C 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Say “Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili Romeo Giulietta” with an Italian accent and you will understand why lovers of all things Italian like driving cars with a plenty of verve. (In case you haven’t worked it you for yourself Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili is what Alfa stands for!)
The Giulietta five-door hatchback has been styled to look like a sports coupe thanks to cleverly ‘hidden’ rear door handles.
The rear seat armrest has fold out cup holders gives a feeling of luxury sedan. The rear seats have a 60/40 split fold, there’s also a ski-hatch.
Unless tall front-seat occupants are willing to give up some legroom those in the back seats will find themselves cramped. Headroom can also be tight for tall rear seat passengers, though it depends on body shape.
Alfa imports the Giulietta to Australia with a choice of three engines. One is a 1.4-litre Alfa Romeo MultiAir with 125 kW of power. The Giulietta QV with its 1750 TBi turbo-petrol unit has 173 kW with torque of 340 Nm. When Dynamic mode is selected it sprints from 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds.
There’s a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine if you feel that way inclined. Can’t say we do … there’s something really irritating about an engine that gets to about 4700 revs than cries out, “enough”.
Alfa Romeo’s Twin Clutch Transmission is a shocker at very low speeds, particularly in stop-start traffic, being frustratingly slow and lumpy at times. Add that to turbo lag and a stop-start system that doesn’t always seem to talk to the other powertrain computers and the fun from driving this pretty Italian sporty machine dims.
Get it out of town on your favourite stretches of drivers’ roads and the smile soon returns to your face. Unless you really need an automatic skip the Twin-clutch and get a slick six-speed manual. The do-it-yourself shifter even has a touch of Italian bravo to it. Great fun.
Early in 2015 Alfa Romeo added a new-design engine in the Giulietta QV, this time with 177 kW. A special Launch Edition introduced the car, featuring a body kit and revised interior. Only 500 were built globally with 50 coming to Australia. Our allocation was 25 units in Alfa Red and 25 in Launch Edition-exclusive Matte Magnesio Grey. These may be collector cars in the future.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Finale Edizione was launched in November 2021 is the last production run of the iconic Italian hatchback, limited to 35 units. Okay so this obviously isn’t a used car yet, but some wise Alfa lovers may grab one and keep it in pristine condition to see it for big bucks down the track.
Build quality of Alfa Romeos has improved greatly since the bad old days and Giuliettas seldom have any real hassles in the way they are put together.
Alfa Romeo is well established in Australia and there are dealers in the capital cities and in quite a few of the major country cities.
We’ve heard no real hassles with getting spare parts, though as is often the way in cars sold in relatively small numbers you might have to wait several business days to get uncommon parts flown in.
Giuliettas are the sort of cars that enthusiastic amateur mechanics like to tinker with. But unless you really know what you’re doing its best to leave the work to professionals as these are complex machines. And please keep away from all safety items.
Insurance is higher than average for this class, which comes as no surprise as Alfas appeal to those who like to charge hard and may take too many risks. Shop around for the best price on a policy, but make sure your comparisons are accurate.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the service books are up to date as these are complex car and can be driven hard and do need professional maintenance.
Make sure the reading on the odometer is the same as that in the service books. You’d be surprised how many crooks stuff this up.
Look for body damage, or signs of repairs. Cars that attract enthusiasts do tend to run into things from time to time.
Inside, check for loose items in the trim and on the dashboard. During your pre-purchase drive listen for rattles or squeaks, particularly behind the dash.
The engine should start quickly, though the turbo-diesel may take a second or two if it’s completely cold.
Check the stop/start system and dual-clutch automated manual work correctly. (See the notes in the body of the story.)
Manual gearboxes may have had a hard life so check all changes are smooth and easy. The downchange from third to second is often the first one to suffer. Make fast 3-2 changes and if there’s any noise and/or hesitation be wary.
Expect to pay from $5000 to $9000 for a 2012 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Distinctive or a 2015 Progression; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2014 QV; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2016 Sprint; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2016 QV; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2016 Veloce; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2017 Veloce; $20,000 to $27,000 for a 2020 Veloce; and $32,000 to $41,000 for a 2020 Edizione Finale.
CAR BUYING TIP
Shop around for the best deals on finance and insurance just as carefully as you do for the car. And be aware that the salesmen get a commission for finance and insurance.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/