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Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2013 review

EXPERT RATING
7
This car generally wouldn't be on anyone's radar except for a few 'Alfisti'-- Alfa Romeo lovers.

This car generally wouldn't be on anyone's radar except for a few 'Alfisti'-- Alfa Romeo lovers. The Giulietta is a small, five door hatch with arresting looks coupled with up-to-the-minute powertrain technology. But it hasn't always been given the attention it deserves.

PRICE

Alfa has been in Australia for ages but the previous importer over-priced them against stove hot competition. They didn't sell many. That may change with a new importer intent on making an impression. This particular model starts at a super competitive $25,000 drive away.

Our test drive car goes for $29,450 drive away. It's a compelling argument when compared with other European offerings because there's an air of exclusivity with Alfa you just don't get with VW, Mini, Citroen or Peugeot. Alfa falls closer to BMW, Benz and Audi in the pecking order.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

The Giulietta engine includes a clever valve system called MultiAir, that uses small 'solenoid' thrusters instead of an inlet camshaft. Our turbo 125kW/250Nm 1.4-litre petrol test car also had a six-speed, twin-clutch 'manumatic' transmission (TCT) with paddle shift, engine stop/start and what Alfa calls DNA -- a multi mode drive select system -- Dynamic, Natural and All weather.

In terms of performance, the Giulietta Progression TCT we drove puts away a 0-100kmh sprint in a reasonable 7.8 seconds and uses a mere 5.2-litre/100km on the combined cycle.

DESIGN AND FEATURES

We are in two minds about the look -- especially the front which seems inspired by Edvard Munch's famous painting 'Scream' -- and it rolls on 16-inch alloys (should be 17s at least) and has a space saver spare. Other angles are much more attractive and include 'secret' rear door handles.

The stylish interior has a few functionality issues but is otherwise easy on the eye and well laid out. There are too many stalks on the steering column which suggests afterthought. The red readouts can be difficult to read and some control buttons seem superfluous. The seats are OK with cloth upholstery and rear seat legroom is tight.

The drive experience is improved with driver assist features including hill hold, auto wipers and headlights, the paddle shift and Bluetooth.

DRIVING

The car offered spirited engine performance across a wide engine rev range. If left in D mode, there's rarely a point when you are left wondering. With either N or A on the DNA selector it's another story -- doughy, rushing to a high gear, lethargic throttle response. It can be problematic if you need instant acceleration.

The stop/start system can hesitate when restarting which is disconcerting especially when you need quick get go.
But other aspects of the Giulietta are impressive -- it's dynamite ride and handling, and the pleasing exhaust note that burbles out the back (as befits an Alfa four cylinder).

Alfa's reputation for sportiness is upheld in the Giulietta. It has quick, well weighted steering, supple but controlled suspension and good brakes. The chassis feels rock solid -- which in D mode optimises the transmission and throttle response among other variables. Suspension is via a strut front and multi-link rear with wishbones all round. It's the ideal set-up bestowing the Giulietta with dynamics that will appeal to an enthusiast-type driver.

VERDICT

We  think the Giulietta will polarise potential buyers on a number of counts -- the style and idiosyncrasies for a start. But it has incredible 'cut-through' on the street due to its gorgeous styling. People look, especially if it's classic Alfa red.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Progression
Price: from $29,450
Warranty: 5 years roadside assist, 3 years 150,000km
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder turbo, 125kW/250Nm
Transmission: 6-speed dual clutch auto, FWD
Thirst: 5.2L/100Km, CO2 121g/km  

Pricing guides

$10,999
Based on 51 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,888
Highest Price
$18,750

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.4 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,888 – 7,990 2013 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2013 1.4 Pricing and Specs
Distinctive 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $9,999 – 10,588 2013 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2013 Distinctive Pricing and Specs
Distinctive JTD-M 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $12,888 – 16,995 2013 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2013 Distinctive JTD-M Pricing and Specs
Progression 1.4 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,990 – 11,990 2013 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2013 Progression 1.4 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7