Alfa Romeo Giulietta MultiAir TCT Review

 
  • Alfa Review

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta could be the best looking hatch on the road today, but simply not good enough to compete with the Germans it’s priced against.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta MultiAir TCT review by John Beale

When bad things happen to a good car. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is probably one of the best looking vehicles on the road today, but a mechanical or electronic malady plagued the TCT (basically a twin-clutch gearbox system like VW’s DSG) gearbox. Clunky changes, thumping into first gear and just generally shifted gears like it had one too many Vodka Cranberry's, made for an unpleasant experience. Sadly, shifting in manual or with the paddles only angered the already drunk gearbox, so I left it to slur around in drive.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Performance

The 1.4T MultiAir Distinctive (middle of the range), delivers an impressive 125kW and 250NM through the front wheels, scorching a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.7seconds and 218km/h top speed. Fuel consumption is claimed at 6.2l/100km however I struggled to achieve that with the dodgy gearbox. There’s a heap of power from the little 1.4 turbocharged motor, and it’s eager to rev and get going.

It’s a pity the sound from the exhaust doesn’t match, but that’s what the Quadrifolgio is for. If the drive is not dynamic enough, you can switch the DNA toggle to “Dynamic” and let the magic happen. By magic, I mean electronic changes to the throttle, gearbox and steering feel, making it tighter, more responsive and more … well … dynamic. It unfortunately all is VERY aggressive and the artificial feel to it is a bit over-assisted. The system also offers “Normal” and “All Weather” mode, for snow driving. There are a few of these systems out there, but the Alfa one is a bit too one sided for my liking.

The Interior

The interior is typically Alfa, with round dials and red lighting and lettering for digital displays. Auto dual zone climate control, trip computer, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls for the windows sync system is standard. Cloth seats are comfortable, but rear space is quite limited. I couldn’t quite get comfortable with the view out of the drivers seat. It’s quite hard to judge the nose, which is quite long and slopes heavily, and A-pillar gets in the way.

As a reprieve, the dials ahead of the driver are quite sporty to look at, and the leather wrapped steering wheel feels solid. Materials are of an ‘ok’ quality, but some are too plastic, and still not up to Audi / BMW standards, and the rubber toggle switches on the dash feel like something that should belong on a below par coffee maker. That said, everything is easy to use, and there’s space under the armrest for wallets and such items that need to be hidden. There’s the usual host of airbags and safety systems you’d expect at this price. Overall, interior specification is good.

The ride

The ride is the mechanical highlight, with a solid feel over bumps and rides comfortably without crashing. Unfortunately brakes are too sharp and the auto box made disastrous changes right at braking point bringing in jerky stops. Dynamically, it’s perfectly capable, and considering most buyers won’t be purchasing this model as the hot hatch, they would be more than satisfied with the ride.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta MultiAir TCT - Conclusion

As said earlier, the Giulietta is one of the sexiest vehicles on the road today, and quality is significantly improved on the Alfa your dad drove. To boot, the 1.4turbo plant is a kicking engine, and produces the goods on economy and acceleration. However, interior quality and space in the rear might put some buyers off. There’s not a huge amount of new tech to spec either, and the competitors trump it on driving dynamics and refinement. A real pity the gearbox soured the experience as I think the manual sportier version could a firecracker.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta - Price

Alfa Romeo 1.4T Multiair Distinctive TCT - R330 990, including 3-year 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan.

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John Beale

John Beale believes all cars should come in correct wheel drive (rear wheel drive), and prefers old fashioned manual gears. He’s been writing about cars for over four years, and you can read some of his past writing on his blog, www.JTBeale.com. Beale spent a year on SA’s only car Podcast, the ZACarShow, leading the conversation with many of South Africa's top motoring journalists. John is the Motoring Editor for Fitness He Edition Magazine, and moonlights as the head of strategy at Cerebra.

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