Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The 2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta looks good by the standards of its peers, as you’d expect from any Alfa Romeo.
While it might not look as delicately beautiful as its predecessor, the 147, it’s still an attractive machine in a sea of bland hatchbacks. But then, to Alfa styling is very nearly as important as the engines thrown under the bonnet and the sporty handling.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is particularly distinctive from the front with its shield grille and there are little touches like the rear door handles located up at the back edge of the backseat windows.
These touches show some thought has gone into the look and packaging.
The front row is spacious with a good range of adjustment for the driver, plus the backseat was more than comfortable enough for a six-footer.
But the rear configuration is a bit deceptive; while it’s a five-seater the car is best restricted to four adults, although three children could be seated across the back without too much trouble.
In true Alfa Romeo style practicality is a bit ‘hit and miss’. The hand-brake is awkwardly positioned next to the small centre console, which, thanks to this being a small car, has to be tilted back out of the way to get to the small drinks holders.
The seat memory buttons are on the side of the seat, all too easily confused with the seat adjustment and invisible.
The other quirk was the brake pedal which is located lower than the throttle, making it hard to, heel-and-toe shift, but for most people that’s not a concern.
The ventilation controls are big, there are easy buttons to use and Alfa has made a storage compartment on the top of the dash, like Subaru. I wish all manufacturers were as thoughtful. The glove box is unusually deep.
On the entertainment front there’s a USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming and… no CD player. Disappointingly a reverse camera isn’t available, though it does have rear parking sensors.
The rear cargo compartment is unlocked in cliché Alfa Romeo fashion. You press the Alfa Romeo badge, which is cool, but then there’s no grip for your fingers to lift up the door.
This means Alfa have again managed to design something that is all at once unusual, stylish, cool and yet kind of impractical and non-intuitive.
Once the tailgate is up its all good – you will find a large load area, four robust tie-down points, a well-positioned light, 12v socket, side pockets and a hatch to the second row for carrying long items.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta interior design is typical Alfa Romeo, which means its above-average compared to everything else.
The steering wheel is a particular pleasure thanks to the QV Line package which gives you a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Under the bonnet of the entry-level Progressive and Distinctive grades of the Alfa is a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Multiair engine that produces 125kW and 250Nm of torque.
The engine is tractable and easily revved without fuss to redline should you want to crack on. Fuel consumption comes in at a claimed combined 5.1L/100km (automatic) and 5.7L/100km (manual).
The Alfa Romeo Giuletta is also available with a larger 177kW/340Nm 1.8 litre turbo engine in the more expensive Quadrifoglio Verde variant.
The gearshift is slick and the seats support reasonably well so much of the basics for a sporty drive are in place.
Grip levels in the Giulietta are impressive, almost up there with an all-wheel-drive and it’s very neutral too – doesn’t run wide or tuck in too tight. But it is artificial, relying on the electronics to help it out rather than the chassis.
Around town the Alfa suffers a bit with a tediously large 10.9m turning circle which is the same as some 7-seat SUVs. Clearance is fine, so you need not worry about speed bumps or drains across driveways.
The ride is comfortable to firm, and the suspension is smooth, offering a well-cushioned ride and ability to deal with surface imperfections.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta comes with a full five-star safety rating.
Summing it up; for years Alfa had a reputation for less than market-leading quality, but at some point we need to leave the sins of the fathers behind and focus on the here and now reality of the modern day.
The 2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta seems well put together, and nothing seemed to be flimsy.
If a little style is what you’re after and you don’t mind paying a little extra and putting up with a few ‘quirks’, then the Alfa Romeo Giulietta might well be worth a test drive.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Engine: 1.4 litre turbo-petrol producing 125kW and 250Nm or 1.8 litre turbo-petrol producing 177kW and 340Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto or six-speed manual
Safety: Five stars