CARS are all about passion. They provoke strong opinions among owners, designers and even uninvolved onlookers.
In the case of Italian cars those heart-felt emotions can be multiplied many times over.
With a heritage steeped in motor sport, the nation is rightly proud of its illustrious names - Ferarri, Lamborghini, Maserati and Alfa Romeo.
And this is partly why the Alfa Giulietta, a family hatchback which rivals Golf and Focus, is such a pretty car. The emotion that has gone into its design is there for all to see...but is it merely skin-deep beauty?
I drove the 1.6 JTDM-2 Business Edition, which as the name suggests is aimed at company buyers chiefly because it scrapes under the all-important 100 gram emissions barrier and reduces benefit in kind company car tax.
It's also very cheap to fuel with everyday consumption of around 50mpg. The official - but unattainable - combined figure is 74.3mpg.
Like most Alfas, it drives well with grippy road-holding and good turn of speed, despite the frugal economy.
The 1,598cc diesel engine knocks out a healthy 120bhp and has ample torque to enable it to pull strongly in high gear.
The six-speed manual gearbox is better and slicker than Alfas of old with well spaced ratios that help make the Giulietta a nimble cross-country hatch.
Whether you choose to row through the gears are take advantage of the ample torque, it performs better than most of its peers with a sprint to 60mph in 10seconds and a max of 120mph.
The ride gets a bit fidgety over all but the smoothest surfaces and passengers aren't always insulated against the jolts. It rolls very little during swift cornering and there is little sign of steering tug, one of the less attractive features of front drive models.
A ‘DNA' switch is positioned near the gear lever designed to offer a choice of driving modes between dynamic, natural or all-weather, according to the driver's demands or the conditions.
I stayed in dynamic mode most of the time which delivers sharp responses and is more suited the nature of the car.
Noise levels are low thanks to the smooth diesel unit and extra sound-proofing incorporated when the range was facelifted in 2014.
The cabin is less spacious than some competitors, particularly in terms of rear legroom.
I found the driving position comfortable enough but the backrest adjustment knob is difficult to reach. The pedals are quite close together, so it pays not to drive in clumsy shoes.
The hatchback boot can carry 350 litres of luggage which is about the class average, but stowage space within the cabin is limited.
Standard equipment is generous and includes metallic paint, dual climate control, DAB radio, 6.5-inch touch screen with sat nav, parking sensors and height adjustable front seats. Heated front seats are a £260 extra and a double glass sliding sunroof will set you back £1,200.