The Alfa Romeo Giulietta outsells the company's smaller car, the MiTo, by nearly two to one - so updates to Alfa’s Volkswagen Golf rival are particularly important.
Visual tweaks include fresh alloy wheel designs and a new grille, but the sleek styling is virtually unchanged, with the most significant updates taking place under the bodywork.
This Giulietta is powered by a new 2.0-litre Multijet diesel, which delivers 148bhp and a healthy 380Nm of torque from as low as 1,750rpm – that’s more than any rival can muster. Better still, it emits 110g/km of CO2 and promises similar fuel economy to the MiTo TwinAir, at 67.2mpg.
Yet unlike the MiTo, the Giulietta provides smooth and linear acceleration and a broad, flexible power band spread across the rev range. Extra sound deadening under the floor, boot and wheelarches aims to boost refinement, and it shows on the road – while the Giulietta isn’t as hushed as the class leaders, it’s very quiet.
The ride is still a little uneven on rough roads, but is far more composed and planted than the MiTo’s. Push too hard and the artificially weighted steering can feel too eager to self-centre, which is disconcerting and robs the driver of confidence.
Inside, sturdier seat bolsters, better-quality leather on the steering wheel and anti-scratch paint finishes improve things. It looks better, but there’s still the odd rough and cheap panel, while the sloping roofline eats into rear headroom.
The larger optional 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen, meanwhile, is better integrated into the dash and more attractive than the MiTo’s unit, too. It’s part of a long list of equipment.