Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010 – 2020) Review

Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Giulietta is now a seriously dated car that should only be on your radar if you can get an exceptionally good deal.

+More likely to turn heads than a Vauxhall Astra. Eager petrol and diesel engines.

-Cramped interior with lots of harsh materials. Exceptionally firm ride on models fitted with sports suspension. Feels very dated compared to more modern alternatives like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3.

Insurance Groups are between 15–33
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

Launched in 2010, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a stylish alternative to the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf - as well as upmarket alternatives like the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3.

It’s available with a variety of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, combined with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. The range consists of the standard Alfa Romeo Giulietta, as well as Super, Speciale and Veloce models. While the Giulietta might turn heads thanks to its rarity and sporty looks, it was criticised for its cramped interior and poor interior plastics when it was new - something which is even more difficult to ignore as rivals have received numerous updates during the time the Giulietta has been on sale.

You’re making a bold statement buying an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. While it might be prettier than cars like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, its interior is seriously below-par, with cheap materials and a cramped cabin compared to alternatives. Indeed, adults in the back will be very uncomfortable - and even up front, the driving position feels awkward.

Various updates over the years have done little to bring the Giulietta up to date. Bear in mind that new versions of all of the Giulietta’s rivals have been introduced since Alfa Romeo launched its family hatchback in 2010.

The biggest change came in 2014 when a new Uconnect colour touchscreen infotainment system was introduced. This is now standard in 5.0-inch guise on standard Alfa Giulietta and Super models, while the Speciale and Veloce come with a 6.5-inch system. It’s laggy to operate and, with no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, is well past its sell-by date.

A further light refresh followed in 2016 with various cosmetic updates intended to mimic the (new at the time) Alfa Romeo Giulia.

The Giulietta’s engine line-up is pretty good, with the 1.4-litre TB petrol being the strong seller. This is available in a variety of flavours - 120, 150 or 170PS - while diesel drivers are catered for with the 2.0-litre JTDM-2 engines (available with 150 or 175PS).

The top version is the performance Veloce model - Alfa's take on the GTI and previously badged the Cloverleaf. It’s available with a 175PS version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine, while the 1.7-litre petrol boasts an impressive 240PS and a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds. Sadly, while it looks great, it's pretty underwhelming to drive which makes its price tag of close to £30,000 even more laughable. 

All models get Alfa Romeo’s DNA drive mode selector. This is gimmicky, using Dynamic, Natural and All-weather modes to tweak parameters like the engine, brakes, steering and accelerator depending on your requirements.

As you’d expect of an Alfa Romeo, the Giulietta is pretty good to drive, with plenty of composure during cornering. It’s not as sharp as a Ford Focus, though, and not impressive enough to make up for flaws in other areas. It has also got an exceptionally firm ride.

Another factor going against the Giulietta is its reliability record. We’ve had various faults reported over the years ranging from electrical issues to expensive timing belt failure. It’s fair to say that Alfa Romeo doesn’t have the most enviable reputation for reliability, either, and consistently ranks poorly in our Satisfaction Index. The brand’s three-year warranty does little to put your mind at rest, either. 

Ask Honest John

When should I sell my car?

"I've a 2014 Alfa Guiletta on 107k miles, which has had replacement front and rear suspension arms in last 18 months, new battery two years ago. It's reliable and I've not had any breakdowns. In a year I'll have to get the timing belt changed for a cost of £500ish. Question is, do I get it changed, or sell before? I doubt the car will be worth much more than £1.5k by that time. If can get another 2-3 years out of the vehicle I'd rather do that than buying something newer. But could this car become a money pit?"
Deciding whether to keep or sell an older vehicle is a common dilemma, as you need to balance the cost of maintenance with the value of the vehicle, or decide to switch to a different car which could come with its own set of problems. If you are happy with your current car then this is a good reason not to change. It is difficult to anticipate what problems you may encounter in future, but the fact that it has been reliable in your care so far is a good sign. Although you say it will be worth around £1500 in a year from now, it is unlikely to lose a great deal more value from that point onwards. If you do wish to change to something else then now is the best time to sell in order to maximise its value.
Answered by David Ross

What's the best car for £5,000 - £7,000?

"Can you recommend a comfortable, reliable and economical car for £5,000 - £7,000? The vehicle must handle long journeys of 600 miles on a regular basis. However, for the majority of the time I'll be doing short journeys and my partner (who recently passed the test) will also be driving the car (so it must be easy to drive and park). The road quality in my area is relatively poor so need something that can handle a few bumps. I've been browsing for a long time but struggling to find something that will fit the bill. I have considered mid-sized hatchbacks such as the Fiat Bravo, Renault Megane or Alfa Romeo Guilietta (although admittedly the latter mainly due to style over practicality). Can you recommend any other suitable vehicles? "
Avoid the Fiat Bravo and older versions of the Renault Megane and Alfa Romeo Guilietta - these cars are costly to fix and have a mixed reputation for reliability. I would also avoid diesel - older diesel cars are much more expensive to maintain than petrol (with DPF and EGR problems costing thousands to put right). If you want a compact and reliable hatch, the Toyota Yaris 1.3 petrol, Fiesta 1.25 petrol or Suzuki Switch 1.2 petrol would be my recommendations. If you need something larger, Honda Jazz or Honda Civic.
Answered by Dan Powell

Can you recommend an Alfa Romeo Giulietta replacement?

"Which car would you recommend to replace my excellent 2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta? It should be manual and petrol and cost no more than about £30,000."
We'd recommend a Mazda 3. It's a left-field choice (like your Giulietta) but great to look at and drive, while the interior is lovely. Your budget will get a high-spec GT Sport model with the E-Skyactiv X petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox.
Answered by Andrew Brady

I need a spare bulb kit to drive in France - what do I do if none of the kits fit my car?

"I'm going to France for 10 days and have a 2012 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. I need to carry a spare bulb kit to comply with French law. So I went to Halfords today to buy one. I entered my vehicle registration into their system and none of their £10 kits fit my car. Have you any ideas please of where is best to go for a cheap spare bulb kit for my car?"
What I did was carry a universal spare bulbs kit. The fact is that most spare bulbs cannot even be fitted by a driver so this old rule became archaic about 25 years ago.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010 – 2020) cost?