Used Alfa Romeo Giulia long-term test

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 long-term

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 5252 List price new (2019) £37,795 Price new with options £41,765 Dealer price now £27,000 Trade-in price now £23,500 Private price now £24,500 Test economy 36.1mpg Official economy 51.4mpg Running costs (excluding depreciation) £321

1 July 2020 – Parting is such sweet sorrow

They say first loves never die, and a succession of cheaply bought Alfa Romeos in my youth not only made me an admirer of the marque but also in some cases an apologist.

So, it was with great glee but also some mild trepidation that I first reversed this Alfa Romeo Giulia executive saloon onto my driveway, wondering if it would make the sap rise like my earlier Alfas had done or instead prove itself to be all style and no substance. What I certainly didn’t know then was that our affair was to be interrupted halfway through by a pandemic that required me for much of my tenure merely to look at it from out of my front room window.

Alfa Romeo Giulia long-termer

Never mind all that, though, because in the moments I did get to enjoy it from behind the wheel it more than lived up to the promise of its badge and those hazy memories. And indeed for those times when I could only stare at it parked up, it was at least a very handsome thing to look at, even if mine was the superseded 2019 car and not the latest 2020 version.

Yes, you see I stuck by my principles here, and as the used cars editor I chose a used car. My Giulia was six months old when I got it, with 2500 miles on the clock and was worth £28,000. Had it been a new car, it would have cost £37,795 or, with all the various options my car came with, £41,765, and that’s a useful saving on a car that had barely a mark on it.

To hop inside was to love it, because the driving position was spot-on and my car’s wonderfully glam red leather interior attracted almost as many positive comments from my passengers as the sleek exterior.

Alfa Giulia

I fell for the desperately cool-looking paddles behind the steering wheel, too. These were admittedly a £275 option added by the first owner, but are worth specifying if you’re buying a new car or seeking out if you’re going for a used one. They feel wonderful at the fingertips and are ideally placed for some really snappy gearchanges.

On the road, I also adored the Giulia’s quick and responsive steering, which made every journey a joy. I had reservations about the grumbliness of the diesel engine, however, and there was a slight hesitation away from a standstill in the otherwise sweet eight-speed automatic gearbox. Experimentation with the car’s three different driving modes – DNA, for Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency – soon taught me the thing to do was to leave it in Dynamic, in which mode it would take off like a scalded cat.

I have to admit that its infotainment system proved less than purr-fect, though. The screen is a touch low-res and the menus look a bit old-fashioned, although the rotary controller from which you access it all is great to use; much better than most touchscreens. I should point out that the updated Giulia has 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

Hopefully the alarm has also been improved, because the one on my car could be indecently active, especially in the early hours of the morning, which at least kept the neighbours on their toes.

The only other niggle was that my overall fuel consumption was higher than I’d hoped. The official WLTP figure is 51.4mpg, but my commute (in the days when I was commuting) dragged my overall average down to a respectable but not outstanding 36.1mpg.

So, despite those issues did this Italian stallion reignite my lust for the Alfa badge? Of course it did. I would heartily recommend you look at the new 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia if you're in the market for an executive saloon, but for those wanting to bag a bargain, a used 2019 version strikes me as even more tempting.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our used long-term Alfa Romeo Giulia >>

See more long-term test cars >>

Also consider