In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback - Engines, drive & performance (2010-2021)

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta offers reasonable performance and has decent handling

Carbuyer Rating

2.6 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

There isn’t really a slow version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta – both the petrol and diesel models provide a reasonable turn of speed. Every model performs well in town, on country roads and on the motorway.

All models have Alfa’s DNA control switch, which lets you alter the setup of the car by changing the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal and the weight of the steering. But it’s not an ideal system and each mode has its drawbacks. The Dynamic mode, for instance, makes the Giulietta respond in a livelier fashion to your inputs – not necessarily a good thing in heavy traffic, where smooth driving is required. The steering also becomes too heavy in this mode.

Overall, though, the Giulietta’s handling is decent. There’s enough grip and not much body lean when driving around corners. The suspension’s a little on the firm side – more so on the higher trim levels with larger alloy wheels. On most roads this won’t be a problem and the Giulietta’s ride comfort is perfectly acceptable, but hit any larger bumps and you’ll know about it.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta petrol engine

The 1.4-litre petrol model with 118bhp does 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds, which is relatively perky for the class. It’s a willing performer and like most Alfa Romeos it sounds good too – but it’s not a class leader in any respect. Most rivals can offer similar, or better, performance while offering much better economy.

Diesel engines

The cheapest diesel engine is a 118bhp 1.6-litre, which takes a fairly average 10 seconds to get from 0-62mph, and with the semi-automatic gearbox it’s slightly slower, recording a 10.2-second 0-62mph time. It's quiet at low revs but gets a bit noisy if you change down gears and rev it. We wouldn’t recommend the automatic on this engine; it can be slow to select the right gear, meaning you can't always make full use of the engine's power.

A 2.0-litre diesel engine rejoined the range in early 2019 when the range-topping Veloce trim was reintroduced. It’s only available with the automatic gearbox, but has 168bhp and reduces the 0-62mph time to a respectable 8.3 seconds.

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