Our cars: Alfa Romeo Giulietta - January 2012
Week ending January 27
Driven this week 400 miles
While the 2011/2012 winter has not been as harsh as others in recent memory, there have still been a few sharp mornings to contend with.
I’ve breathed a sigh of relief that the snow has stayed away (I chose to do without winter tyres this year) but there have still been a few days where the Giulietta has needed chipping out of the ice.
The Alfa doesn’t boast a fancy in-screen heating system, as there is on rivals such as the Ford Focus, but it is still a swift and easy job to scrape the glass clear.
I can only attribute this to an efficient cabin heater, which makes short work of warming the inside to ease the ice away. It means the inside is nice and toasty for when the commute does start.
The only thing that doesn’t warm up is the ball of the top of the gearstick. Despite being plastic, the shiny silver ball remains chilly until it a fair few gear changes have brought it up to temperature.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta review
Week ending January 20
Driven this week 170 miles
With much of the Alfa’s life being spent in town, most journeys inevitably involve a lot of gearchanges.
Normally the smooth top to the gearlever means this isn't a problem, but during a recent jaunt through London, said smooth cap detached itself from the stick.
No problem, it’s surely just a case of clipping it back on, I thought. However, further inspection revealed the clips that held the cap on had sheared off.
As a result, the lever is now topped by a sharp-edged hole down to the screw that holds it all together - leaving us in need of a new top or a tube of Superglue.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta review
Week ending January 13
Driven this week: 230 miles
As somebody who likes to empty their pockets while driving, I’m disappointed by the Alfa’s shortage of storage space.
The armrest compartment is suitable for my wallet, but there isn’t anywhere else large enough to put my mobile phone or iPod once it is plugged into the auxiliary socket.
The cupholders do the job, but then there is nowhere to put my cup of coffee. This leaves only the passenger seat, which isn’t practical with other people in the car.
I appreciate its design, but the centre console around the gearlever could accommodate a small recess; another somewhere around the steering column would improve the Giulietta’s interior practicality.
Week ending January 6
Driven this week: 250 miles
One little touch I am very taken is the Giulietta's boot-lid button.
This might seem a strange thing to be enamoured with, but it is rather clever. To open the boot, you simply push the Alfa Romeo badge and it springs open.
It doesn’t require much force, and the badge is large enough that it can be jabbed by an elbow if you're carrying bags and the like.
Once open, the bootlid is light enough to be opened relatively easily as well. Best of all, it helps maintain the Giulietta’s attractively clean lines.