Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV.
The Alfa Romeo Guilietta offers a choice for those who want something sporty, but are price conscious, with prices starting at just under $25,000.
For those after something with a little more styling flair, there is the top-line Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde (as in Alfa‚Äôs four-leaf clover emblem), or ‚ÄėQV‚ÄĚ for short.
Released three years ago (with two minor updates since), the Giulietta is still a stunning piece of automotive design. From its tapered headlights (embedded with jewel-like daytime running lights) to the hidden rear door handles and the twirl in the tail-lights.
In profile the Giulietta resembles a coupe more than a hatch.
Most mod-cons are covered, but Alfa makes satellite-navigation a plug-in option that sits atop the dash, and there is no factory-fitted rear view camera either.
Wireless Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard but Bluetooth audio is not; the device has to connect via a USB port.
The interior is roomy and functional, though not as beautiful as the exterior. Seat trim is a stylishly textured yet hard-wearing material.
The air vents though are a little small and a digital speed display would be a welcome addition in the screen next to the analog speedometer, especially given the wide speedo needle covers about 5km/h worth of increments.
The boot is roomier than the Giulietta‚Äôs sleek proportions suggest (350L) and there is good headroom front and rear.
The Italians somehow extract 173kW from a 1.7-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that does its thing in a smooth and quiet manner, without ever feeling rushed or out of breath.
A well-sorted chassis and suspension tune, good brakes, great ride comfort, and plenty of tyre grip complete the sporty feel.
But if you can only drive an automatic, unfortunately this car is not for you‚Ä¶for now!
Safety is well catered for, with six airbags and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up, Alfa‚Äôs Giulietta QV is a surprisingly fresh alternative to the VW Golf GTI.
NUTS and BOLTS -¬†2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde
Engine: 1.7-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol producing 173kW and 340Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 3 years/150,000km
Price: $27,450 - $39,150