Alfa Romeo Giulia: A car to reckon with

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THE current generation of Giulia has exceptional driving dynamics and delivers outstanding results in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test simulations (though the current model year has not yet been evaluated by the IIHS). It presents a distinct Italian style but has some slight hiccups inside, including a few interior elements that don’t match the high level you may expect from a European luxury brand.

If you crave a sporty sedan and like the idea of driving something besides the usual Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, you should buy an Alfa Romeo Giulia. Its crisp handling and robust engines create one of the most athletic experiences in this class. For the most part, the cabin is elegant and luxurious, though a few areas fall short of ultimate refinement. Tight quarters in the back seat rule out the Giulia as a good option for carpooling with colleagues. You can better accommodate rear-seat passengers – along with everyone’s gear – with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV.

Alfa Romeo introduced the Giulia as an all-new vehicle for the 2017 model year. The features list received a few tweaks for the car’s second production year, but the Giulia was otherwise unchanged. As a result, this overview includes relevant reviews and research from the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Based on 2017 prices, the 2018 Giulia will likely start at around $38,000, which slots it between the cost of the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The Audi A4 is one of the best sport sedans you can buy. Its cabin boasts top-notch materials and cutting-edge technology, creating an environment that feels inviting and high class. Many shoppers will feel reassured by this Audi’s history of elevated crash test and reliability scores (the latter of which is still a question mark for the Giulia), but the base A4 isn’t quite as sporty as the Alfa Romeo.

Overall, the BMW 3 Series is on par with the Alfa Romeo Giulia, though each car offers a unique slant on the sport sedan archetype. The BMW brings you a handsome cabin and refined handling for around $4,500 less than the Giulia. Adding a more powerful engine or other features quickly adds to its price tag, however. Right out of the gate, the Giulia delivers potent acceleration rates and sharp road skills, making it the better pick for driving enthusiasts.

If comfort is key, you want the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Its interior is one of the most luxurious in this class, and the front seats (with a wealth of power adjustments) are superb. Its base engine is smooth and sprightly, but you won’t get the same hearty pull that the Giulia delivers.

Passenger space isn’t gratuitous inside the five-seat Giulia, but unless you’re planning to taxi back-seat passengers regularly, you’ll have few complaints. Reviews are mixed on the comfort of the seats (which are a bit on the firm side), but the base model comes with a nice selection of power adjustments. — SG

The Giulia has two sets of lower anchors located on the outboard seats. You’ll have to dig deep in the seat cushions to find them, though, and they can be awkward to maneuver around. The car’s three tether anchors are much easier to find.

The Giulia has a clean, elegant layout, accentuated by upscale materials like walnut, aluminum, carbon fiber, and double-stitched black leather. A faction of test drivers call out a few switches and other elements that feel lower grade than what you may expect from an Italian sport sedan.

Trunk space is a bit slim in the Giulia. It has 12 cubic feet of cargo room – a touch smaller than the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The Giulia has a simple, easy-to-use infotainment system that includes three USB ports and the option to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its simple setup keeps driver distraction at a minimum, but the interface lacks the state-of-the-art quality that the Audi A4 offers.

When it comes to base engines, the Giulia’s is one of the most authoritative among its peers. This 280-horsepower four-cylinder engine is brisk and smooth, complemented by its polished eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Ferrari-derived V6 in the Giulia Quadrifoglio has twin turbochargers, a throatier sound, and faster acceleration. This 505-horsepower dynamo dashes the car to 60 mph in as little as 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 191 mph.

Giulia Gas Mileage: Typical for Its Class

With its 2.0-liter engine, the Giulia gets 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. This falls close to the average fuel economy rating for luxury small cars.

Giulia Ride and Handling: Exceptionally Athletic

Test drivers repeatedly remark that the steering response in the Giulia is one of the most precise around. The standard Brembo brake system is incredibly strong, and the suspension does a magnificent job keeping body movements in check. You can adjust many of the handling elements with the Alfa DNA Drive Mode Selector, which comes standard with Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency modes.

Giulia Reliability

Alfa Romeo covers the 2018 Giulia with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

A rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard in the 2018 Giulia. Available safety features include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with full-stop capabilities, front parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.The three Giulia models break down like this – the base Giulia starts off the lineup, the Giulia Ti adds a handful of swanky upgrades, and the high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio is the apex. The powerful Quadrifoglio is certainly thrilling to drive, but its estimated $72,000 price tag will be a deterrent for many shoppers (all retail prices quoted here are approximate, as 2018 prices are not available at the time of this writing).

The Giulia and Giulia Ti both come with the same powertrain and rear-wheel drive. You can add all-wheel drive for about $2,000. The base trim comes with a wealth of standard features, but if you step up the Ti, you get goodies like a larger infotainment screen and heated front seats, while adding only about $2,000 to your cost. A variety of available packages gives you the ability to add extras like navigation and advanced safety technology to each trim level.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission power the Giulia. Interior amenities include leather seats, 10-way power adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, push-button start, a proximity key, rain-sensing windshield wipers, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. A 6.5-inch infotainment screen, a console-mounted infotainment control knob, three USB ports, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and an eight-speaker audio system make up the base infotainment system. Expect pricing to start at around $38,000.

The Giulia Ti builds on the base model’s standard amenities, adding an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, satellite radio, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and front parking sensors. Expect it to start at around $40,000.

The range-topping Giulia Quadrifoglio features a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It comes only with rear-wheel drive. Pricing starts at around $72,000 and includes performance enhancements, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system, carbon fiber accents inside and out, navigation, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Driving enthusiasts will be immediately rewarded the first time they slip behind the Giulia’s steering wheel. The Giulia delivers one of the sportiest experiences in this segment, accompanied by a duo of powerful engine options. You can dial down the athleticism somewhat when you want a more comfortable daily driver, but even then, the Giulia’s sport-tuned attitude is evident. The driver and front passenger will enjoy the journey in comfort, but limited space in the back seat and trunk makes this Alfa Romeo less friendly for larger parties. – SG


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