THE sporty coupe lurking inside a hatchback body is a quality that is immediately apparent when you get behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
But Alfas have always been like that. Putting on the big show of style is something the brand has always done and done well.
In a modern environment the range has to pay at least some homage to practicality and family friendliness but the Giulietta, although a five-door hatchback still looks almost GT-ish due to the rear door handles being concealed in the door surrounds.
This car is a rival to the likes of the Audi A3 and VW Golf and offers its own brand of sharp-suited looks and sometimes quirky features to pass the chequered flag in a flourish of sheer zest for life and pure personality.
Although once a pure petrol range, Alfa Romeo is now also a strong fielder of diesels and the 1.6 JTDm 120bhp unit fitted to this car was a punchy performer with 121mph on tap plus a 0-62mph sprint factor of 10 seconds clear.
Alfas were hardly bought for economy years ago, but these days things are different. The car has a combined economy figure of 74.3mpg and, amazingly, CO2 emissions are right in the happy zone at 99 g/km.
Living with an Alfa is different to most other competitors. For instance the pedals are spaced differently. I found that they were not really designed for good old British size 11s and the clutch pedal was very close to the transmission tunnel with no footrest.
Headroom can be interesting for the very tall, and the centre of the three seats in the rear is not really designed for a heavyweight.
But that apart, this car is a dream of a drive. The twin-clutch six-speed automatic transmission handles the power beautifully and like all Alfas the car seems glued to the road on bends.
In some quarters the ride quality has been criticised, but I found its firm and confident interpretation of road surfaces reassuring.
Then there is Alfa's DNA system, altered via a rocker switch, for flicking between Dynamic, Natural, and All-weather driving modes, making sure that whoever is behind the wheel will never get cheesed off by bedazzling them with a multi-faceted character.
Another useful feature is the Uconnect five-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth hands-free system, voice commands USB connectivity and SMS reader - a must for modern living.
But at the end of the day it is all about individual choice.