We drove the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1,4 120 HP: a very refined sporting thoroughbred…

Cuore Sportivo” This is the iconic adage of Alfa Romeo. It evokes the thoroughbred heart which throbs in their cars. And in this latest Giulietta it is a well sounding heart too. Indeed, the well proven 1,4 litre four cylinder unit does its well sounding work here, and it finds also a home in a wide range of models in the FCA stable. It develops here 120 HP, and this warrants undistilled driving pleasure. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

It is a well matured unit, and this amply shows in its superb mechanical refinement. Even after the first meters we noticed the turbine smoothness of this engine, even at lowest revs, with both gearbox and clutch – we drove the six speed manual version – being progressive and slick too. All this makes this Giulietta a total pleasure to drive in urban traffic, and frankly the Giulietta proved totally “zen” in daily use. The process of making this marvelous unit comply with the 6D emission standards will have helped also in giving it impeccable manners.

Of course this Giulietta is a true delight to drive with spirit, the engine revs up beautifully in the most well sounding staccato. The gearbox is expertly low geared to suit the torque characteristics of this thoroughbred engine, and the Alfa Romeo pilot has always enough power to move his Alfa with panache and zest through every traffic situation.

Agile and predictable

The Giulietta runs on a state of the art platform, and this guarantees superb handling. Indeed, steering the Giulietta with abandon over curvy stretches is an undistilled pleasure. Remaining neutral up to very high cornering speeds, the chassis and suspension is very forgiving and this Giulietta can be driven sportingly with confidence. Of course, the relatively moderate power of 120 HP helps too here, and we did not meet a driving situation where the suspension and chassis ran out of breath.

The Alfa steers with adequate precision, with the steering not transmitting too much information of the road surface through your fingertips. Some would like to have more feel, but your servant personally prefers a quieter and more stable steering wheel, so this was very much OK for me.

Last but not least, there is also the Alfa DNA driving mode selector. You can adjust the car’s dynamic handling, by modifying the engine torque, the brakes (via the Pre-Fill device), the accelerator response, the ESC control system.

Lively and remarkably frugal

Outright performance is quite up to the mark, with a 0 to 100 sprint absolved in 9,5 seconds, and a top speed of 195 km/h. Pulling power with torque of 215 Nm at 2500 rpm, staying high throughout the rev range, is quite good as the gearbox ratios are also quite well chosen.

Fuel consumption will depend as everybody knows, very much on your driving style, and charmed as we were by the superb smoothness and flexibility of the drivetrain, we adopted a cool, “zen” driving style, and when staying below 3000 rpm, we were hugely rewarded with an average consumption hovering between 6 and 6.5 litres/km over part of the test distance, with quite a bit of urban driving included, as well as heavy motorway traffic. In town, it takes a very gentle right foot to let consumption stay below the 9 liter mark.

But with the excellent engine flexibility and drivetrain smoothness, this is no difficult exercise indeed. The manufacturer quotes 7.2-7.4 l/100 km as overall average.

The suspension also strikes a very good balance between sporting responsiveness and comfort, and this makes this Giulietta a very good Gran Turismo.

Sound deadening and insulation is excellent too, at high cruising speeds the engine is never obtrusive, tire/road noise can impair listening to classical music however on specific road surfaces.

Alfa ambience both inside and out.

Alfa styling has always embodied a unique sporting panache, and this is translated by the curvy body lines as well as the instrumentation and the interior and dashboard layout. The new range features five trim levels – Giulietta, Giulietta Super, Giulietta Sport, Giulietta Executive and Giulietta Veloce – and each one responds to specific requirements.

On the exterior, we were very much charmed by the Visconti Green livery of our test car, the one-of-a-kind alloy wheel rims.

When it comes to instruments, this Giulietta continues the good tradition, although we still miss the bold instrumentation and dials of the Duetto for instance, but the dials here hark faithfully back to the ones we saw in the later Giulia Supers, and the dashboard finish is also reminiscent of wood inlays and wood grained surfaces of the beloved Giulia Super.

Overall, we just love it and we beg Alfa stylists to continue this good tradition. The same can be said of the seat upholstery. Indeed, the new Giulietta Veloce has new Alcantara and beige fabric seats, with leather seats optional, like in our test car. Need we say more?

Everyday practicality

This is your daily Alfa par excellence, not only with its excellent drivetrain and comfort, but also with the host of driving aids and the excellent connectivity you can enjoy throughout. Apple Car play and Android AutoTM are provided for, when you choose the Tech Pack, which offers the Alfa Connect 7″ from by Alpine infotainment system.

The Business Pack, for instance, has DAB radio with navigator and 6.5-inch screen, rear parking sensors and height-adjustable passenger seat.

The Convenience Pack includes rain sensor, the dusk sensor, electrochromic interior rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, central rear armrest and electrically operated door mirrors. 

Boot space is more than adequate with 350 liters.

Conclusion 

This Giulietta has everything what it takes to steal your car loving heart. It has indeed the sporting character and style which is so unique to Alfa. Add to this the total smoothness of the drivetrain, the willingness of this thoroughbred engine, the stylish curves of the car, looking well balanced from every corner, the panache of the cabin and the charming handling, and you can understand we were quite impressed. We would suggest, knowing that the competition is fierce in this segment, that you take this Giulietta for a spin. This Alfa could then win you over…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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