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First drive: 2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.

First drive: 2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Useful tweaks inside and out, plus a new engine, mean the Giulietta is back in the game.

 



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| First Drive | Isle of Man | Alfa Romeo Giulietta |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

The Italian firm has never genuinely rivalled some of the C-segment's established leaders, but with a more economical diesel engine and revised specifications, Alfa hopes to take a bigger bite from the cherry.

Key Facts

Model tested: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDM 'Sportiva Nav'
Pricing: 25,220 (Giulietta range starts at 18,235)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Ford Focus, SEAT Leon, Volkswagen Golf
CO2 emissions: 110g/km
Combined economy: 67.2mpg
Top speed: 130mph
0-100km/h: 8.8 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,750rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1,750rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Alfa Romeo is clearly very happy with the existing look of the Giulietta, and why wouldn't it be? Hence the 'facelift' is a minor one to say the least. That instantly recognisable grille has been updated and now features a chrome finish, while the front fog light bezels have also been tweaked. Adding to the refreshed look is a range of new alloy wheels, which in the case of this range-topping 'Sportiva Nav' specification are 18-inch 'Turbine' design featuring a dark titanium finish. A choice of three new colours has been added to the palette - Luna Pearl, Cobalto Blue and Metallo Bronze. True Alfisti will like the Luna Pearl in particular, as it is quite reminiscent of the pearl-effect paint once offered on the Alfa 156.

A restructuring of the four trim levels - all of which are now more generously appointed than before - make the Giulietta a less spec-sensitive car. The interior has also received a makeover, the most noticeable change being the instalment of a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard fitment on the highest trim level, which serves as the infotainment system. Alfa's designers have been keen to add more style to the interior and so have opted for new colour options while front seats add additional side support. Other minor changes, such as the relocation of the USB port, improve cabin layout and ergonomics, although it isn't without its foibles - the seat back adjustment is impeded if your seat belt is already on for instance.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Despite the minor cosmetic detail updates, no significant mechanical changes have been made under the skin on the Giulietta. The big news is the introduction of a new 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is one of the best units to come from Alfa in recent times. Thanks to a new injection process, the engine manages to deliver better performance and fuel economy than before, and is noticeably more pleasant to drive. It pulls well from low in the rev range and doesn't need to be revved to extract the majority of its potential.

The Giulietta may not offer the quietest of drives but overall it performs adequately on a variety of surfaces. Alfa Romeo claims to have improved overall noise insulation through re-designs in the areas that offend most, such as the front wheel-arches and boot. The Giulietta's suspension is well setup to suit the needs of most and even when driven spiritedly across the Isle of Man's TT Course demonstrated a setup that was balanced and accommodating to most tastes.

Those that take an interest in their driving beyond simply commuting will like the Giulietta's well-weighted steering and the level of feedback offered is greater than that of some of its rivals. In town driving that newer diesel engine is a touch on the noisy side, but the performance it offers does compensate somewhat for it.

What you get for your Money: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Although prices have risen slightly, the updated Giulietta does offer better value for money thanks mainly to its improved specification levels, which in the case of the upper two models, represent savings of 2,000 and 2,500 respectively.

Worth Noting

Even though the new engine is more powerful to the tune of an extra 10hp, Alfa has reduced emissions by 9g/km, which has allowed the Giulietta to drop into the 17% BIK band.

Summary

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta isn't the cheapest car in its segment, but those looking for a genuine alternative to the usual suspects will appreciate the updated model. It doesn't offer the same levels of refinement as some of its rivals but by no means is it a bad car, and with its new diesel engine it's a more appealing proposition to buyers.


Dave Humphreys - 26 Mar 2014









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2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.



2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Image by Alfa Romeo.
 






 

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