ITALIANS DELIVER SIZZLER
Alfa Romeo hatch comes with performance to match looks, GRAHAM SMITH writes
THE Italians finally nailed it with the Giulietta hatch after years of lessthan-ideal makes
Italy has given us some wonderful things — Michelangelo, Mona Lisa, Pavarotti and pizza but it has also burdened with dodgy cars. For many years now, anyone buying an Italian car such as an Alfa Romeo has been taking a gamble that the legendary style and pizzazz will be greater than the possible pain of poor build quality reliability.
But Alfa aficionados say things have changed, that company has addressed issues gave it a crook reputation and its cars are now well built don’t breakdown.
The release of the born-again Giulietta enabled buyers to reassess their prejudices.
family-sized Giulietta hatch arrived in 2011 with promise of improved reliability and durability match the looks driving experience that almost everyone loves.
Two models were available at the launch of Giulietta, base model and QV, both with petrol engines.
The JTD diesel version joined them a year later.
There was no argument about
Giulietta’s looks. The coupe-styled five-door hatch was gorgeous, whichever way you looked at it.
It wasn’t quite as appealing inside where the layout a little clumsy, and things didn’t fall to hand as well they might. That apart, the cabin was roomy and there was a good-sized boot.
The MultiAir base engine peppy 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo, QV’s 1.7-litre also turbocharged and there the economical 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder as an option.
For transmissions Alfa offered buyers the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or dualclutch auto.
If Giulietta sizzled just standing still, it really came alive on the road where rewarded in spades driver who dared to push it along at pace.
The ride was well controlled, handling wonderfully balanced and responsive. engines, all gems, had ample torque to get the pretty hatch zipping along impressively.
It’s only been four years since Alfa launched Giulietta so it’s still early days in terms of measuring its ultimate reliability and durability.
Owners rate their cars highly on the whole, they say they’re solid and well built give little or no trouble.
One owner we spoke to was unhappy with his car, transmission was a problem, the stop-start fuelsaving function stopped working, there were issues with the in-dash display.
Others perfectly happy their cars, even though some also reported problems stop-start.
This function shuts down engine when the car comes to a halt, at traffic lights and like, cut fuel consumption emissions.
If battery isn’t fully charged there can be trouble, sometimes shutdown. Be sure check its operation when test-driving a potential purchase.
The same goes for the TCT dualclutch auto transmission. It’s not conventional but rather newage manual with couple of clutches controlled by a computer.
It’s complicated bit kit that can be troublesome, no matter the badge on the bonnet, so give it good workout when you’re on your test drive. Listen for odd noises and observe clunky gear changes. While at make sure you’re happy with way the TCT drives.
Some people buy dual-clutch transmissions without understanding that they drive differently from automatics they’re used to and they can be disappointed.
SMITHY SAYS: “A wonderful driver’s car that is still practical for
everyday family use.”