Road Test: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Tecnica 1.6 JTDM-2 TCT
The Giulia is good value, but it’s showing its age in a fiercely competitive segment, reckons Alex Grant.
Sector: Lower Medium Price: £20,650 Fuel: 74.3mpg CO2: 99g/km
With over a century of motorsport under its belt, Alfa Romeo is a name synonymous with performance, desirability and chic Italian style. The Giulietta might be about to add unexpected good value into the mix.
Subtly updated earlier this year, mainly to adopt styling cues from the forthcoming Giulia saloon, Alfa’s contribution to the increasingly crowded premium C-segment also received a streamlined trim range. That includes the Tecnica, a replacement for the Business Edition; only available to fleets, only offered with diesel engines and equipped with the essentials for a life on the road.
It’s broadened the appeal of the prerequisite 1.6-litre diesel engine. This now emits 99g/km CO2, even with Alfa Romeo’s twin-clutch gearbox, and comes equipped with navigation, parking sensors and no-cost metallic paint for a P11d just over £20,500. That makes the Alfa a surprisingly cost-efficient alternative to German hatchbacks, which come in between £23,000 and £24,000, and competitive even against ‘mass-market’ models.
There are no major sacrifices to overcome. The diesel engine produces 118bhp, enough for lively if not particularly thrilling straight-line pace, and the TCT ‘box shifts smoothly through its six ratios, only feeling lethargic when you need urgent off-the-mark performance. It’s quiet at high speed, rides well on the small wheels, and 60mpg motorway economy is on par with its rivals. Opting up to the TCT adds £1,400 to the price, and doesn’t hurt fuel economy.
But, next to its closest rivals, it perhaps doesn’t feel premium enough. The Giulietta is an ageing product, and lacks the feeling of upmarket quality available elsewhere in this segment, not helped by the Fiat switchgear. Nor is it a car that wills you to take the long way home; once a hallmark of the brand, and that’s not only a result of its lowly power output.
Alfa Romeo knows this. An all-new model, on a BMW-rivalling rear-wheel drive platform, is in the pipeline. That’ll put the Giulietta’s replacement up against this segment’s best driver’s cars, and universal praise for the Giulia suggests it can do so.
In the meantime, owning a descendent of some of Italy’s finest performance cars has probably never been so affordable.
The Giulietta makes good sense, but feels like a wholly rational purchase rather than a red-blooded alternative to the German premium hatches.