By Patrick James on 2017-06-09 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
1.6 JTDM-2 Super
WHEN it comes to famous marques few invoke as much passion as Alfa Romeo.
A brand which has been around for more than 100 years, it is synonymous with Italian ultra-chic styling and racing pedigree, from Formula 1 to touring car racing, but some have argued that there was more concern with style over substance, but what style.
Alfa is more mainstream these days, although still capable of producing hot road cars.If the firm's market has changed, its design legacy lives on with its unmistakeable signature look still turning heads wherever it goes.
The latest Alfa Romeo Giulietta looks a firecracker, but under the skin it is much more staid and sensible, particularly in the case of the diesel model driven here, but performance-wise, it still retains some of its original sporting DNA.
We will come to DNA a bit later, but it would a shame not to dwell more on the typically Italian styling.
The Alfa shield is instantly recognisable as is the offset number plate, which to me still looks slightly odd while both are flanked by large recently restyled eliptical headlights and a deep air scoop.
The swooping styling is neatly complemented by smart alloys, while the rear completes to sporty effect with twin exhausts and racy light clusters.
The car itself, for a mid-range hatch offer something a bit extra with its dynamic, styling, accentuated by the concealed door handles to the rear, which can fool you into thinking this five door is more of a three door coupe.
The interior too is cool and chic with simple rotary dial controls, three spoke multi-function steering wheel and neat and logical binnacle layout and touchscreen of major functions like connectivity, navigation and infotainment.
The interior finish is classy with nice soft touch finish and bright chrome finish on pedals and dials.
The Alfa logo is also prominent on the leather finish seats, which are comfortable enough but a pain trying to find the ideal driving position.
Interior space is not fantastic, fitting in four adults, with a fifth become a bit of a squeeze.However headroom and legroom is good in the front, but the swooping styling means it is compromised in the rear.Boot space is pretty good with 350 litres which expands to 1,045 with the rear seats folded.
The Giulietta is pretty well kitted out with even the base model getting electric windows and door mirrors, alloys, DAB radio and Bluetooth with USB connectivity for music systems.
On the road, the diesel proved to be both lively and frugal, with in excess of 70mpg claimed and low emissions of 99g/km of CO2. In the real world I reckon I was nearer to 60mpg.
But it delivers decent pace through its DNA, a switch which allows the driver to select one of three drive modes, Dynamic, Natural and All-weather.
Natural mode is plenty for most conditions, but if you fancy a bit more zip, switch to dynamic, which delivers sharper throttle, brake and steering wheel response and a throatier exhaust note.
It really sharpens the chassis setting so the car can be thrown into corners in the knowledge with cling limpet-like to the road.
It is also an excellent motorway performer, the 120ps diesel delivering plenty of torque for safer overtaking. Noise and vibration is kept to a minimum through good soundproofing, while engine noise barely intrudes.
Safety kit is impressive with six airbags, stability programme, hill hold and parking sensors.
The range starts at £18,450, but you do get plenty of standard kit for your money.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 Super
Mechanical: 120ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 10 seconds
Combined MPG: 74.3
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 99g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles
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