New diesel makes good sense on motorway runs but isn’t as usable as we’d have hoped elsewhere

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

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Add a comment…
Mr_H 9 July 2011

Re: Alfa Giulietta 2.0 JTDm 140

Richard H wrote:
I'm on my second Alfa and the next car will be an Alfa
Yep, me too - what's wrong with some of the Alfa haters on here? Is it that they can't bear people buying, owning, and being very satisfied with a beautiful Italian car with a cracking engine and handling, superb build quality and a delightful interior which makes even traffic jams a pleasure? Do they think we should all be driving around in black Audi A4s with black interiors just like everybody else seems to these days? Get over yourselves - the Giulietta is a credible and handsome family car, which should give any Focus, Golf, A3 or Astra a run for its money, whilst putting, and keeping a smile on the driver's face - what's wrong with that? More to the point, what is wrong with some of the Alfa bashers who regularly post total drivel!

TheBigUnit 23 June 2011

Re: Alfa Giulietta 2.0 JTDm 140

Autocar have tested the top spec Alfa. Again, if the comparison was like-for-like it would be the mid-spec Lusso, against the Ford's comparable offering, Titanium. In these specs the Ford costs £20745, and the Alfa? £20750. I would not call that significantly cheaper.

disco.stu 23 June 2011

Re: Alfa Giulietta 2.0 JTDm 140

RadeB wrote:
disco.stu wrote:
I know it's only Wednesday

disco.stu you made me a little panicking. I thought I came today at work in vain, because Wednesday supposed to be my day off.

God is it Thursday already?

Sorry, I'll just collect my spanner on the way out...