Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback
Price £18,240 - £30,280
- Interesting looks
- Superb MultiAir petrol engines
- Stylish interior layout
- Uncomfortable driving position
- Cramped rear space
- List prices a bit high
At a glance
"The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has distinctive looks and is fun to drive, but it's not a well-rounded as the best in class."
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta competes with cars such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in the small family car segment. Alfa Romeo has a strong heritage in motorsport and the Giulietta plays to this with driving experience that focuses on being sporty rather than outright comfort. The Giulietta also has more eye-catching looks than most of its rivals.
The Giulietta has received a number of updates for 2014, which include reduced prices, some subtle styling changes, an updated interior, revised trim levels, and new engines. The range starts with basic Progression trim, which is followed by Distinctive, Exclusive, and top-of-the-range Sportiva Nav.
The updated model gets a new version of Alfa Romeo's 2.0-litre diesel engine, which has lower emissions improved performance, and is also quieter inside thanks to improved sound deadening. A performance model in the shape of the Quadrifoglio Verde is also available.
All models now get a five-inch touchscreen, while the Sportiva Nav gets the high-res 6.5-inch version as standard. Buyers can now also opt for leather trim on the cars doors and dashboard.
MPG, running costs & CO2
A good mix of performance and economy
An 118bhp 1.4-litre engine powers the basic Alfa Romeo Giulietta that returns economy of 44.1mpg and emissions of 148g/km that means the model will cost £145 to tax. The other petrol option are the 168bhp petrol, which give much more performance, but actually has better economy of 49.6mpg and lower emissions that mean road tax is £130 yearly.
Topping the range is the Quadrifoglio Verde which develops 237bhp from its 1.75-litre engine. Running costs climb to £200 a year in road tax by vertue of its CO2 emissions of 162g/km, while it'll struggle to return 40mpg.
Buyers can also choose from three diesel engines. The cheapest is 1.6-litres in size and can return 70.6mpg combined, its low emissions mean road tax is just £20 annually. The other diesels are both 2.0-litre engines, producing either 148bhp, or 173bhp. The lower powered of the two is capable of 67.3mpg and road tax remains at £20. The 173bhp version returns 67mpg, but tax is slightly higher at £30 annually.
Interior & comfort
The interior is quiet, but compromised
Although the Alfa Romeo Giulietta still can’t match the interior quality of the Volkswagen Golf, it has been improved for 2014 meaning the Giulietta is now a nicer car to sit in. Speccing a leather interior for the car, in particular, lift the cabin's appearance and we’d also recommend going for the 6.5-inch touchscreen, which is an option on all but the top spec model.
The interior of the old Giulietta was quiet and the same is true in the revised model. Unfortunately, the uncomfortable cabin is another carry-over feature.
Practicality & boot space
There’s an average boot and not much storage
The Alfa's 350-litre boot is a reasonable size, being bigger than the Ford Focus’ (316 litres), but smaller than the Volkswagen Golf's (380 litres). Although Giulietta's are all five-door cars, the back seat is cramped and legroom is also tight. There are storage areas dotted around the cabin, but the central armrest cubby and glovebox are both pretty small. Even the driver doesn’t escape thanks to a cramped pedal box, meaning its hard to get your feet comfortable.
Reliability & safety
Very safe and getting more reliable all the time
Alfa Romeo in the past has had a relatively poor reputation for reliability but, if the results of our 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey are anything to go by, this seems to be changing. As a manufacturer Alfa Romeo finished mid-table – coming 17th out of 32 manufacturers – but as a model the Giulietta did exceptionally well – finishing 7th ahead of plenty of more expensive machines.
The Giulietta was crash tested in 2010 by Euro NCAP and was awarded the full five stars and gets the full complement of air bags, seat-belt warning buzzers, and Electronic Stability Control.
Engines, drive & performance
More powerful petrol and diesel engines are the best
Aside from the entry-level 1.6-litre diesel, which takes a relatively lethargic 11.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph, there isn’t really a slow version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The basic petrol pulls of the same feat in 9.4 seconds, while the more powerful petrol does it in 7.6 seconds.
The 148bhp diesel gets from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds and the 173bhp version does it in 7.9 seconds.
The powerful diesel engine makes the Giulietta an excellent motorway cruiser, but all manage to be good in town, down country roads, and out on the motorway. All models get Alfa's D.N.A. control switch that lets you alter the setup of the car by changing the sensitivity of the throttle pedal and the weight of the steering.
Alfa recently introduced the sporty Quadrifoglio Verde (QV) edition of the Giulietta, which has a 237bhp engine and six-speed gearbox from the company's 4C sports car, and it is the fastest model available in the range. While the engine sounds great and means the car can do 0-62 mph in six seconds, it still isn’t as entertaining - or as comfortable - to drive as the VW Golf GTI, Seat Leon Cupra or Ford Focus ST. Considering the QV version is also quite expensive, it's not a model we'd recommend.
Price, value for money & options
Top spec models feel plush
The new trims levels for the 2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta represent better value than the old car's. Even the basic model gets equipment such as alloy wheels, a 5-inch touchscreen, air conditioning, and a DAB radio. Next-level-up Distinctive models get cruise control, climate control, and rear parking secnsors, while Exclusive adds to that list with things like a leather interior, as well as automatic wipers and lights. Top-spec Sportiva NAV models get a more upmarket leather interior, bigger brakes (for increased stopping power), a sports steering wheel, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
What the others say
"Pretty design, attractive cabin and charismatic petrol engines, but poor driving position, lack of rear space and lifeless steering."
"What a very, very good car this is. The Giulietta - Alfa's long-awaited replacement for the 147 - is, by every grown-up, road-testerish criterion, a genuine rival for the Golf and A3."
"As with any Alfa Romeo, much of the Giulietta’s appeal lies in its distinctive styling. Look beyond that and it’s competent, but not class leading. It’s neither the roomiest small family hatch, nor the best to drive, but it’s available with some fine engines and its quirky cabin design is a break from the norm."
"The name Guilietta is a blast from the past – perhaps a sign Alfa Romeo may be wanting to cash in on its beautiful 1970s namesake, but its latest offering simply does not have anything remotely resembling the Guiliettas from the Italian firm’s glory days. This car, a stylish hatchback replacing the 147, is entirely predictable."