By Mike Torpey on 2016-12-16 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
1.6 JTDM-2 Super
THE arguments for and against the Alfa Romeo Giulietta are familiar ones.
A bit like the lean towards fashionable footwear as opposed to stout, sensible shoes.
One option hurts like hell but makes you feel good, the other soft as a slipper but just plain boring.
If you're wondering where the Giulietta fits into the equation, well for starters it's one of the most attractive looking small cars on the road - with even cooler looks thanks to some cosmetic tucks and new headlamps introduced earlier this year.
Run it round sweeping country lanes and the Alfa feels glued to the road; move to the motorway and it holds its own in the outside lane.
There's a shedload of feelgood factor from a car that drips with Italian style both inside and out.
What you may not appreciate is being regularly stuck in traffic, in the six-speed manual models at least, because the clutch is snatchy and the pedals are too close together.
Stay behind the wheel for a couple of hours or more and lower backache can set in.
Thankfully that's about the full extent of the bad news because otherwise the Giulietta is a triumph.
The tested 1.6-litre diesel version not only outperforms its capacity but is also good for an official average fuel figure of 74.3 miles per gallon, even if my own return was closer to 65mpg - decent by any standard.
Tailpipe emissions are also low at 99g/km, meaning there's no road tax to pay.
And while the the Giulietta looks like a three-door coupe due to smartly concealed rear door handles, it is actually a five-door model.
It's ideal for two rear passengers, though you can fit in three at a squeeze, and if you need to cart kids around there are Isofix mounting points for booster seats.
The boot looks on the small side but is actually better than average for the category at 350 litres, which expands to 1,045 litres with the back seats folded down.
Inside, you get a simple, attractive dash with carbon-effect finish, a large flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and fabric/Alcantara seats with the Alfa Romeo logo embossed into the headrests.
There's also Alfa's D.N.A. system, altered via a rocker switch, for flicking between Dynamic, Natural, and All-weather driving modes, and the transmission looks the business with its alloy billiard ball-style gearknob.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 Super
Mechanical: 120ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 10.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 74.3
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 99g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles
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