THERE IS SOMETHING to be said for a car that manages to fit in and look respectable in every situation. Most manage to either make an excessively bold statement (think Audi RS5 or Ford Focus ST) and some just blend into the background without being noticed (I’m thinking VW Golf or Merc C-Class).
Ideally you want something that creates attraction but not attention, something that people remember but don’t instantly feel they need to hate you for having. Basically something that people wouldn’t regret owning if they had the choice.
The Giulietta falls neatly into the latter niche. It has distinguished looks, creating awareness as you won’t see one on either side of you as you might a Golf or Focus. It provides great value for the sticker price and you can customise the specification to a fair degree.
I tried out the online configurator on Alfa’s website and discovered that my car would look better with the 17-inch ‘perforated sports alloys’ than its current configuration. Also the darker bodyshell colours seem to suit the Giulietta better – a common Alfa trait.
As I spend more seat time in the Giulie I’m beginning to really enjoy the engine’s perkiness. The 125kW MultiAir gives great low-down response even when off boost. Gliding through yields and traffic circles is easy in second gear and a quick dab of the throttle quickly gets you out of any little hassle you may have caused yourself. The gearbox is definitely one of the marque’s better attempts. It feels firm and more accepting of shifts but I can still feel a bit of linkage grind every now and then.
Of the things I’ve found quibbles with, the most annoying is the lack of footrest in the footwell. It’s easy enough to slot your left foot under the clutch but if you’re in traffic you want somewhere a little closer to slide your foot as we all know resting on the clutch is going to wear out the thrust bearing, or worse.
Other than that it’s been a pleasure to drive. And one of my personal party tricks is watching first-time passengers look for the rear door handles. I particularly like to stand back and watch them try to pull the front seats forward in order to clamber into the back before showing them the rear door pulls neatly recessed n the C-pillar. The main thing is that I’ve had no problems to speak of, and I’m even starting to get used to the start/stop system.