Our cars: Alfa Romeo Giulietta - March 2012
Week ending March 30
Driven this week: 42 miles
Alfa Romeo Giulietta review
I swapped my usual Ford Focus for the Giulietta this week, but I have to say that we did not get along.
The Alfa proved practical enough as family transport for me and my eight-month-old baby, but I was profoundly unimpressed with the poor driving position – especially the cramped footwell and intrusive transmission tunnel – and the crashy ride.
Perhaps the Focus has spoiled me – its driving experience is superior to the Alfa’s in just about every way. On the plus side, I loved the interior finish and the looks, but I’m still itching to get the Ford’s keys back.
Week ending March 16
Driven this week: 346 miles
Stop-start systems tend not to work below a certain temperature, so I paid no attention to the Alfa not cutting out at traffic lights on cold, dark commutes recently.
However, now that the weather has warmed a little, the dashboard is still displaying ‘Start & Stop not available’ – leaving us to think that all is not as it should be. It’s not yet time to break out the shorts and flip-flops, but it is certainly warm enough that the car should be able to stop and start as intended.
As a result, a call to our local Alfa dealer is impending.
Week ending March 9
Driven this week: 98 miles
The Giulietta doesn't deal with speed bumps very well, as I discovered this week. The street where I live in south-west London is littered with them and I can't remember any car that I've driven recently being quite so flustered by them.
The problem is that if you carry a little too much speed, the nose of the car drops down heavily, 'bottoming out' on the road surface. As a result, I trundled down the street much slower than in most other cars.
I also noticed that the problem is more pronounced over speed bumps with a semi-circular profile – those with sharp edges don't have the same effect.
Week ending March 2
Driven this week: 220 miles
My youngest daughter Aisling may be laughing in this photo, but the smiles soon faded when we set off in the Giulietta.
Her feet were up against the front passenger seat even though my wife – who is not particularly tall – had slid the seat forward. Neither front nor rear passenger had much legroom, which made for a cramped journey.