15 AUGUST 2011
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB Lusso
No More Sporting Than This Alfa!
Alfa Romeo cars are always stylish, its designers apt at creating a practical saloon that usually has the looks of a head-turning coupe. No more so than the latest Giulietta, a five-seat compact sized car that has the looks and performance to enable any driver to feel young at heart.
So clever has been the styling of this car that when I offered a colleague a lift he called out that there were no rear door handles! In fact, they were incorporated in the rear window frame posing as small quarter lights.
Yes, you would be excused for thinking that this Giulietta was a sporty 3-door coupe though those who had knowledge of the illustrious line of previous Alfa Romeos bearing this name would appreciate that even Alfa Romeo has had to move with the times and accommodate the requirement to provide a practical model of family sized transport though with a product that has enormous doses of the required street credibility.
Additionally this famous car maker has clearly managed to create a car that projects a lot of the DNA of the traditional Alfa Romeo while incorporating state of the art engineering to meet the requirements of a more environmentally friendly world.
To achieve this there is a range of highly efficient power units, no more so than the 1.4-litre 4-cylinder multi-air petrol engine in the mid-range Lusso specification test car.
Would you credit it? A power output of 120 bhp at a relatively relaxed 5,000 rpm, a carbon footprint of a sensible 149 g/km and a combined fuel consumption figure of 41.mpg. And this is from a car that is claimed to be good for a top speed of 121 mph and able to reach 62 mph from rest in 9.4 seconds. In town one can capitalise on the latest stop+start technology so that no fuel is wasted when at a stop and no emissions are leaked into the atmosphere.
What is more there is that familiar free-revving nature of this newly developed power unit and, I gladly experienced, a little suggestion of the ‘Alfa music’ in the exhaust note.
Of course this car is no pussy, it provides the driver with sufficient satisfaction, a touch of involvement when desired but also the ability to provide an easy drive, the enjoyment of a firm and positive changing 6-speed gearbox, potent braking without sharpness and a ride that is sufficiently compliant on the medium profile Pirelli tyres to enable passengers to travel in relaxed comfort…and get out of those rear doors with ease.
The driver’s lot is a good one as I would expect from this maker, the driving seat is of good dimensions with support in the right places, ample adjustment and a adjustable steering column to ensure both comfort and a ‘with it’ driving position. All seats are part leather upholstered.
Alfa heritage is emphasised by the Italian language on the large clear faced instrument dials…Geri on the rev. counter, Benzina on the fuel gauge and for good measure there is a big round alloy gear knob.
Build quality and finish reflect that strong progress that has been made across the Alfa range in recent years. Very good I would say, close to the premium grade and equipped to a comprehensive standard. This model comes with cruise control, a superb BOSE audio system, alloy wheels (space saver spare), very efficient air conditioning and a fabulous panoramic glass roof. Lacking is satellite navigation.
I don’t think that Alfa Romeo has compromised at all with the Giulietta, it is an individualistic car like its forebears that manages to provide a practical lifestyle (boot capacity is sensible and aided by 60/40 folding rear seats) and above all, a lot of enjoyment. What more do you want?
Rivals include: Audi A3, Honda Civic.
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Ride and Comfort 9
TOTAL: 89 %
Price from £18,605.
NOTES FROM TED WILKINSON’S MOTORING DIARY
AUDI: Order books have now opened for the 2012 speciation Audi A5/S5 in Sport hatch, Coupe and Cabriolet forms. Prices start from £25,540 on the road. Audi is claiming high efficiency figures for the range with fuel consumption at 60 mpg and emissions at 122 g/km. www.audi.co.uk
MITSUBISHI: Potential purchaser of the pure electric Mitsubishi iMIEV can create their own vehicle by logging into a special customer website. www.Mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/customer/graphics.aspx
PROTON: the Malaysian Proton car range has broken into the top ranks of the most reliable cars in the UK. According to reports from the Direct Line Breakdown organisation Proton ranked fifth behind Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan. www.proton.co.uk
SKODA: A new sales record for the Czech Skoda car range – first 6 months sales worldwide were 454,700 vehicles, a 20.1% increase over the same period in 2010.
Ted Wilkinson is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers
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