Review: Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010)
Characterful looks. Interior feels good quality. Impressive MultiAir engines are very efficient. Rides well. Strong JTDm diesels. Q2 electronic differential is very effective.
Not much rear legroom. Interior uses Fiat parts. 1750 TBi Cloverleaf a bit disappointing and thirsty.
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010): At A Glance
- New prices start from £19,975
- Contract hire deals from £208.08 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 15–33
- On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure
Alfa Romeo has a great reputation for building beautiful cars. However, while it's well known for good-looking cars, Alfa also has another reputation - for poor reliability. This dogged the brand for years and even now there are plenty of people who would rather stick to a Japanese make or something from Volkswagen.
That's a real shame as Alfa Romeo has been working very hard in recent years to improve the quality and durability of its cars. And this hard work is paying off. The perception of Alfa Romeo is slowly changing and cars like Giulietta have helped immensely.
The quality feels reasonably good, although some of the interior plastics and switches aren't as 'premium' as other hatchbacks such as Honda Civic. It's good on the move though with a comfortably smooth ride, neat steering and good refinement.
All models get the DNA system which alters the throttle response, the steering and traction control. There's a good choice of engines too with Alfa's excellent 1.4-litre TB MultiAir engine and the strong JTDM-2 diesels.
The top version is the performance Cloverleaf model - Alfa's version of a GTI. It uses the new 1750 TBi petrol engine that made its debut in the 159 and boasts an impressive 235PS 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 more than £23,000 seem even more over the top.
Cars from April 2016 benefitted from a light facelift to bring the styling into line with the larger Giulia saloon and every car now gets Alfa Romeo's Uconnect system. It's a five-inch touchscreen display that takes care of on-board entertainment and Bluetooth connectivity.
It's easy to use and benefits from large, clear graphics. The line-up has been cleared-out, too, and now starts with plain Giulietta and rises through Super, Tecnica and Speciale to Veloce trims, the last of which being exclusive to the 1750 TB formerly known as the Quadrifoglio Verde.
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010): What's It Like Inside?
Alfa has tried hard to improve the quality of its interiors while at the same time retaining the distinctive Italian design that's become a trademark. The result is impressive and it has a solid and well built feel to it, although some of the plastics (such as the lower part of the dash) do feel hard and to touch when you'd expect them to be soft.
The driver's seat and steering wheel are multi-adjustable, but the wheel can obscure the speedo, which is calibrated only in 20mph increments. However the driving position is much better than in the Alfa Brera and Spider.
The steering wheel and column stalks are similar to the Fiat Bravo but there's not too much else the two share. The big air conditioning controls are a neat design and above them is a nice row of switches - a variation on the ones that feature in MINIs.
The stereo sits above these and is pretty straightforward to use although the volume control is actually quite hard to twist as it's shiny plastic. The DNA switch is finished in chrome trim and looks really good as does the chrome gear knob which is good to hold and adds to the sporty look.
There are a few minor criticisms. There’s not a lot of legroom in the back seat behind a tall driver and the thick rear pillars mean visibility out the back can be a problem. The boot lip is quite high too so loading in heavy objects can be awkward.
The Giulietta is safe and during its development went through 80 crash tests. All models gets six airbags, a collapsible pedal unit and steering column, Isofix attachments and a second-generation anti-whiplash system. VDC - or Vehicle Dynamic Control - is standard on all models and includes traction control and a hill holder which stop the car rolling back on an incline.
Standard equipment from launch (July 2010):
Turismo is the entry-level trim and has six Airbags (driver, passenger, front side & window), Isofix, VDC stability control with Hill Holder, Alfa Romeo D.N.A. (Vehicle's dynamic control switch), electronic Q2 differential, multifunctional display and trip computer, LED daytime running lights, rear cluster LED lights, Ssart & stop technology (not on Cloverleaf), remote central locking, manual air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, electrically heated and adjustable wing mirrors, sports dials with red illumination, Sprint cloth upholstery, chrome grey trim inserts, height adjustable driver seat, 60/40 split folding rear seats, black steering wheel with Chrome Grey inserts, CD stereo, bumpers and wing mirrors in body colour, rear spoiler, 16-inch steel wheels with spoke design rims and 205/55 R16 tyres plus a space saver spare steel wheel.
Lusso adds an alarm system, front fog lights, chrome effect window sills, sports dials with white illumination, a black leather steering wheel with remote controls and matt black inserts, cruise control, front armrest with storage compartment, storage pockets behind front seats, Blue&Me (Bluetooth hands-free system with voice recognition and media player with USB port), dual-zone automatic climate control, Magnesio Grey trim inserts, Competizione cloth upholstery, a height adjustable passenger seat, the Visibility Pack (rain, dusk and condensation sensors, Air Quality System, electrochromic rear view mirror with deactivation button and tinted band on windscreen) plus 16-inch five double spoke alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres.
Veloce models get darkened headlights, satin effect wing mirrors, side skirts, sports suspension, a darkened interior headlining, aluminium kick plates, aluminium sports pedals, dark brushed aluminium trim inserts, sports steering wheel with remote controls and matt black inserts in leather with red stitching, front armrest with storage compartment, storage pockets behind front seats, leather and microfibre upholstery, 17-inch Turbine design alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres.
Cloverleaf is the performance model and has dark tinted windows, Cloverleaf badges, lowered suspension, red brake callipers, Visibility Pack (rain, dusk and condensation sensors, AQS, electrochromic rear view mirror with deactivation button and tinted band on windscreen) plus 18-inch Spoke design alloy wheels with dark titanium finish and 225/40 R18 tyres.
Standard equipment from Facelift (April 2016):
All cars have a leather steering wheel with audio remote controls, air conditioning, five-inch Uconnect LIVE with DAB plus USB and Bluetooth connectivity, luxury floor mats, Alfa D.N.A. selector, six airbags, 16-inch ‘Turbine’ alloy wheels, electric windows all round (one-touch in the front) and steering-wheel paddle shifters on TCT-equipped models.
Super trim level adds dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a front armrest, new 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, rear air vents and upgraded seat upholstery.
Tecnica replaces the fleet-oriented Business Edition and again includes the 6.5-inch Uconnect infotainment system with navigation as standard (albeit with more features), along with the Visibility Pack (automatic lights and wipers, electro-chromatic rear view mirror and electrically folding door mirrors), electric lumbar support on both front seats, a height adjustable passenger seat, front and rear parking sensors and a no-cost choice of pastel and metallic paint finishes. New 16-inch wheels, rear privacy glass and side skirts are additional features over the outgoing Business Edition.
Speciale has sports suspension; sports bumpers with red Alfa profile; classic, five-hole, 18-inch alloy wheels; Brembo brakes with red, four-piston callipers; new carbon-look headlamp surrounds; an anthracite finish on the mirror caps, door handles, grille and fog light surrounds and the 6.5-inch Uconnect LIVE system with navigation.
Child seats that fit a Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010)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.
What's the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010) like to drive?
The first thing that impresses you about the Giulietta is how good the ride is. You'd fully expect a sporty model like this to have rock hard suspension but this Alfa is in fact very forgiving and smooth. You can press on through country lanes and it will iron out bumps and potholes with no fuss.
The steering is pretty direct and responsive, although it does feel a little artificial and could do with more 'weight' to it. But what makes the Giulietta stand apart from from other hatchbacks is the DNA switch which impressively comes as standard on all models, not merely the Cloverleaf version.
There are three settings - Dynamic, Normal and All-Weather and moving it into Dynamic changes the feel of the car completely.
The whole thing feels more alert with sharper throttle response and handling. The steering assistance is reduced too giving it far more feel plus torque is boosted by up to 40Nm. It also enables the clever Q2 system. This is an electronic device that mimics a limited slip differential.
So when you accelerate through a corner it balances the power between the front wheel and will actually slightly brake the inner wheel. The result is better traction and a more agile feel from the driver's seat. In fact it's so good it's hard not to leave it in Dynamic all the time, unless you're just gently pottering along.
There's a good choice of engines in the Giulietta range with plenty to recommend about each one. The 1.4 TB MultiAir is a great unit so don't be put off by its relatively small size - this is no ordinary 1.4-litre engine as it has a remarkable 170PS, an incredibly impressive output emits a reasonable 134g/km of CO2 and - according to Alfa at least - can average up to 48.7mpg. It's nippy too with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds.
The standard 1.4 engine is still turbocharged and has a respectable 120PS so you'd expect it to be far more efficient than the 170PS MultiAir. However, it actually uses more fuel (with a claimed 44.1mpg average) and has higher emissions of 149g/km.
The MultiAir engine isn’t that sporty though. It’s simply highly efficient, able to pull quietly from low revs and doesn't use much fuel. With the DNA set to ‘Normal’, it feels as normal as a car can feel. Not sporty. Not egging you on. Just getting on with the job and going round corners more than decently. Of course there are diesels in the shape of Alfa's JTDM-2.
There's a 1.6 JTDM-2 with 105PS and plenty of torque at 320Nm. It's also the most frugal Giulietta with a claimed average consumption figure of 64.2mpg while CO2 emissions of 114g/km means it's cheap to tax and a great choice for company car drivers who are lucky enough to have Alfa on their list of choices.
But perhaps the best choice for performance and economy is the 2.0 JTDM-2 which produces 170PS and 350Nm in Dynamic mode. It's strong, punchy and yet will still return up to 60.1mpg according to the official figures. It's helped by an engine stop/start system which is standard on all models apart from the top Cloverleaf.
And it's the 1750i Cloverleaf which is undoubtedly the most exciting version of the Giulietta. The headline figures look good with 235PS and 340Nm of torque which is available from 1900rpm, designed to give good driveability from low revs.
Unfortunately it doesn't live up to the hype - or its price tag. Like the 1.4 MultiAir engine it's very smooth and quiet - too much so in fact. There's no nice exhaust burble or engine noise when you accelerate, in fact it's pretty anodyne which is not at all what you'd expect of an Alfa, particularly a Cloverleaf.
Even in Dynamic mode - which we think should just be the standard setting given that this is supposed to be the performance model - it lacks any sense of buzz. The engine has to be worked quite hard to get meaningful pace and despite all that torque, it doesn't feel especially strong when pulling from low revs. It's also very thirsty and although the claimed figure is 37.2mpg we struggled to get above 29mpg and that was with very sensible, mainly motorway driving.
The standard gearbox on all models is a six-speed manual which is positive enough if a little sticky at times and does require a bit of force to go into first occassionally. A new dual-clutch automatic is available as an option on the 1.4 TB MultiAir engine and the 2.0 JTDM-2.
April 2016 saw the introduction of a 120PS 1.6-litre JTDM-2 combined with a TCT twin dry-clutch transmission. It's designed to bridge the gap between economy and performance and, on paper, it does an impressive job.
On standard-fit 16-inch alloys wheels it has a combined figure of 74.3mpg and 99g/km of CO2, which matches the manual. At 10.2 seconds, it's 0.2 seconds slower than the manual, but it's certainly not sluggish, pulling sweetly between 2000rpm and 4000rpm. While it's no hat hatch, it's a decent choice for the fleet buyer who appreciates a bit of blast once in a while, while keeping an eye on costs.
|1.4 TB||39–46 mpg||9.4 s||144–164 g/km|
|1.4 TB MultiAir||49 mpg||7.8 s||134 g/km|
|1.4 TB MultiAir 150||51 mpg||8.2 s||127–131 g/km|
|1.4 TB MultiAir 170||50–58 mpg||7.6 s||119–131 g/km|
|1.4 TB MultiAir 170 TCT||55–58 mpg||7.6 s||114–119 g/km|
|1.4 TB MultiAir TCT||54 mpg||7.7 s||121 g/km|
|1.6 JTDm-2||60–74 mpg||10.0–11.3 s||99–123 g/km|
|1.6 JTDm-2 TCT||74 mpg||10.0–10.2 s||99 g/km|
|1750 TBi||37 mpg||6.8 s||177 g/km|
|1750 TBi TCT||42 mpg||6.0 s||157–169 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2||60 mpg||8.0 s||124 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 140||63 mpg||9.0 s||119 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 150||67 mpg||8.8 s||110 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 170||60 mpg||8.0 s||124 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 170 TCT||63 mpg||7.9 s||119–130 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 175||66 mpg||7.8 s||116 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm-2 175 TCT||64–66 mpg||7.6–7.8 s||113–124 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010)
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.
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.
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