IT'S always nice to stand out from the crowd and that's something the Alfa Romeo marque has successfully achieved over the years with cars that always stopped onlookers in their tracks.
Admittedly, the cars are not always the most practical and, in years gone by, reliability became quite an issue, but that reputation has long been buried and with breakdowns a thing of the past, the Alfa Romeo brand is looking forward to a bright future.
And one of the most eye-catching family hatchbacks to arrive on the scene in recent years is the five-door Giulietta with its sleek streamlining, 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, black honeycomb grille, dark tinted windows and piano black bumper inserts.
And befitting a car from a company steeped in motor sport heritage, this particular model boasted Alfa Red paint and, of course, a rear spoiler.
The Guilietta certainly looks athletic and the interior is beautifully styled too with plenty of Italian flair on show.
Techno treats include the likes of an Uconnect 6.5-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone connectivity and six speakers.
There is dual zone climate control, stop/start, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and plenty more.
This car, priced at Â£22,500 (Â£24,790 with options), was powered by a 1.6-litre 120bhp diesel engine mated to Alfa's double-clutch TCT six-speed automatic gearbox.
It could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds and topped out at 121mph. According to official figures, the combined fuel economy is 74.3mpg with carbon emissions of 99g/km.
In town centres, the Guilietta was beautifully agile as it weaved its way through the traffic.
But in all reality, the car really comes alive when it's put through its paces out on the open road. That's because the Giulietta comes fitted with a DNA system - driving modes aptly called dynamic, natural and all-weather.
When the car is in All-weather mode it copes better with more severe conditions and when it's set to Natural it delivers a very efficient, comfortable and enjoyable ride for day-to-day driving.
However, flick the toggle switch across to Dynamic and the Giulietta bursts into life. Everything seems to wake up - the rev counter, throttle, acceleration and gear shifts make it feel like you are driving a completely different car.
Many manufacturers produce cars with a ‘sport' or ‘dynamic' mode and it make little difference to the ride and handling. That's certainly not true of the Giulietta which can be launched into long, sweeping bends with confidence.
The road-holding is super grippy and the whole driving experience is guaranteed to make you smile. Of course, there must be some compromise and that comes in the shape of comfort. In Dynamic mode the ride becomes quite firm and cabin noise is also much louder.
Generally, comfort levels are good within the car but the coupe styling means that back seat passengers will be complaining after a short while due to the limited leg room.
Storage options are good with a boot capacity of 350 litres which can be increased to a respectable 1,045 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. In the cabin there is a cooled glovebox, door pockets and cup holders that could be a little deeper in order to safely transport hot drinks with any confidence.
And the Giulietta is also kitted out with a comprehensive list of safety features making it quite the appealing package.