What's the used Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon like?
It’s fair to say that a number of people have bought a used Alfa Romeo in the past simply because it looked really good and its value had dropped faster than a lift with the cable cut. Now, though, with the Giulia, you have a really compelling used alternative to the executive car norm that competes on performance, running costs and offers a great driving experience to boot.
Those usual suspects include the German big three: the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But you can also include the Jaguar XE, because both it and the Giulia put plenty of emphasis on being fun to drive, since they’re both available with rear-wheel drive and come with sophisticated suspension set-ups.
Powering the Giulia is a choice of petrol and diesel engines in a number of different outputs. The range starts with a 197bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, but this can be increased to 276bhp with the Veloce and Veloce Ti versions. The diesel range stems from a 2.2-litre four-cylinder with either 148bhp or 177bhp. Then there’s the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio – our 2018 Sports Car of the Year, no less – with a 2.9-litre V6 that kicks out 503bhp. All engines come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
To drive, the Giulia is a lesson in how even a ‘dull’ executive car can be made to handle well. The first thing you’ll notice is the light yet lightning quick steering that you get used to within a few miles. It helps to disguise the size of the Giulia and makes it feel really nimble, along with the added boon of making parking a breeze, as you can get a lot of steering lock with relatively few turns of the wheel.
The ride has a fluid quality over bumps and is particularly good on Giulias fitted with the adaptive dampers that come as part of an optional Performance Pack. They stiffen up in Dynamic mode, but when you enter a town or come across a poorly maintained bit of Tarmac, you can simply hit a button to slacken them off in an instant.
Inside the Giulia, the fit and finish can’t match that of the 3 Series or A4, but it is smarter than the XE. Space is also better in the Giulia than its British rival, although leg room in the rear still isn’t a patch on that of the A4. The boot is among the deepest in the class, and on Speciale versions, there's a highly useful 40/20/40-split folding rear bench as standard. Unfortunately, the opening is awkward and hampers usability, because it can't swallow as tall items as the A4.
Standard equipment is decent, with all models getting an 8.8in infotainment system that’s controlled with a rotary dial, plus cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a host safety systems such as lane departure warning, forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking.