Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 MultiAir17021 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Alfa Romeo is back in the big time, and the stylish new Giulietta is leading the way

    FOR THOSE OF you who may have missed the news, Alfa Romeo is back! And not content with the success driven by its MiTo range, the Italian manufacturer — celebrating its centenary year — is about to take the battle to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in the shape of its new Giulietta.

    A five-door hatch, the Giulietta comes with a choice of very sporty engines designed to put the fun back into motoring. While the halo effect model is the Cloverleaf, with its 235bhp 1750TBI engine, none of the models across the rest of the range has anything less than 170bhp; and that includes not only the two-litre JTDm turbo diesel, but also the stunningly clever 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo petrol.

    At a time when downsizing is the unquestionable route to go for more and more motorists, the Fiat Group’s (yes, remember Fiat owns Alfa Romeo) MultiAir technology is state-of-the-art and in 1.4-litre MultiAir guise it’s the most advanced Giulietta of all.

    Without delving too much into the world to technical details, the little 1.4-litre engine delivers the seemingly impossible combination of strong power and torque (168bhp at 5500rpm and 184lb ft at 2500 rpm); in simple terms, that means the car has bags of pulling power and pace by the bucketload. What does it mean in bare figures? How about a top speed of 135mph and 0-62mph in 7.8secs? Just for good measure, it has extremely frugal Euro 5 emissions standards of just 134gmCO2/km and combined fuel consumption of 48mpg; phew!

    It’s mastered the art of modern day styling

    Great car to drive

    And don’t think just because the car has a 1.4-litre petrol engine that it’s a wheezy, gutless wonder; nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. Exceptionally smooth and quiet at low revs, it will dawdle through your nearest picturesque Perthshire village without causing a fuss. Delicately light power-steering ensures navigating even the tightest spot in town is effortless.

    But the Giulietta is also a great car to drive. Get it out on to the motorway or back road, start using the car’s power and you’ll be rewarded by a wonderfully pleasant Alfa-style rasp. Boosted by class-leading grip and poise in corners, the Giulietta always remains balanced and accurate. Believe it or not, despite being able to have this much fun, the Giulietta will return close to 500 miles from your 60 litre fuel tank.

    The Giulietta is available in three trim levels and a choice of four engines (1.4 litre/104bhp and 2.0 litre/168bhp turbodiesels; 1.4 litre/118bhp and 1.4 litre MultiAir/168bhp petrol turbos). All models come with Stop&Start, six-speed stick-shift gearboxes, a “DNA” switch on their consoles offering two different regimes (plus a Snow setting) — which vary steering effort, accelerator response, electronic stability intervention and settings for the Q2 electronic differential — as standard.

    Alfa's returning to its best

    The two trim levels for the regular, non-Cloverleaf cars are called Progression and Distinctive, the latter being the more expensive and including dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, a leather steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, a radio/CD/MP3 player, foglights, a reconfigurable instrument pane and seats upholstered in Competizione fabric, among other things.

    Just for good measure, there are also two custom packs. Sport includes 17in or 18in alloy wheels, side skirts, sports pedals and enhanced interior trim, while Premium consists of bi-xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, electrically folding door mirrors and an electrochromic rear-view mirror.

    It’s clear then that Alfa Romeo is returning to its best. With a new impetus in the UK and a major overhauling of its dealerships and procedures, Alfa has already shown with the MiTo that it’s mastered the art of modern day styling and marketing.

    The Giulietta ratches the Alfa comeback up another few significant notches. It’s a car owners will love to drive. It’s fun; and it’s an Alfa.

    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £19,495 / £20,985
    Engine / Power: 1398cc / 168bhp
    How fast?: 0-60 mph 10.5secs, Max 139mph
    How big/heavy?: H1465mm W1798mm L4351mm / 1320kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 48.7mpg / CO2 134g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 23 /
    Alternatives: VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra

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