Romeo and Juliet is a play about passion and love, and those names crop up in the automotive world, too. Alfa Romeo is a car brand steeped in emotion, and its Giulietta creates an intriguing alternative to the mainstream family hatchbacks.
The Giulietta includes a raft of motors to suit most tastes, which range from a frugal 118bhp diesel into a 237bhp petrol-powered pocket rocket.
This is a challenging course to fight in, however. At the end of the cost scale, there is the Vauxhall Astra and Skoda Octavia vying for your company, while at the top end sit the premium contenders such as the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.
So, where does the Giulietta fit into this diverse group and is it worth considering, either as a business user or private buyer? Keep reading during the next few pages to learn.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback functionality
The Giulietta has a broad assortment of motors, and even the strongest ones provide decent performance. Petrol fans can choose from a 1.4-liter unit with either 118bhp, 148bhp or 168bhp, or a 237bhp 1.7-liter engine that is fast enough to frighten all but the hottest hatches. Of these, we would follow the lowest priced 118bhp 1.4, which revs keenly and gets from 0-62mph at a perky 9.4sec.
However, the best engine in the range is the 118bhp 1.6-liter diesel. It is not overtly rapid but provides loads of helpful mid-range punch, so it is relaxing to drive. The 2.0-liter diesel using 148bhp or 172bhp is fast but, for many people, the 1.6 will do the job.
All Giuliettas have Alfa’s DNA ‘driving mode selector’, which affects the reactions of the motor, brakes, and accelerator based on Dynamic, Natural and All-weather settings in the flick of a switch. It is hardly more than a gimmick, however; the accelerator is overly sensitive in Dynamic style and responds incredibly slowly in All-weather.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback ride
Ride quality is not among the Giulietta’s strengths. Lower-spec models have a suspension that is comfort-oriented and relatively forgiving. General surface dimples and even bigger speed bumps are not any problems. It is only when you hit sharper intrusions like deep potholes, which lead to a hefty thud throughout the cottage, that you feel the difference compared with better-riding cars like the Audi A3.
Higher-spec automobiles have a stiffer suspension, which provides better control but also a quieter ride. They have bigger alloy wheels with lower-profile tires, also — this will not help relaxation. The Quadrifoglio Verde hot hatch has lowered sports suspension so is less pliable still.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback tackling
You may tailor the Giulietta’s steering answers by choosing between its three DNA modes. Whichever you choose, you do not get much steering feel, which is unsatisfactory in a car that is supposed to be sporty.
It is a shame because other than the Giulietta handles pretty well. It turns into corners aggressively and provides decent grip, even though there’s somewhat leaner through bends than you might expect. That is lessened with the sports suspension fitted to the pricier trim levels, which gives you somewhat more composure and snack.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback refinement
Despite advancements in 2016, the Giulietta cannot match the course leaders for refinement. It does have good things: the gas engines are smooth when you need them to be and have an appealing growl when you work them hard, while wind noise is not too much of a problem.
The smaller 1.6-liter diesel is excellent, too, allowing relatively silent progress while maintaining the engine’s vibrations nicely isolated from the cottage. The 2.0-liter units are grumblier and whoosh loudly once you accelerate. Road noise can be intrusive over several roads at speed, however, and the stop/start process is somewhat jerky. The gearshift on manual variations is not particularly precise, either, while the TCT semi-automatic transmission is neither the smoothest nor most responsive of its kind.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback driving position
The Giulietta’s pedals are at different heights, so it is more difficult than it needs to be to move from one to another, while the clutch is extremely near the center console, so that you can not rest your left foot alongside it. To make things worse, the chairs do not hold you in place exceptionally well, and the steering wheel is too large, even if it is in its lowest setting. At least the dash controls are reasonably straightforward to use.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback visibility
Forward visibility is not too bad, but the front pillars are thick and can block your view slightly at junctions. The Giulietta’s sporty lines provide it rather smallish windows in the side and back, and over-the-shoulder visibility is compromised because of this.
All models include electrically heated door mirrors, while rear parking sensors are standard for all bar the entry version; first detectors are added if you opt for the Speciale trimming and over. Automatic headlights and wipers are standard on most trims, while adaptive xenon headlights are a costly solution for all models.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback infotainment
All Giuliettas include Alfa’s Uconnect system, which uses a touchscreen to control the majority of the entertainment and data functions. You receive a 5.0in variant for lower-spec models and a 6.5in variant that includes satellite-navigation in higher-spec cars.
It is not quite as quick to react as some similar programs, but there are convenient shortcut buttons at the sides of the display. It is mounted within easy reach high up on the dashboard.
The DAB radio is standard for all models, as is Bluetooth connectivity with voice control. USB and auxiliary input sockets are standard throughout the range, also — their place at the bottom of this center console is less convenient than it seems because the dire lack of storage space means it is nowhere handy to place a phone or MP3 player when it is plugged in.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback build quality
The Giulietta looks elegant on the exterior, but its interior does not quite cut the mustard. It is stylish and durable enough, but the materials and finish are not as high as the ones in premium-badge rivals like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Styling aside, the Giulietta does not feel any more special inside than some of its mainstream counterparts.
The plastics at the lower portion of the cottage are relatively hard and unappealing, by way of instance, while the switchgear does not have the weighty, finely designed sense of some competitions’.
Space & practicality
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback front room
Cabin space is not power; the Giulietta provides reasonable headroom for those in the front seats and legroom is beautiful, but taller drivers may feel that their hair brushing the headlining and the footwell is bloated.
Storage space is poor. Front door bins are incredibly slim and will not hold a huge water bottle; entry-level models lose out on the center armrest with storage space that is on other versions (although that is it is tiny anyway). The glovebox is average-sized, and there is a tiny lidded cubby at the peak of the dash, but the fixed cup holders on the center games are narrow, and the oddment slots in precisely the same place are small and shallow.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback backspace
Despite being one of the greatest cars in its class, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta provides less rear legroom than most of its rivals. It is going to be fine for most, but a taller passenger sitting behind a similarly sized driver is very likely to have their knees in contact with the seat in front.
Headspace is below par, and the lack of space makes the first chair pretty uncomfortable. Access is not exceptional because of the sloping roofline; Overall, the Giulietta is not especially family-friendly.
Front seatback pockets are standard on all but entry-level automobiles, however, and all Giuliettas have amazingly useful back door bins.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback seating flexibility
Like many compact hatchbacks, the Giulietta is not the last word in flexibility. As with most competitions, you can fold the rear seatbacks forward for additional load space, but that is about it.
Tipping the seatbacks (that have a 60/40 split) forwards is simple, requiring a tug on a handle on top of it. The pillow stays in place, leaving a reasonably long area with the enlarged, sloping section.
Mid-spec Speciale trimming and above includes a passenger seat height adjustment plus a central rear armrest with a storage compartment, a third rear head restraint and a through-load system as standard. All these are discretionary on lesser versions.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback boot space
In isolation, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta’s boot is not too bad — it is large enough to get a pushchair or set of golf clubs, as an instance, and has a slightly larger capacity than a fundamental Ford Focus.
You do not get as much load area as you do in an Audi A3 or Volkswagen Golf, however, and even though the load area is a regular shape, the boot entry is comparatively narrow, and there is a significant drop to the ground.
With the back seats folded, there is a decent distance, but not as much as you would get in a Golf. The floor is not flat, either.
Cost & verdict
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback running costs
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is reasonably priced, and many models are slightly less expensive than the Audi or BMW equivalents. Residual values are not as powerful as those of German rivals, but generous trader discounts and enticing finance deals are the norms.
Running costs for many models are aggressive, although the most effective variant is your 1.6-liter diesel. Company car drivers will appreciate tax-efficient CO2 emissions of 99g/km, while the promised common market of 74.3mpg will meet private buyers — or anyone who pays for their gasoline, for that matter. That stacks up in the actual world, too, with both gasoline and diesel models doing exceptionally well in our Authentic MPG tests.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback gear
All Alfa Romeo Giulietta versions include the decent standard kit. Entry-level versions (based Giulietta) are on a par with most competitions and include air conditioning, 16in alloy wheels, DAB radio, four electric windows, and Bluetooth. It is not too much of a price jump to Super, and we think it is worthwhile since this adds things that lots of buyers will expect, such as dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, cruise control, and a height-adjustable passenger’s seat.
Tecnica trimming is mainly for business buyers. It has got everything that lesser versions have, also metallic paint, privacy glass, auto lights and wipers, and power-folding door mirrors. What is more, you get the 6.5in infotainment that includes sat-nav, but keep in mind that if you are private buyer fund options are restricted.
There are two sporty versions. Special versions include 18in alloys, part-Alcantara trim, front and rear parking sensors, in addition to sporty interior and exterior detailing. The flagship Veloce model includes the most effective engine and reduced sports suspension and twin exhaust tailpipes to match.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback reliability
Alfa’s reliability record is often brought into question, but the newest ended a healthier eighth from 31 manufacturers analyzed in our latest reliability survey. The Romeo Guilietta itself finished at a reasonable mid-table status in the family car class.
The Giulietta’s guarantee is excellent, too. It lasts for five years or 75,000 miles, which is much better than lots of competitions’ three-year guarantees. You also find five year’s breakdown cover and three-years servicing included.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback safety and security
Stability control, active anti-whiplash front head restraints and front, side and curtain airbags are all fitted as standard. However, when Euro NCAP had tested it in 2017, the Giulietta scored only three stars out of five, with torso and neck protection for adults in the back seats brought into question, together with poor pedestrian protection and a lack of modern security systems like automatic emergency braking.
Every variant gets deadlocks and conspicuous parts, while all models apart from the entrance Giulietta trimming include an alarm and immobilizer.