Our cars: Alfa Romeo Giulietta - August
Week ending August 31
Miles this week 600
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Giulietta has been on a long jaunt this week to Northumberland with colleague Euan Doig.
Euan tends to like setting off very early, so he can set the cruise control, sit back and avoid the rush hour traffic. However, he noticed something he didn't like about the Alfa's cruise control - there's no way to cancel it without touching the brake, something he's averse to on the motorway.
'A flash of brake lights on the motorway makes the person in the car behind dab their brakes, then the person behind them, and so on. This is how phantom traffic jams form at peak traffic periods. That's why I try to minimise the amount I brake on motorways, by cancelling the cruise control manually and allowing the car to slow down gradually. It annoyed me that the Alfa wouldn't allow me to do that.'
I don't think he'll be taking the Alfa for any other long-distance trips.
Tom's Alfa Romeo on video
Week ending August 24
Driven this week: 1500 miles
We recently included our long-term Giulietta in a main group test and it's fair to say that dynamically, at least, it didn't fare too well against its newer rivals. If ever a car felt in need of some additional chassis development then it's the Giulietta.
You can read much more about how it got on against its rivals in the November issue of What Car?.
Despite its poor showing on the ride and handling front, the Alfa did score extremely well in our True Mpg tests. Averaging 58.9mpg, it bettered a Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion's fuel consumption by a full 7mpg.
Week ending August 17
Driven this week 1100 miles
I've spent quite a bit of time in our long term Guilietta lately and I have to say I've struggled to warm to it.
Having picked up my elder daughter and set out on a pre-season jaunt to see our beloved Newcastle United play Cardiff City, it didn't take her long to complain about the rough quality of the road surface we were traveling on. I pointed out that we were actually on the M4 and that it was more the Alfa's inability to settle than any deficiency on behalf of the Highways Agency.
Other annoyances include the engine, which has developed a deep resonance that becomes increasingly intense as the revs climb and the padding in driver's seat back which creaks annoyingly whenever you adjust your weight.
More positively, the aftermarket Pure digital radio tuner is the only DAB radio that I've come across that will hold its signal near my home in deepest, darkest Hampshire.
Week ending August 10
Driven this week: 213 miles
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Alfa is not too far off the end of its time on the What Car? fleet, but there is no chance of the Giulietta kicking its shoes off and biding time until it leaves us.
It's due to take part in at least one group test, and I am intrigued to see how it stacks up against some of its newer competitors. The Giulietta is a couple of years old now, having first appeared in 2010.
This surprised me because I think the Giulietta still looks fresh whenever I see one out on the road. Any mid-life facelift isn't likely to change the looks too much; hopefully it'll concentrate on sorting out the ergonomic niggles that let it down.
Week ending August 3
Driven this week: 210 miles
One of the first things I do when getting into any car is find a place to put my phone. My reasoning is that it's much less distracting to have it vibrating in a cubbyhole than in my pocket if it rings.
I have an iPhone – a phone that has been on sale in a similar shape for just over five years now. However, there is no suitable cubbyhole to prop it up in while driving in the Alfa.
Most infuriating is the little pocket in the central console, which is just too narrow. The alternative is letting it fly around in the large door pocket, or letting it rest on the passenger seat.