ITAL­IANS DE­LIVER SIZ­ZLER

Alfa Romeo hatch comes with per­for­mance to match looks, GRA­HAM SMITH writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - USED CARS -

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.”

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