Alfa Romeo Giulietta

24 Feb, 2012 12:13pm Michael Taylor

New twin-clutch box for the Giulietta boosts speed and efficiency


The new TCT twin-clutch gearbox is fast, jolt-free and easy to use. It’s great around town and helps increase the car’s fuel economy, too. As a £1,350 optional extra, the TCT box is worth considering. But while the Giulietta is stylish inside and out, it lacks the quality finish and polished driving experience of its rivals.
You can now order Alfa’s twin-clutch TCT gearbox on the Giulietta. But is it any good?

The auto box is available with 1.4-litre turbo petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engines – both of which produce 170bhp. It has been reworked since it launched in the MiTo last year, and claims to improve the Giulietta’s speed, refinement and economy. We tried the diesel to see how it affects the driving experience.

Put the gearlever in Drive mode, and the transmission does an excellent impression of a full automatic – holding on to gears at high revs and downshifting smoothly under braking.

Take control yourself with the wheel-mounted paddles and it shifts quickly and crisply. Alfa has engineered in auto-style ‘creep’ from a standing start to wipe out the jerkiness usually associated with twin-clutch boxes under light acceleration. Plus, it weighs around 13kg less than a traditional six-speed auto.

The TCT is pre-engineered for stop-start, and this helps the 2.0-litre JTDm diesel achieve a combined fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg. The petrol model is faster from 0-62mph, but in-gear acceleration is noticeably stronger in the diesel, and the lower running costs are difficult to ignore.

Sadly, the rest of the Giulietta package fails to match the class leaders in any area.

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Good job Autoexpress! you are leaving no stone unturned to tarnish Alfa Romeo sales. This is a stunning looking car which is as much "competitive" as any other bland Ford or VW in the market.

Its high time Fiat should understand that the main problem in this market are these magazines that have taken full responsibility to tarnish your brand image. I can still recall the meagre two stars given to Fiat Bravo! Amazing!

"Sadly, the rest of the Giulietta package fails to match the class leaders in any area."

Care to substantiate this? Is it the safest car in the class? Yes
Do any other cars in the class have An engine of the year in it? No
Does the Petrol TCT have lowest CO2 of any petrol car in the class? Yes

Thanks for the solid journalism!

Ambs123, as much as you sound like a complaining Alfisti with a one sided opinion, I HAVE to agree with you!
This car is so amazing, giving people in the hatch class some style option with immeasurable character and soul. And therein lies the problem: those type of qualities scare Ford/VW fans as you can't measure but 'feel' it. Th kind of stuff that makes your accountant-types shudder!
I would never want Alfas to sell as good as VW/Fords though, cause that will just make them common place like their rivals, whereas currently they say something about their drivers; people who feel, people who think for themselves and don't care about what only makes sense to the mind.
The masses would and should never be the yardstick for 'amazingness'.

Oli, I would love for AutoExpress to have the balls to respond to your post!

They won't. Not really. Alfa is a great car. 3 stars? Keep them for yourselves and do us the favour to not write silly reviews. Don't even touch an alfa again if you are to write B s.

Just to clarify, we are by no means saying that the Giulietta is a bad car. However, it’s not on a par with the best in the class, that’s why we’ve given it an average three-star rating. If you look at our other reviews, you will see that not many cars actually get the full five stars. And if we gave everything four stars, the rating system would become meaningless.

While the Giulietta scored five-stars and a 97% adult occupant protection score in its Euro NCAP test, that was in 2010, and Euro NCAP has raised its standards since the Giulietta was tested. Euro NCAP recently announced its best cars in five categories, and it declared the Ford Focus the best small family car for safety.

We agree that Fiat’s 1.4 MultiAir petrol engine is good, the car’s emissions are low and our review is positive for the TCT gearbox. But looking at similar turbo petrol engines from VW Group and Ford, the majority, bar VW’s 1.4 TSI, fall into the same Road Tax bracket, so there’s not really much of an advantage.

Again, the 1750 TBi petrol is also good, but the Giulietta Cloverleaf isn’t as well rounded as any VW Group model powered by the 2.0 TFSI.

Interior space is one thing the Giulietta has going against it. The boot is the same size as a Golf’s, and is bigger than a Focus’s, but space in the back seats isn’t as generous. And we’ve never found it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel of a Giulietta compared to rivals.

Another aspect is price. The Giulietta is priced at a similar level to the Audi A3, and cheaper rivals such as the SEAT Leon and Mazda 3 are just as practical and entertaining for less money, even if you consider any discounts on the Alfa.

Hope that clears things up a bit. I know this review ends a bit abruptly, it’s taken from the original magazine review, which was cut to fit.

Dean Gibson
AE Production editor

Hi, thanks for your comments. First of all, I do not own a Fiat product or am claiming myself to be an Alfisti. All I can see is the level of critical analysis an Alfa, Lancia/Chrysler or a Fiat product is put through in your tests, none of the favoured manufacturers go through that. All those points that you have explained kindly in your reply, I wish apply to other manufacturers as well. Sadly, they don't and I am sure people on this forum will agree to this. Your reviews about a Ford or a VW product just start with a positive note and finish on one too... But not in this case... The language used in a road test involving an Italian just does not sound very positive to a general reader like myself. The two latest Lancia/Chrysler products are great example if anyone wishes to look at those review. Sadly a Layman would still read this reviews and go with what the magazines suggest and that where I meant problem for Fiat lies and will stay there until they do something about it.....Contrary to what other people have suggested here, I would like to see British roads brimming with these beautiful cars and less of ugly Beemers, Fords and VWs... Audis though are an exception!!

Hi, thanks for your comments!

First of all, I do not own a Fiat product or am claiming myself to be an Alfisti. All I can see is the level of critical analysis an Alfa, Lancia/Chrysler or a Fiat product is put through in your tests, none of the favoured manufacturers go through that. All those points that you have explained kindly in your reply, I wish you applied to other manufacturers as well. Sadly, you don't and I am sure people on this forum will agree to this. Your reviews about a Ford or a VW product just start with a positive note and finish on one too. But not in this case!

The language used in a road test involving an Italian car just does not sound very positive to a general reader like myself. The two latest Lancia/Chrysler products are great example if anyone wishes to look at those reviews. Sadly, a Layman would still read this review and go with what the magazines suggest and this is where I meant problem for Fiat lies and will stay until they do something about it. Contrary to what other people have suggested here, I would like to see British roads brimming with these beautiful cars and less of ugly Beemers, Fords and VWs... Audis though are an exception!!

Read more:

I've got a Golf 1.4TSI GT as my company car and it is a truly great car. It handles beautifully, has plenty of oomph and is brilliantly put together. But every time I walk to and sit in the darned thing I feel nothing. It's an excellent piece of engineering but is utterly, utterly souless.

Which is why I put in an order for a Giulietta in last month. Following an extended test drive it was clear that whilst it handled just as well the Golf (in dynamic mode at least), it isn't as well put together in the lower dash and the lack of space for your left foot is just silly. But everytime I walked to it I smiled. And everytime I sat behind the wheel and gazed upon the aluminium dash and the Italian monikered gauges I smiled.

The Golf and Focus are indeed better pieces of engineering than the Alfa, but they are just cars. The Giulietta may not warrant as many stars in this review, but it wins many, many more turned heads than the Ford or VW will ever manage.

Even in the reply Autoexpress just can't help themselves in bigging up VW & Ford.

I have driven both the Focus and Giulietta extensively

I'd much rather own the Alfa, its as well engineered as a VW or Ford, a far nicer place to be and a cracking drive.

AE constantly have a go at Alfa, and make a massive problem of the smallest thing. I'm sure that if a Golf or Auldi had the DNA system it would be seen as a major step in car dynamics.

AE say they are impartial and sublective. Having read many reviews, this does not seem to be the case. Stars seem to be awarded according to the badge on the grille (The PROTOTYPE Hybrid Golf got five stars, for goodness sake)

It seems to read likd that!

Congratulations Alfa Romeo for building such a quality car.
We traded our 2 year old Golf GTI for a Giulietta.
I'm no Alfisti as this is our first Alfa.
I'll sum it up for you Autoexpress!
The Golf, is a quality car but has the personality of a fridge! If mundane is what you want? buy a VW!
the Alfa, not only is a quality car but makes you feel alive! Special, so to speak.
Alfa may not have the advertising budget as VW does to line autoexpress's pockets. But what Alfa do have, is a brilliant car!

I cannot comment on Alfas from experience. All I can say is that a colleague who has an Alfa 159 was highly underwhelmed by the Mito he had as a courtesy car. Evidently the flair is missing from the baby Alfa but equally evidently it is there, even if not 100 per cent, in the Guilietta.

Flair is a rare thing but it is easily spotted (e.g. Yeti or DS3). And aren't the British afraid of it! Just witness the obsession with trade in values (even for drivers of leased cars), badge identities and soft touch plastics. Whether or not a vehicle is a pleasure to drive, even on the congested trip to and from work, seems to be of less importance to them.

Oh well,
As long as Alfa build quality product such as the Mito and the Guilietta you won't see me driving VW ever again..
Would rather drive the under dog than a company who thrives on buying positive reviews due to there advertising clout.

Again, thanks for all of your comments.

Richard_H, are you referring to my comments, or the original article? Because the original article is generally positive until the last sentence, and if I'm 'bigging up' its rivals, it's only because I'm using facts. I'd argue that the DNA system isn't a small thing, as it fundamentally alters the way the car drives.

We've said in past tests - some would say to the point of cliche - that an Alfa is a car you buy with your heart, not your head. But when we assess cars, we look at every aspect of ownership, not just the 'character' of a car, but the 'boring' stuff, too, because some people just want a car that gets them from A-B without fuss. If you want something with a bit of character, feel you can justify the asking price, don't need the back seats on a regular basis and can get comfortable at the wheel, then be like RodHull and get a Giulietta!

There really is no bias - if there was, the Polo Bluemotion, Golf Plus and Jetta would've won their respective tests (Issues 1,195, 1,205 and 1,204). You'll have to wait to read the VW Beetle test in this week's mag...


Dean Gibson
Production editor

Hi Dean,

Thanks for your responses.

Regarding the safety from the crash tests. The Giulietta was indeed tested in 2010 but on the new test, not the old. When EuroNCAP released the results with the Ford I believe this was for safest car tested in that year, not safest ever. The Giulietta beats the Focus crash test results fairly on the same criteria. Lets not miss the point, people don't expect this from Alfa so when it happens its really worth mentioning.

Regarding CO2, i think its more relevant to look at the BIK costs for this class of car. Overwhelmingly driven by company car drivers this is what is reallyimportant to them.

Maybe this would make a good feature, @ 121g/km on the TCT petrol with 170bhp, the next closest is the Seat Leon with 124g/km but only 105 bhp!

Pious and unfounded views such as Mr Gibson’s aren't only found in banal tat such as Auto Express. What Car? for example also awarded the Giulietta with a poultry 3 stars after initially awarding it 4 after its first review. This signifies to me a common theme resonating through the banal world of UK car journalism that simply must have its own hidden agenda.

I’ve experienced the Giulietta first hand in testing and, without doubt, this car stands up to the C segment competition far better than these stagnant opinions state. I’m not saying it’s the most amazing car to ever bless our roads but it has set out to achieve a goal and scored very convincingly indeed.

It seems Alfa Romeo will never be able to win gold stars on British turf. It’s no wonder we’re incapable of declaring our own successful car industry with this minefield of deconstructive and thoughtless criticism.

Yes you're right, it was the best of 2011, and yes the Alfa is still impressive in comparison. Although I hope I never get to find out how good they are first-hand...

We have done BIK tests in the past, maybe it's time to go back and have another look in one of our special issues.


Dean Gibson
AE production ed

Everyone who has driven the Alfa and the opposition agrees that it is abetter car than Auto Epress make it out to be.

I don't believe Alfa has ever recived a fair reviw.

Yes, the new Beetle is not good, its based on the Golf.....

I've been lucky enough to travel on business in Alfas, Focus and I've driven the Golf, but I've forgotten what it was like...

There is a list in the Avis office and it is the list of the prefered car people would prefer in each segment.

The Giulietta comes top in this segement, and the Insignia is level with the Passat, BMW way down the list.

Its about time Auto Express was in touch with what the punter wants

The Giulietta is superb in many areas - far better than a dull Golf. I don't even need to explain why.
Alfa really needs to find some spare cash like VW.
This heavily biased website is plastered in VW group adverts!
Need I say anymore?
Auto Express listen to your readers.
You're a JOKE. Period.

Alfa Romeo 1.4 Multiair Lusso
170 bhp, 184 lb ft
MPG - 48.7
CO2 - 134

VW Golf 1.4 TSI GT
160 bhp, 177 lb ft
MPG - 44.8
CO2 - 145

Autoexpress I used to be angry with you, now I feel sorry to see
how pathetic you've become. I can only think you're just getting backhanders from god-only-knows, to talk down FIAT/ALFA, but
your attitude will only influence idiots who know nothing about CARS. I know about cars 'cause I have a passion about them since I was born in Italy & I've tried other makes. Shame! Is like presenting a Gucci garment to a Bushman from Namibia. Ciao

Alfa fans are sooooo funny! Constantly slagging autoexpress for slagging Alfas but youre still here! Its hilarious!

If you hate it so much why not go away and if you think theres some conspiracy go find lord lucan and shergar at area 51 and ask them to prove it.

Last time i looked car makers are out to make money so why wouldnt vw have ads here just like autocar/what car/car/any other website??? Its not their problem Alfa has no money to spend on ads.

Oh and 'JJ' If you read properly they already said the Multiair is better than a TSI

How stupid that people take time out to get angry about a piddling car review on the internet!!! Have you got nothing better to do? Its like fighting a one legged man in an arse kicking competition.

But funnier.

You're clearly angry writing about a piddling car review on the internet regarding an Alfa. Haven't you got anything else better to do? Contradictory poetry, marvellous!

What you and Auto Express need to understand is that this isn't necessarily anger about Alfa in particular but the boring idiots that wright frivolous articles for public consumption. Promoted to their own level of incompetence it's wonder they get paid for such drivel....but such is life I guess.

Although I think AE and certain other publications can be a bit biased, it is only natural. To think that car enthusiasts who won the journalism lottery and became car journalists are not going to biased towards their favourite cars is relative to thinking that a mother is not going to be biased about her children.

That said, I agree that the Giuletta is an absolutely gorgeous piece of machinery with the best exterior design hands down. However, the interior, although not made of poor quality, does lack that certain je ne sais quoi that the exterior has. More importantly however, the pedals are mounted too close together, which made me hit the throttle when I was breaking - that is NOT being a safe car.

Also, the seats are atrocious - nowhere near those of a DS4 or the new 1-series. It also has too much road noise, which can be a bit tiresome on a longer journey. The DNA I didn't really notice, but I thought the steering was fine in N.

The problem with the Alfa is that it doesn't have an interior to match that of a BMW 1-series, nor is it as quiet as a DS4, nor does it ride as supple.

All this being said, the car that I looked at the most after leaving the test drives was ultimately the Giuletta, but the pedals, noise levels (18 inchers) and seats may just put me off.

AutoExpress: You might want to make your test a bit different when talking about cars such as Alfas. Yours are the first reviews I look at, and I find them very well written, detailed and a perfectly good guide for buying cars. However, sometimes you could perhaps step out of that comfort zone and step it up a notch and review the Alfa as it was meant to; as a proper enthusiast car. Treat it as such and not as a Focus, and maybe then the reviews would make more sense to the enthusiasts?

Either the Alfa is good enough to topple the best in class or it is not...
Ferrari realised, some time ago, that it wasn't enough to simply have a Prancing Horse on the bonnet. No! their cars had to excel in terms of performance, soundtrack, handling, quality, soul and technology - to be the BEST in their CLASS.

Alfa has come a long way and I do feel the review is a little on the harsh side - but is the Alfa the BEST in its class? Aspects of it are - for example the powerplants are amazing and so are the looks. The quality is streets ahead of Alfas of old. But... as an all round car it may just fall short .With the arrival of the 4C maybe Alfa will take a further step towards convincing everyone journos and consumers alike, that it is truly back to its best - until then it is good to see that it is heading in the right direction.

As an Alfa Romeo Mito owner I don't like to criticize the marque but I feel Alfa Romeo have much much more in reserve and are 'holding back' I feel with the Giulietta. I agree with JonathanJerome16, the Giulietta excels in certain departments like engines (twinair), safety and handling/ride but the design/styling isn't good enough I feel, (by Alfa Romeo standards), the dasboard is too fussy and interior plastics still not up to BMW, Audi & Mercedes standards, I also have reservations about the exterior styling, for me personally, it's just not resolved or well executed enough to be 'winner material' I think the Mito works much better as a design. Few can argue now, that Ferrari are now 'best in class' in their segment with the latest addition of the F12 Berlinetta (599 successor) and the upcoming Enzo. It took Ferrari many years to get there but Alfa Romeo isn't there yet in it's segment, as I mentioned earlier the German trio are still the benchmark but Alfa are going in the right direction, I just wish they could gain more inspiration from their past models of the 1950's-1970's were once they were king, leaders and innovators of design and technology! Th

I really wanted to buy the Giulietta as I think it looks great and I haven't had an Alfa since the Alfasud (which I loved). Unfortunately, the Giulietta is claustrophobic, the steering is dead and the suspension on the higher spec models will break your spine. By comparison, the Golf is light and airy and feels far more nimble. After driving both, I chose the Golf. It may be seen as boring, but I know which I'd rather drive 1000 miles to holiday in Italy - the Golf.

I've just completed a 1000 mile trip in my Jaguar XF and it was great (as expecetd) just like a Giulietta would be and most other cars sold today. Unfounded verbal diarrhoea from a Golf owner once again!!. Niether car is better than the other....all this useless talk of 'best in class' is utter drivel. The Golf appeals to some, the Alfa appeals to others....a BMW to some others and so on. Life isn't black and white and the chances are most people that critisise the Giulietta haven't been anywhere near one. Get a life for Pete's sake!

I am in the process of buying a Golf just because my husband thinks it's a safe choice. My heart is 100% with Giullietta. I don't know what to do but one thing I am realising from this thread is that Alfas are put under soooo much criticism and bad publicity whereas the most common cars in the UK are taken as good for granted. This is soo unfair!!!

Key specs

* Price: £24,800
* Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 170bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed twin-clutch auto, front-wheel drive
* 0-62/top speed: 7.9 seconds/135mph
* Economy/CO2: 62.8mpg/119g/km
* Equipment: Stop-start, DNA switch, air-con, steering wheel paddles
* On sale Now