Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD Road Test
so what’s the lowdown with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD?
Alfa Romeo offers something out of the ordinary. While there’s no shortage of choice in the mid-sized hatchback market, Alfa Romeo’s offering – the Giulietta – relies on unique style, driving appeal and Alfa’s illustrious heritage in racing and sports cars.
So the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD needs to be judged not on how effectively it rivals mid-sized mainstream cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but also at how successfully it provides a distinctly different alternative.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD is available with Alfa’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, in two states of tune, and there are 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre JTD turbo diesels. Our test car had a 2.0-litre, recently given 10bhp power boost to make a total of 148bhp. Like most turbo diesels it does its best work in the low to mid rev range, pulling eagerly from low down and minimizing the need for gearchanges. That’s just as well, because you are likely to clout the centre arm rest with your elbow while changing gear. You can fold the arm rest out of the way, but then there’s not much point having it at all.
Alfa says the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD will hit 60mph from rest in 8.8 seconds, which is a few tenths behind the class best but brisk enough to be entertaining on the road. It rides like a sporting car, too, with firm suspension that provides a taut feel in everyday driving and still delivers reasonable comfort. Press harder, though, and the Giulietta is less convincing. It’s safe, and enthusiastic drivers will welcome the way the Alfa’s attitude in a corner can be fine-tuned with power, but the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD lacks the precision and predictability of rivals.
What rivals can’t match is the Alfa’s visual appeal. Arresting looks begin with the bold Alfa grille and offset number plate, which give the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD a nose that won’t be mistaken for any mainstream model. The hidden rear door handles, twin exhausts and signature curved rear lights make the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD stand out from the crowd, and it’s the same story inside with classy brushed metal finishes and unusual contrast colour options.
There are flaws in the Giulietta experience. Alfa’s mid-sized model doesn’t have doesn’t have the all-round appeal of some rivals, but it does have a character and panache that sets it apart from the rest.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTD 150 (up from 140)
Engine: 4cyl TD
0-60: 8.8 seconds