Used Alfa Romeo Giulia long-term test: report 2

The Alfa Romeo Giulia has plenty of style and an exotic badge, but is that enough to make it worthy of a used purchase?...

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The car 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 JTDM-2 190 Speciale  

Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To find out if buying a used Alfa is now an undertaking to be considered with both the head and the heart

Needs to Add a dash of Italian charisma to the daily grind, as well as cope admirably with all that an executive car should do

Mileage 3350 List price new (2019) £37,795 Price new with options £41,765 Value now £28,000 Test economy 39.1mpg Official economy 51.4mpg

27th February - The mysteries of DNA explained

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, it seems, if that name’s Alfa Romeo.

People love the looks of my car, and when you tell them it’s an Alfa they grow giddy with excitement. Indeed I had to restrain my young nephew from rushing out to buy one when he first saw it, so great was his ardour. Clearly the firm’s reputation for building exotic and charismatic cars has won out over its reputation for building rusty and unreliable ones.

Alfa Giulia long-term

One month and 1000 miles into my ownership of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and my love affair’s blossoming. It’s probably true that I’m viewing my white Italian stallion through rose-tinted spectacles, but I’ve already mentioned how much I love its quick and responsive steering – which makes every journey a joy – and I also love the fact the electronic warning sound that alerts you that you’re about to hit the car in front has the same delightfully high-pitched tone as an old Ferrari’s Fiamm air horns. How wonderful: it brings a little bit of the Mille Miglia to the Kingston by-pass.

I’ve also been experimenting with its DNA, which is not as odd as it sounds. You see the Giulia offers three differing driving modes: Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency. Unlike some of these systems, switching between them really does alter the driving characteristics noticeably, with Dynamic upping responses and Advanced Efficiency retarding them to save energy.

Alfa Giulia long-term

I leave it in Natural most of the time, in which it’s an adequate performer, if a little hesitant at junctions and roundabouts. But stick it in Dynamic and the car takes off like it’s been caught in the tractor beam of the Starship Enterprise. I must say it transforms the car’s appeal for a keen driver, and it’s a delight on a winding road. By contrast, put it in Advanced and it feels like you’ve tethered the QE2 to its tail, so tardy does it become in its quest for efficiency and eeking out the treacle.  

However, it’s not all fun and games in Alphaville. I have to admit its infotainment system is less than sparkling. The screen is a touch low-res and its menus a little confusing until you’ve mastered them all, although the rotary controller from which you access it all is great to use, much better I think than many purely touchscreen systems. That said, I should point out here that an updated Alfa Romeo Giulia is now on sale with a new infotainment system that incorporates a touchscreen as well as a dial controller –the best of both worlds, maybe – and I’m told its graphics are sharper, too.

Alfa Giulia long-term

Another small niggle: my fuel consumption is higher than I’d hoped. According to the digital readout, I was initially only achieving 36.1mpg – the official WLTP figure is 51.4mpg. Part of this can be put down to my daily urban commute, of course, although it should be noted my previous car – a petrol-engined 1.5 VW Golf – achieved 47mpg in very similar circumstances. However, a long motorway run upped the overall figure to 39.1mpg, so maybe I’d just been enjoying the Alfa’s DNA a bit too much on the urban twisties.

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