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A new diesel engine adds extra appeal to an already likeable package, but in objective terms the handsome Alfa Romeo Giulietta is outclassed

Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

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

Nic Cackett
24 October 2013

What is it?

On the face of it, the 2014 model year version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta doesn’t represent too much to crow about. A new grille here and some revised lights there are more on-going model evolutions than significant facelift changes.

Of more interest is a new version of the JTDm turbodiesel engine, fitted here for the first time anywhere in the Fiat Group. The 148bhp unit's new common-rail injection system allows up to eight injections per stroke and can fire two separate injections so closely together that it effectively creates a continuous supply of fuel. Alfa says this allows a quieter operation and reduces particulate and NOx emissions. 

The other notable change is the introduction of a new infotainment system, called Uconnect, which supports a range of smartphone and MP3 devices, either hardwired or through Bluetooth. It can also play music streamed from smartphones. DAB radio will be standard on Sportiva models in the UK.

What's it like?

The new engine is both smooth and quiet up to 3000rpm, but rather coarse above it, and emits a familiar diesel clatter under acceleration. 

In-gear flexibility makes for a decently quick car on give and take roads, particularly in Dynamic mode, which boosts torque from 236lb ft to 280. Ultimately, though, the Volkswagen Group’s TDI engine, with similar power output, edges it.

Elsewhere, despite a number of minor changes, the MY2014 Giulietta is largely business as usual. That means a ride quality comparable with a Focus or Golf and steering that, despite being rather edgy a few degrees either side of dead-ahead, is weighty and feelsome. 

It’s just a shame that the added weight and sensitivity applied when engaging the Dynamic mode of the car’s DNA system spoils the fun.

The interior looks rather attractive, but it doesn’t take long before you touch the myriad of different plastic finishes and realise that it lacks the tactility of most of its rivals. A new design of seat addresses our previous concerns over a lack of support, but space in the rear is limited compared to the class leaders.

Should I buy one?

Possibly. Whether the Giulietta appeals is largely a matter of whether you value a sporting edge and design flair over the more rounded set of talents provided by the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. 

If you’re swayed by the safer bets, most of Alfa Romeo's 2014 revisions won’t change your mind, but the new engine offers enough to allow Alfa to raise the Giulietta’s game.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta 150 HP 2.0 JTDM Sportiva

Price £25,000 (est); 0-62mph 8.8sec; Top speed 130mph; Economy 67mpg; CO2 110g/km; Kerb weight 1320kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1956cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 280lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
15

24 October 2013

I might try an Alfa Romeo Mito, one day. All reports say Alfa's are very reliable. And anythings better than a Golf. Boring by name, and boring by nature.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

24 October 2013

I've had one, totally unreliable, dash looks like Blackpool seafront most of the time!! I will be buying a 'boring' car next time, and the next etc. Plus I get good money for it when I sell it!

25 October 2013

An interesting article, but PLEASE can we have correct English.

"Feelsome" does not appear in any of my dictionaries, and "edge", as used in the article does not convey what I assume to be the intended meaning.

"Myriad" means "innumerable", and should not therefore be followed by "of". What would Maurice A Smith make of it all?

25 October 2013

Sadly looks more like an old 1956 Morris Oxford than a new 2013 Alfa. And yes Alfas were not known for their reliability more their flair, now this!

25 October 2013

Love the new colour, this car is just cool. Who wants to arrive in the same car as other people. Why not be different and say something about yourself "i.e. i dont give a toss if there is less room in the back, its pretty and i sit in the front!"

25 October 2013
Olilowe wrote:

Who wants to arrive in the same car as other people.

The problem is most people actually want to arrive, I realise that they are not as unreliable as they used to be, but they are certainly still worse than most of the competition.

25 October 2013

I've been driving Alfas since 2007 and in that time I've owned a 2002 156, 2004 156 TI, 2002 156 Sportwagon, 2006 GT JTDm and a 2009 159 JTDm. Not one of those ever broke down in many hundreds of thousands of miles. The only time any of those failed to start was due to a dead battery - my fault. I know of a 147 1.6 TwinSpark with over 250k miles on the clock. This old chestnut about Alfas being so woefully unreliable is about as genuine as the 'expertise' of all of those who slate Alfa Romeo despite having never owned one. That's the inconvenient truth.

Il cuore ha sempre ragione.

25 October 2013
Cuore Sportivo wrote:

I've been driving Alfas since 2007 and in that time I've owned a 2002 156, 2004 156 TI, 2002 156 Sportwagon, 2006 GT JTDm and a 2009 159 JTDm. Not one of those ever broke down in many hundreds of thousands of miles. The only time any of those failed to start was due to a dead battery - my fault. I know of a 147 1.6 TwinSpark with over 250k miles on the clock. This old chestnut about Alfas being so woefully unreliable is about as genuine as the 'expertise' of all of those who slate Alfa Romeo despite having never owned one. That's the inconvenient truth.

Hear, hear!

We've had two Alfas, a FIAT 500 and now have an Abarth over the last ten years.

All have been faultless.

My next car may be the new Spider or another Abarth.

Why follow the sheep when you can have freedom

25 October 2013

This and the 500 are the only half decent Fiat cars these days, pains me to say it being an Alfa owner. So I'm not sure if Fiat can keep 100'000's of Italians employed forever with cars that can't fully complete with the Germans, the French too as they seem to improving in leaps and bounds.

Further proof is the fact in 2012 they lost money and were supported by Chrysler no less! Maybe they should just knock out engines.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

25 October 2013

I have an 156 2.0TS from 2000. It has been completely reliable, the only thing that seem to bee its achilles heel are the front wishbones, wich make noise at the moment.

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