Our cars: Alfa Romeo Giulietta - February 2012
Week ending February 24
Driven this week 220 miles
Alfa Romeo Giulietta review
Having recently spent a lot of time in our Leaf, worrying about range anxiety, I've developed a bee in my bonnet about the accuracy of some trip computers - especially the estimated range. Unfortunately, the Giulietta's is one of the most inaccurate I've encountered.
With the fuel gauge displaying just less than one quarter of a tank and the readout showing 112 miles to empty, I set off on my 67-mile commute.
When I hit traffic just 20 miles into the journey, the fuel light illuminated and the readout informed me I had no miles remaining – despite the needle indicating more than an eighth of a tank.
At my half way point the readout was still displaying nought, but just two miles later, once the motorway congestion had cleared, the Alfa displayed 116 miles before the tank was empty.
I made it into the office with one eighth of a tank remaining, but the digital readout once again displayed nothing. I appreciate varying speeds will alter the predicted range, but a difference of more than 100 miles within such a short time meant I had no idea just exactly how much fuel remained.
Week ending February 10
Driven this week: 196 miles
A petrol version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta arrived in the office this week for testing, and naturally I was keen to jump in for a night to see how it compared with the diesel on our long-term fleet.
The car in question was a 1.4 Multiair 170 model in Veloce trim, a step up from the Lusso we are running. The most notable visual addition is a host of red stitching to go with the sports seats and floor mats, which adds a nice brightening touch to the interior. Polished metallic trim for the door mirrors and flashier alloys give the exterior a lift, too.
It was the sports suspension that impacted most on the drive home and back, however. It seemed to reduce the Giulietta’s tendency to catch its front bumper lip on bigger speed bumps, keeping everything a little firmer over the urban obstacles.
Naturally, it also stiffens everything up when it comes to potholes and the like, making the ride a little more jarring around town.
The 1.4-litre engine is great, though – much smoother, more responsive and quieter than the rattly 2.0-litre diesel in our car. In all, I liked the powertrain, but the alarming dip taken by the fuel gauge on a relatively short commute means I’ll be glad to see the diesel return.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta review
Week ending February 3
Driven this week 205 miles
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has caused a few furrowed brows and created several frustrated What Car? drivers in the last few weeks, but the car itself has not been to blame.
The problem has been with the number plate. Shortly before Christmas we received notification that it had been cloned, and the cloners had been using their car to get up to no good.
Thankfully, deputy web editor Leo Wilkinson had been told the police were aware of this and were on the lookout for a red Giulietta wearing the same numberplate. This meant he was not as alarmed as he might have been been when he was tailed by a police bike on the motorway and subsequently boxed in by two police cars and ushered to the hard shoulder.
It took only 15 minutes to convince them what had happened and for the police to check his story, and he was on his way. For more detail on what we have had to do to counter this problem, take a look at the new copy of What Car?, which goes on sale next week.