Review: Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016)


More likely to attract admiring glances than a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. Even the diesel is good to drive.

Interior feels cheap. Some faults have been developing.

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016): At A Glance

The Alfa Romeo Giulia certainly looks the part. It's aggressive, sleek and distinctive. What's more, on paper at least, there is a Giulia for everyone, with the range encompassing everything from efficient diesels to supercar munching V6 petrols.

As you might expect, the diesels will dominate the sales, with the majority of Giulias being aimed at fleets and family buyers.

Like all rear-wheel drive Alfas, the Giulia is very much geared towards driving pleasure, with firm suspension, responsive steering and a torque packed engine. The four-cylinder unit is all-new and produces a considerable 450Nm from 1750rpm.

Claimed economy is impressive - which is good news for company car drivers. Officially, the diesel Giulia will return more than 65mpg which is on par with its rivals. All 2.2 diesels get an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox as standard, which delivers power to the rear-wheels with smooth precision, making it easy to take advantage of the Giulia's grippy and balanced chassis. 

The fit and finish of the cabin isn't as good as German rivals, but it's an improvement over previous Alfa Romeos.

The infotainment isn't anywhere near as advanced as those found in a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. A 6.5-inch screen is mounted in the dash and, while it is clear enough to read on the go, the graphics look blocky and dated. We'd fork out the extra £300 required for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a way of avoiding Alfa's own infotainment system.

Space is reasonable, with enough room for four adults at a push. The boot's good, with 480 litres - although a shallow boot opening can make fitting bulky items in tricky and only the higher-spec models get drop-down rear seats.

That's not to say you should dismiss the Alfa Romeo Giulia outright. It has some very likeable traits that make it a genuine alternative to the mainstay of otherwise bland looking upmarket saloons. We should also point out that the Giulia boasts superb handling.

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 MultiJet Road Test 

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 190 2020 Road Test

What does a Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016) cost?

List Price from £34,269
Buy new from £28,092
Contract hire from £313.48 per month

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4639–4643 mm
Width 1860–2024 mm
Height 1426–1436 mm
Wheelbase 2820 mm

Full specifications

You could stick a Fiat badge on the Giulia's steering wheel and no one would bat an eyelid. It does feel a bit more special than other Alfa Romeos, but it's still nowhere near the standards set by Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Minor details like the rotary control for navigating the infotainment feels flimsy and light, as does the volume control. And the air vents. And the door handles. Everything you touch, basically.

It's different, at least. The swooping dashboard looks rather swish, but the same can't be said for the infotainment system. It's slow to start up, laggy to operate and you'll wish you spent the £300 for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow you to circumnavigate the standard system.

Practicality wise, the Giulia's OK. There's no estate version and the boot is pretty shallow (made worse by the small opening). Opt for the Speciale and you can drop the rear seats easily using a lever near the boot opening, which is better than having to walk back and forth from the boot and rear doors. Isofix points in the rear make it easy to fit up to two child seats.

Adults might complain about a lack of space in the back, especially if they're more than six-foot tall, but that's a problem that afflicts many cars of this ilk. Rear legroom is adequate but the sloping rear roofline hinders headroom.

In the front of the Giulia there are various cubby holes, although the glovebox is unusually small, as are the two cup holders in the front.

Optional twin sunroofs do a good job of brightening up the interior, with the front one being electrically operated should you want to let in more air.

If you want to make the Alfa's interior stand out even more, there are many bold colours you can choose from, including bright red to a strange combination of black and tan. You certainly can't accuse the Giulia's cabin of being boring.

Standard specification:

The Alfa Romeo Giulia comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, 3.5-inch TFT colour cluster display, six-way manual front seats, Alfa DNA driving modes, aluminium brake calipers, black cloth seats, black painted interior bezels, cruise control, DAB radio, dual-zone climate control, dusk sensor, electronic parking brake, engine start button on steering wheel, fog lights, forward collision warning, halogen headlights and DRL, lane departure warning, leather steering wheel, LED tail and brake lights, rain sensor, rear parking sensors, single chrome exhaust tip, start&stop, tyre inflation kit.

Super trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, 8.8-inch Alfa Connect navigation, 7-inch TFT display screen, aluminium door sills, dual chrome exhaust tip (180PS diesel only), leather and cloth seat, two-tone dashboard and door panel availability.

Speciale features 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights and LED DRLs, six-way power drive and passenger seat, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats, aluminium pedals and footrest, aluminium centre tunnel cover, black gloss window surroudns, dimming rear view mirror, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, leather sports seats, leather sports steering wheel, power folding mirrors, red brake calipers, sports leather steering wheel, sports diffuser and dual chrome exhaust, sports front and rear bumpers.

Veloce comes with 18-inch alloys with run flat tyres, upgraded brakes, black brake calipers, aluminium shift paddles on steering column, front parking sensors.

Child seats that fit a Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016) like to drive?

If the Alfa Romeo Giulia has one unique selling point over the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, it's probably how well it drives. Even the diesel models - inevitably the best-sellers in the UK - have a degree of fun about them, thanks to that rear-wheel-drive chassis and wonderfully direct steering.

There are three different drive modes: D, N and A. Yes, sigh, something about Alfas being emotional. They stand for dynamic, natural and, er, advanced efficiency. Like any other drive modes, these tweak the automatic gearbox depending on whether you want it to hold onto gears (sporty) or change up early (frugal).

Spec the £1950 Performance Pack on one of the faster petrol models and you'll get massive steering wheel paddles to change gears (wasted on the diesel, frankly), a limited slip differential and Alfa's active suspension, which firms up in dynamic mode.

While the petrols sound pretty good, the best the diesel can boast is that it's fairly refined - something that can't be taken for granted, even in this maket. Sure, there's no mistaking the fact that it's a diesel when you start it up on a cold morning, but it's not too intrusive once up to temperature.

Most Giulia buyers will care more about how well it cruises on the motorway than how well it tackles a race track, and it does that fairly well with minimum fuss. Broken road surfaces pose no issue for the suspension, although the low seating position can hamper visibility when manoeuvring around town.

Does the Giulia live up to Alfa badge in terms of driving? Well, yes, but a BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE also drive very well. Even the latest Audi A4, a car renowned for being duller than an October day, is fairly enjoyable to drive.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 T 200 42–48 mpg 6.6 s 138–157 g/km
2.0 T 280 41 mpg 5.7 s 141–160 g/km
2.2 D 150 67 mpg 8.2 s 109 g/km
2.2 D 160 58 mpg 8.2 s 129 g/km
2.2 D 180 67 mpg 7.1 s 109 g/km
2.2 D 190 58 mpg 7.1 s 129 g/km
2.9 BiTurbo Quardifoglio 31–34 mpg 3.9 s 189–212 g/km

Real MPG average for a Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

22–53 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Alfa Romeo Giulia (2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

The battery on my new car keeps going flat - what could be the problem?

I have a 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia with 8000 miles on the clock. The car was running fine until the end of October, but I parked it in a garage overnight for around 11 hours and the next morning the battery was totally flat. Roadside Assist was called out and confirmed the battery was totally flat, but a quick boost and the car started no bother. The same thing happened a second time so I took it to a dealer the next day but they could not find any faults. The battery was checked and is holding a full charge. Any ideas?
It would appear that you have a parasitic drain (i.e some circuits are live even though the car is switched off). Given the age of the vehicle and the fact it's still under warranty, we would go back to the dealership and get them to carry out a parasitic drain test.
Answered by Alan Ross
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