• Respectable performance and handling
    • Decent fuel economy
    • Genuinely fun to drive
    • Standard tech is a tad lacking
    • Servicing costs are brutal
    • The odd rattle in the dashboard can get a little annoying

    About the

    Nick Lo Guarro purchased this used for $20,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2022. Nick Lo Guarro would buy this car again because: “Despite its flaws, it’s genuinely the most fun car I’ve ever driven, complete with Italian charm.

    The 1.4L four-pot turbo engine is gutsy with minimal turbo lag, especially when flicking Alfa’s famous DNA driving mode to Dynamic, and the weighted steering makes it feel like you’re actually in a driver-centric car.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    I bought the car in 2022 after leaving my job at a major Japanese automaker with just 35,000km on the clock, so the car was hardly driven. I was given the classic “old lady owner” schpiel when I bought the car, which given the low mileage and condition of the car was probably true.

    I was pretty set on a Giulietta so I’d have still signed the contract even if they’d told me she fanged it around corners at 100km/h with her screaming grandkids in the backseat.

    Thus far it’s given me trouble-free motoring apart from the odd rattle in the dashboard, which I’m sure would easily remedied by finding and wedging a bit of foam in whichever pesky loose fitting is causing the ruckus. Still, rattles are annoying.

    Servicing, as expected, can be a little dear at around $600 a pop for a basic one. I’m often told “Oh, but it’s an Alfa” – not that that reduces the sting at all.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    After a solid 10,000km of driving, I don’t have many negative things to say about the car. The ownership experience has been smooth sailing, though the insurance premium I pay is a bit of a kick in the gut. Still, no real complaints overall.

    Actually, one tiny little bugbear is the hideously shrill beeping sound the car makes when locking and unlocking it, but maybe I’m being pedantic here.

    My favourite part about owning the Giulietta is obnoxiously saying “it’s not a car – it’s an Alfa Romeo” to anyone who’ll listen, which generally garners a few eye rolls. They clearly haven’t seen the old MiTo ad from back in the day.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    I was pretty happy to pay $20,000 for a 2013 car with barely any kilometres on the clock.

    The Distinctive trim comes with heated leather seats which are super comfy, cruise control, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control, among other things.

    Features were otherwise pretty standard, and I must admit that I expected a touch more from a premium hatch in this segment. A branded sound system would have been a welcome addition, for starters.

    I opted to install an aftermarket head unit so that I could rather embarrassingly listen to Taylor Swift at full volume using Android Auto, as well as adding a reversing camera for the extra convenience.

    I had to buy a custom fascia to fit the new head unit screen which set me back $800. Yeah, you read that correctly – $800 for a pretty piece of plastic that I had to import from overseas…

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    I fuel the machine exclusively with 98 RON petrol to keep things running smoothly – although in 2024, I pay around $100 for a full tank of juice which can sting a little.

    This gives me a respectable 600-700km of driving range with an average consumption of 8L/100km. Admittedly, I do enjoy pinning the throttle to the firewall in Dynamic driving mode more often than I should, so I’m sure you could eke a few more kilometres out of a full tank with a more conservative right foot.

    But that’s not why you buy an Alfa Romeo, is it?

    Performance is pretty respectable. The 1.4L four-pot turbo engine is gutsy enough with minimal turbo lag, producing 125kW and 250Nm of torque.

    I can’t help but smile whenever I plant my foot on the accelerator pedal and feel the car surge forward, but I can’t help but wonder how much happier I’d be if I’d opted for the 1.75L Quadrifoglio (or Veloce, as it’s now known) spec.

    The gear shifts can be a little jerky at low speeds, but I can’t say this is uncommon with twin-clutch auto transmissions. It’s not quite as refined as a Golf, if you’re keen on a comparison, but nothing too troublesome.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    Tech is pretty standard for a 2013 car, and as I mentioned above I am sometimes left wanting for more.

    The aftermarket head unit and reversing camera have basically remedied my woes, though for a car in this segment I wish they’d offered a touch more. Even my mum’s old tinny Yaris came with a reversing camera as standard.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    Ride comfort is excellent, especially in the Distinctive’s leather seats.

    The suspension can sometimes feel a little bouncy, especially over speed bumps, but this is more than made up for by the car’s handling.

    It takes curves and corners with ease with minimal body roll, which is pretty nice given so many of today’s SUVs make you feel like you’re about to catapult out of the driver’s window when you turn just a little too quickly.