TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
- The QV badge has been retired for Alfa Romeo Giulietta, though the mechanical package lives on almost unchanged in the Giulietta Veloce. That means the same turbocharged 1.7-litre inline four as before, as well as a performance-oriented chassis and interior.
- The price for the auto-only Giulietta Veloce is $41,900, a $100 discount on the price of the previous Giulietta QV TCT auto. With the model now in its sixth year – and still no replacement in sight – does the top-tier Giulietta still have what it takes to compete with other similarly-priced hot hatches ?
- The Giulietta Veloce, like the superseded Quadrifoglio Verde, is powered by the same 1.7-litre turbo engine as the 4C: and it’s the best part about the car. Making 177kW and 340Nm of torque (in Dynamic mode) it packs a decent punch for its capacity, and sounds good when under load too.
- Though it’s quite an old car by now, the Giulietta’s Italian sheetmetal is still an attention-getter. Six years on from its showroom introduction, the Giulietta has been kept visually fresh through a modest front-and-rear cosmetic update that includes new grille details, headlamp jewellery, tailpipes and alloy wheel designs.
- Launch control is a handy feature to have if you need to make a fast getaway. Use it, and the engine/transmission combo effects a neat 4000rpm launch that sends the Giulietta to 100km/h in a swift 6.0 seconds.
- Handling through the sports-tuned suspension is excellent, though too-heavy steering in Dynamic mode spoils the experience somewhat. The Giulietta’s Pirelli rubber delivers good grip though, and the Veloce boasts a sporty character that keen drivers should appreciate.
- Torque steer gets in the way of having fun, always threatening to pull you off your intended path even when the front wheels are dead straight. Hold on to that wheel tightly if you’re planning on a spirited journey through the hills.
- The Veloce’s twin clutch transmission is the only transmission available, but unfortunately it’s not much chop. It’s a shame, because the no-longer-available six-speed manual was such a delight to use – the TCT auto, by contrast, is jerky from standstill and not as fast through the gears as other dual-clutchers.
- As strong as the Veloce’s 1.7-litre is, it’s a fairly lazy motor at low RPM when the turbo is off-boost. That means there’s a momentary pause between flattening the accelerator and the engine delivering meaningful power.
- The standard-fit Bose premium audio package is offensively bassy by default. We love our beats, but having to turn down the bass channel on a premium audio system is a little strange – and normally the opposite of what we’d do.
- Ergonomics – the front seats might be excellent, but the steering column doesn’t have enough reach adjustment, prompting an arms-straight-out posture that is neither natural or comfortable. Over-the-shoulder vision is also hampered by a thick B-pillar.
- The interior has other foibles too. Tiny cupholders and an undersized glovebox limit its everyday usability, while the lap section of the front seatbelts lie straight across backrest adjuster when you’re strapped in, making reclining your seat a real pain.
- There’s no reversing camera – a real oversight considering the view through the back of the Giulietta’s glasshouse isn’t exactly stellar. At least rear parking sensors are standard-issue.
- Build quality falls well short of expectations. Plastic quality and questionable fit and finish don’t align with Alfa’s premium brand image, and our tester had more than one piece of loose trim that made us doubt its long term durability.
- The Giulietta’s rear seat isn’t the roomiest one in the segment to begin with, but the Veloce’s is further compromised by the bulky backrests of the heavily-bolstered front seats
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD CONSIDER?
There are options aplenty if you’re looking for a fast five-door around the $40K mark, including the powerful Ford Focus ST, Mini Cooper S five-door and the yardstick Volkswagen Golf GTI. If you’re cool with a sedan, the Subaru WRX offers huge bang for your buck as well.