Unless you’re happy going nowhere in a hurry, the 0.9-litre petrol is best avoided. It has to be worked hard to make even half-decent progress and because it has little torque, you’re constantly changing down a gear (sometimes two) to overtake, and to climb steep hills.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is a much better choice. It’s stronger and delivers its power more evenly, so doesn’t have to be worked as hard. The higher-powered 1.4 is stronger again but is reserved for the range-topping Quadrifoglio Verde, so is too pricey to recommend.
It’s the same story with the diesels. The smaller 1.3 is perfectly adequate for most journeys, so there’s little point going for the livelier, but more expensive, 1.6.
The 140bhp and 170bhp 1.4 petrols are automatic only; all other models have a manual gearbox. While Alfa’s TCT twin-clutch auto gearbox is quick and smooth once the car is up and running on open roads, it tends to dither and hunt for gears at lower speeds around town.