The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a sporty and stylish looking hatchback but can it put it up to its competitors. Eoin Treacy has spent some time with it in order to see exactly what it is made of.
I’ve always admired the sporty looks of the Giulietta and the most recent facelift which it has received is no different. With the newest facelift the Giulietta gets a new honeycomb grille with black bumper inserts along with some tweaks to the headlight set-up. There are also a number of interior updates in order to bring the Giulietta more in line with some of its competitors. The Giulietta is essentially a small family hatchback which rivals the likes of the VW Golf, the Audi A3 and the Opel Astra. The Giulietta is available in four trim levels, Giulietta, Sport, Super Sport and Super Lux. Standard spec available from the Giulietta trim will get you Uconnect Live services along with a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Alfa DNA driving mode selection, LED daytime running lights, front sports seat and a leather multifunction steering wheel to name but a few. There are a number of petrol and diesel engine options available which can be paired with a manual or automatic transmission.
The subject of this review is the 2.0 JTD 150 bhp Super Sport paired with a 6 speed manual transmission. Super Sport trim brings the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels, fabric and alcantara seats with red stitching, sport rear bumper, side skirts, front splitter with a red trim surround as well as sports suspension along with a twin sports exhaust tailpipes. Carbon effect is added to the headlights as well as featuring strongly inside the cabin and the sporty feel is also added to with the flat bottomed leather steering wheel with red stitching. The red trim on the front splitter definitely catches the eye as you approach and immediately sets the scene for this sporty hatchback.
Sitting inside the Giulietta the first thing that will strike you as it does in every Alfa Romeo is the feel of an interior that is well built. It doesn’t feel as spacious as some of its competitors but it never has and it is not something that has ever bothered me. One thing that I can’t overlook though is how close the pedals are and there is no rest for your left foot when you are on longer journeys. I don’t have the widest feet so the pedals are not a huge issue but I wouldn’t fancy trying to navigate it in a pair of work boots. On the top end of the dash, the binnacle is well laid out and with a little bit of adjustment of the steering wheel visibility of all of the essential information is easily achieved. The 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system is very easy to navigate. A test of any system is how easy is it to connect your phone by Bluetooth and I can gladly say that this is done with ease as are any other tasks carried out through this system. If you want the bigger 6.5-inch screen with Sat-Nav you will have to stump up for the Super Lux trim level.
There is plenty of space up front for the driver and front seat passenger and comfort is provided in the form of fabric and alcantara sports seats which offer ample lumbar support. The rear seat passengers have slightly less space but it is still comfortable and provides two ISOFIX seats. Boot space in the Giulietta is a respectable with ample space for a buggy or a set of golf clubs. You can also fold down the rear seats and while the seats don’t fold completely flat it does offer you a lot more space albeit it is less than some of its rivals.
Where you will really enjoy the Giulietta is when you take to the road. All models of the Giulietta now come with the Alfa DNA dynamic driving modes which allows you to select between normal, dynamic and all-weather. Quite a few cars have the addition of sport buttons to provide that little bit of extra excitement or acceleration but the DNA button in the Giulietta does really give you the feeling that everything changes at the touch of a button. As you cruise along in normal driving mode, press the button forward and hold it for a split second as it selects the dynamic driving mode. You immediately feel more response from the throttle along with a change to the weight of the steering. The brakes are also pre-loaded so they are able to react that bit quicker. The sports suspension of the Super Sport trim is also a welcome addition. If I’m honest, I rarely left the dynamic mode over the course of the test week as it makes the Giulietta so much more fun to drive. It allows you to drive the Giulietta as it was designed to be driven and in a way that is in keeping with its true heritage. This is obviously helped by the fact that my test model was powered by the 150 bhp 2.0 JTD engine which delivers 380 Nm of torque from 1,750 rpm.
Given the generous standard spec available with the Giulietta along with pricing that is more in line with its competitors the Giulietta now has a real fighting chance within the Irish car market which is eventually standing firmly on its own two feet after some of the darkest years in new car sales history.
Engine Size – 2.0 JTD
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 150 bhp
Torque – 380 Nm
Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 8.8 seconds
Top Speed – 210 km/hour
Consumption (Combined) – 5.0 litres/ 100 kilometres
CO2 emissions – 110g / km
Road Tax – €190
Starting Price – € 22,950 Model Tested – € 30,900