The interior layout, fit and finish
The Giulia’s driver’s seat is set low and allows you to adopt a sporty hunkered-down position in front of a steering wheel that has plenty of adjustment and a pleasingly slim rim. The only annoyance is that the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles are unusually large and sit quite far back behind the wheel. That forces the indicator and windscreen wiper stalks to be set even further back, so you have to reach quite a long way with your fingers to access them. At least those paddles feel sturdy and high-quality.
Every Giulia has a 7.0in digital display between the analogue instrument dials; this can be configured to display information such as sat-nav instructions or driving information just below your line of sight, however it’s less customisable than Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit.
Interior finish has always been a bit of a sticking point with Alfa Romeo, but the Giulia’s impresses. This is particularly the case since its 2019 facelift introduced a fully overhauled interior with more soft-touch surfaces, as well as the option of specifying real-wood inserts for prominent locations, such as around the leather-clad gear selector.
Best of all, though, the ergonomic and quality quibbles that blighted earlier Giulias were addressed. For example, the rotary infotainment controller, which used to feel a little loose, now has a solid click to it, while the cup holders are now located further back from the dashboard, allowing for a larger size of bottle. There’s even an Italian flag motif at the base of the gear shifter to remind you of the reputation for luxurious craftsmanship that Alfa Romeo’s home nation has always enjoyed – if not always where building saloon cars is concerned. However, even with these smart touches, the Giulia still can’t quite match the quality of its German rivals, such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C Class.
All Giulias get an 8.8in colour infotainment screen that’s controlled by the rotary dial mounted between the front seats. Using the controller is much simpler – not to mention safer – than taking your eyes off the road to prod a touchscreen as you have to in most rivals. The system itself has quite a simple setup with a home screen that features a widget-style layout. However, the graphics are quite grainy and it’s not quite sophisticated enough to pull you away from plugging in your smartphone to use its apps via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which are included as standard. The BMW 3 Series – which also uses a rotary dial controller, but has much sharper graphics – remains the class leader here.
Alfa Romeo also provides a smartphone app that allows you to remotely operate features such as the central locking, and helps you easily locate your car in a car park. You can even access its features through a smart speaker at home, using a smart assistant such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa.
When it comes to visibility, seeing out of the front of the Giulia could be easier: its thick windscreen pillars and high-set door mirrors can restrict your view at junctions and roundabouts. Thankfully front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera are standard on all trims.
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