Alfa Romeo Giulietta Alfa Romeo Giulietta


The bold design puts German rivals to shame, while both petrol and diesel versions are extremely frugal with low emissions. Excellent road manners part-compensate for the lack of shove in faster models.


More powerful versions aren’t as fun as the numbers promise and interior material quality is questionable – something that’s generally forgivable, but not at this price. The uncompromisingly Italian driving position also means taller drivers may find it uncomfortable.


Alfa Romeo has gone over its distinctive Volkswagen Golf competitor with a fine comb for 2014, and the revised engines, a new infotainment system and tweaked styling make the 2014 Giulietta worth consideration.

Attractive new alloy wheel designs and unusual colour combinations also help distance it from more humdrum rivals, making the Italian family hatch a tempting, if slightly left field, choice.

The biggest change over the old model is the addition of Alfa Romeo’s ‘Uconnect’ infotainment system, which comes as standard. It means that digital radio, voice command and Bluetooth connectivity are included free of charge, although for the larger 6.5-inch touchscreen buyers will need to specify satellite navigation, at a cost of £1,050.

Starting at £18,235, the new range is split into four trim levels, from Distinctive, which features 16-inch turbine style alloys as well as the standard UConnect system, to Progression, which adds parking sensors, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.

The next rung is Exclusive, which features sports suspension and more aggressive styling features such as 17-inch alloys, although it’s hard to look past the dark 18-inch options fitted to top-spec Sportiva Nav cars. Also included on Sportiva Nav models is the upgraded 6.5-inch UConnect system and stronger brakes.

A refurbished set of engines sits at the apex of the 2014 Giulietta’s list of modifications. All the engines, including the most powerful 1.4 TB MultiAir with 170bhp, are cleaner and, in some case, stronger than before. There’s a 105bhp diesel that might tempt some buyers, but if you can stretch to the more powerful diesel then you should.

Making its debut, the excellent 2.0 JTDM2 is the sweet spot of the range, developing 150bhp – 10bhp more than before – with a surprisingly sonorous diesel exhaust note. Despite this it still returns a combined 67mpg with carbon dioxide emissions of just 100g/km.

Those numbers represent noticeable improvements over the previous turbodiesel unit and with power channelled through a six-speed gearbox with a wonderfully tactile gearstick the diesel Giulietta is as close as you’ll get to perfectly balancing drivability and economy in this revamped lineup.

So the powertrains are good, but the Giulietta’s interior is a tale of two halves. Certainly on higher spec cars you’ll get plenty of leather, supportive seats and a cosseting environment that feels more akin to a coupé than a family hatchback. It’s a warm and charming place to be.

While the new 2014 car represents an improvement, however, materials remain questionable. The tinny plastic panels that adorn the dash and door cards undermine the rest of the cabin and don’t fit with the £29,000+ price tag the higher-spec Giuliettas demand. Charming, yes, but incapable of holding a candle to the Audi A3, or even the dramatically styled SEAT Leon.

Ultimately it’s the same old story. If the flamboyant design and Alfa Romeo brand appeal to you and you can find one at the right price, there’s no reason why the 2014 Giulietta should leave you disappointed. This is particularly true given the car’s excellent ride quality and road manners whether driven hard or casually.

Objectively, however, the fetching but flawed Giulietta’s rivals from Volkswagen Group are superior. Just remember that buying a new car has never been entirely objective and it never will be.

AutoeBid choice: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDM2 150bhp, starting at £21,720 RRP

Comfort                   3 stars

Style                        5 stars

Handling                 4 stars

Depreciation           3 stars

Economy                 4 stars



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