It’s been a while since I’ve sat in an Alfa Romeo. I’ve missed them a bit and thankfully with the new Giulia making its way to Ireland, I can look forward to sitting behind the wheel of one again very soon. Last week I re-acquainted myself with the brand when I picked up the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. This small car has some extremely tough competition from the likes of Volkswagen with the Golf, BMW with the X1 and Audi with the excellent A3. Does Alfa stand a chance though, with a reputation of not being the most reliable cars in the world?
Alfa Romeo is renowned for having very sexy-looking cars. The Giulietta is one such car. It's exterior is sexy as hell and it is a head turner. The good news for punters is that this an enjoyable car too. Exterior curves make this a stand-out machine, and the Alfa grille and badge make the front so appealing.
Step inside to the Alfa Romeo and some of that sexiness disappears. It’s not that it’s a bad cabin, the problem for me is that there is not much uniqueness to it. The layout could be from any other car in the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) range. The touchscreen looks like what you’d find in a Jeep Renegade or a Fiat 500X. In fairness, FCA aren’t the only brand to share stuff between their manufacturers – I mean there are a lot of similarities between Volkswagen and SEAT when it comes to this type of stuff.
Other things that didn’t excite me about the interior is the lack of leg room to the rear – it’s tight in there. The Alfa pedals are beautiful to look at (I’ve never said that about pedals before), but they are spaced far too close together. There is no room to rest your left foot and the accelerator and brake feel too close together.
Thankfully, a lot of the flaws of the interior are soon forgotten because the Giulietta is a fun car to drive. We were driving the 2.0 JTD version which offers 150 bhp. It offers excellent grip and nice ride comfort. The car has a driving mode selector too which gives you three choices to choose from; Dynamic, Natural and All-Weather. We drove mainly in Dynamic and Natural. The car becomes very gutsy in Dynamic, and at times it feels a little too eager. Unlike some other cars, there is a very clear difference between driving modes. The brakes are a little bit jumpy, but this is something that you soon get used to. We medalled with the All-Weather mode, but everything felt a little too unreactive.
We drove the Super Sport trim, which meant that we got some very nice 17” alloy wheels, enlarged exhaust pipes and a rear spoiler. Entry level prices for the Super Sport trim starts from €25,321. To get behind the wheel of a base level Giulietta, prices start from €21,950.
While the Giulietta is a very sexy car, where it falls against its competition is in the cabin. If the quality was a little better and the interior view a little bit more unique, this would stand more of a chance. That said though, this is a fun car to drive and once you kick it into dynamic mode, you should enjoy the ride.