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Week at the Wheel: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.

Week at the Wheel: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf
Handsome and appealing, does Alfa's Giulietta hot hatch have what it takes to match the class leaders?

 



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| Week at the Wheel | Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

The Giulietta Cloverleaf is an Alfa in the purest sense. Fast, good looking and desirable, it has the kind of emotional appeal that so many cars of a similar size and nature lack. Its weak spots are poor visibility, weak residual values and the fact that it's uninspiring in anything other than dynamic mode. If Alfa could sort the latter quality and make the Giulietta a competent all-round performer without the need for switch-flicking, then it would have a very tidy car on its hands.

Key Facts

Model driven: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750 TBi Cloverleaf
Pricing: 25,010 (as at April 2011)
Engine: 1.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hot hatch
Rivals: Mazda3 MPS, SEAT Leon Cupra R, Volkswagen Golf GTI
CO2 emissions: 177g/km
Combined economy: 37.2mpg
Top speed: 150mph
0-62mph: 6.8 seconds
Power: 235bhp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 251lb.ft at 1,900rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

Alfa Romeo's usual blend of easy-on-the-eye lines and just the right amount of aggression makes the Giulietta one handsome beast. The family resemblance is clear, courtesy of the MiTo's sculpted bonnet and the neat, triangular grille, but the Giulietta is still good looking enough to stand out as a model in its own right.

The interior is as classy as the exterior and build quality has improved significantly over Alfas of old. The driver-focused fascia and big climate control dials are a welcome touch but some areas like the indicator stalks feel cheap in comparison to mainstream rivals from Ford and VW.

Ride & Handling: 3 3 3 3 3

Again, the Alfa Giulietta performs best when it's in dynamic mode - it's agile, with sharp responses and a supple ride thanks to the upgraded suspension on the Cloverleaf model. Feedback from the steering is limited though, and if the car is in normal or all-weather modes then it just feels limp and lifeless. Logic dictates that you leave it dynamic all the time, but, as we've mentioned, the Alfa is just too eager in that setting, so there doesn't seem to be a happy medium.

Engine & Transmission: 3 3 3 3 3

Alfa's turbocharged 231bhp 1.7-litre engine is dripping with urge. In dynamic mode, it's sharp, responsive and fast enough to ward off the majority of hot hatchbacks with 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds. Part of the Giulietta's appeal is the fact that you can alter its characteristics by toggling between normal, dynamic and all-weather modes - but that's also its downfall.

Dynamic is best for spirited driving, but it renders the Alfa a little too sharp and jerky for nipping to the shops. Normal dulls the experience and all-weather is even more sedate - so you can't win. The six-speed manual transmission is accurate enough, but its action is a little soft through the gate

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Being the flagship Giulietta, the Cloverleaf isn't short of kit, but it's also the priciest model at 25,010. For that, you get a significant number of cosmetic upgrades along with creature comforts like Bluetooth, climate control and sports suspension. Considering how potent it is, the Alfa's running costs aren't horrendous. Figures of 37.7mpg and 177g/km are quoted - not cheap, but not bad for a hot hatch.


Jack Carfrae. Photography by Max Earey. - 4 Aug 2011









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2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.



2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 

2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf. Image by Max Earey.
 






 

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