Alfa Romeo Giulietta

- Used Car Review

Alfa Romeo Giulietta, front
Alfa Romeo Giulietta, side
Alfa Romeo Giulietta, rear
Alfa Romeo Giulietta, boot
Alfa Romeo Giulietta, interior

IF you're looking for a more individual and sporting family hatch - something that stands out in the car park - the Alfa Giulietta could be just the ticket.

With its ‘hidden' rear door handles, it looks like a coupe from some angles, and whichever engine you choose, the performance is good to superb.

After 2014, it also comes with Alfa's electronic DNA system, which can be used to modify your driving experience at the turn of a switch.

Unlike other such systems - often from the makers of far more expensive cars - this really makes a noticeable difference.

It uses the engine's management computer to change the character of the sleek five door, and in Dynamic mode, improves response from both the engine and the steering, giving a much more enjoyable and responsive drive.

Having said that, it's not slow when in Normal mode, and the third All Weather setting reduces power and/or torque to give more traction in snow and ice.

There are two petrol engines with four power outputs. The smallest 1.4 is turbocharged to give either 120, 150 or a stonking 170bhp, and the range topping Cloverleaf gets a 1.75 unit with no less than 231bhp.

This last brings superb performance, with 0 to 60 taking just 6.6 seconds, but the 120bhp 1.4 is still reasonably quick, taking a decent 9.1 seconds, and it can average 45 miles per gallon.

There are five diesel options - a 1.6 with 105 or later 120bhp and a 2 litre with either 140, 150 or 170.

All have good to excellent performance, with the 120bhp 1.6 taking a decent 9.7 seconds to 60 and the 150bhp models 8.5.

But of course, they are the economy cars in the range, managing between 60 and 74 miles per gallon average.

Economy is more important than out and out performance to many people these days, so the diesels have outsold the petrols in large numbers, even if they are a little more noisy and a lot less smooth.

Fairly stiff suspension gives flat cornering with very good grip and tremendous roadholding in all but the overall roadfeel when pressed falls a little short of the best like the VW Golf. Howsoever, the Golf is much more expensive year for year.

Comfort is not very good on anything but the smoothest of surfaces. It feels knobbly and unsettled over many roads, both in town and out in the country.

The rear door handles, like those in the latest Honda Civic, are hidden to make it look like a coupe, and it really works, giving a sleek and to my eye at least, very pretty shape.

Equipment is a little lacking in base models and there is a raft of special editions. So it's as well to check the one you want has all the kit you aspire to!

Mid-range Lusso brings climate, traction control, parking sensors, cruise, audio remote, alloys, heated mirrors, an alarm and hill start assist.

Pay about £7,850 for a '16 16-reg 1.4 MultiAir 150bhp Super, or £10,375 for an '18 18-reg 120bhp 1.6 JTDm diesel Sport.

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