. I recall Mike Duff struggling to get 40 mpg on the motorway in a diesel Mondeo...


14 June 2011

This version of the Giulietta brings something that is called downspeeding ,and means to improve the response of an engine at low speeds.

In the real world driving it manages 47.4 mpg .

If you are going only after consumption figures , surely you can find better options, but then you miss the point of having an Alfa Romeo!

14 June 2011

[quote RadeB]This version of the Giulietta brings something that is called downspeeding ,and means to improve the response of an engine at low speeds. [/quote]

Doesn't seem to do that very well considering the 2000rpm flat spot.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

14 June 2011

"with its pretty interior, great handling and precise gearbox, this is a worthy enough alternative to the class-leading Focus."

I could have sworn that when Autocar road tested the new Focus a few months back they found it less convincing than the Golf.

Fast forward a few months and the Focus has been elevated to class leader once again. Have Ford improved it since then, or is Autocar just so used to Ford being top of the class in every segment it competes in that they forget they preferred the Golf in this instance?

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