Alfa Romeo Giulia Review  logo

Alfa Romeo Giulia Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Great to drive, costly ownership”

Best bits

  • Major handling fun
  • Looks a million dollars
  • Improved cabin quality

Not so great

  • Limited choice of engine and trim options
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Petrol engines’ CO2 emissions

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Exterior Front

Overall verdict

Alfa Romeo Giulia Interior

On the inside

Alfa Romeo Giulia Driving Front

Driving

Alfa Romeo Giulia Exterior back

How much does it cost to run

Alfa Romeo Giulia Driving

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Alfa Romeo Giulia certainly looks the part. It's aggressive, sleek and distinctive. What's more, on paper at least, there is a Giulia for everyone, with the range encompassing everything from efficient diesels to supercar munching V6 petrols."

Alfa Romeo Giulia Exterior Front

As you might expect, the diesel continues to make up most of the sales, with the majority of Giulias being aimed at fleets and family buyers. This puts the Italian into direct competition with the Teutonic triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but the Alfa holds its own.


Helping the Giulia to appeal to those who want something with a sporting feel, the rear-wheel drive Giulia is very much geared towards driving pleasure, with firm suspension, responsive steering and torque-packed engines. The four-cylinder turbo petrol and turbodiesel motors are responsive and punchy, or if you want to get a proper move on there’s the 2.9-litre V6 GTA with a mighty 510PS.


Claimed economy is strong with the four-cylinder motors, which is good news for company car drivers. Officially, the diesel Giulia will return more than 52.3mpg which is on par with most rivals. All 2.2 diesels get an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox as standard, which delivers power to the rear-wheels with smooth precision, making it easy to take advantage of the Giulia's grippy and balanced chassis.


The petrol-powered models also use an eight-speed auto as standard and the only downside to this is the optional large steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters feel a little too far away from your fingers for easy operation.


The fit and finish of the cabin isn't as good as German rivals, but it's an improvement over previous Alfa Romeos and has made yet more strides in the right direction with the facelift at the tail-end of 2019.


The infotainment isn't anywhere near as advanced as those found in a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. However, this was another area that was improved with the 2019 update and the Giulia now comes with an 8.8-inch touchscreen display in the centre of the dash that lets you drag and drop icons to customise the screen to your preferences. There’s also a 7-inch colour screen in the middle of the main dash binnacle.


Space is reasonable, with enough room for four adults at a push. The boot's also good enough, with 480-litres of space on hand, although a shallow opening can make fitting bulky items in tricky and only the higher-spec models get drop-down rear seats. It’s also worth noting there is not an estate version of the Giulia to broaden its appeal next to the German competition.


That's not to say you should dismiss the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It has some very likeable traits that make it a genuine alternative to the mainstay of many otherwise bland looking upmarket saloons. Its superb handling is the main reason you will buy a Giulia, but its other traits are sufficient to make it a rewarding longer term proposition.


Is the Alfa Romeo Giulia right for you?

The Alfa Romeo Giulia clearly has the BMW 3 Series in its sights as the main target for buyers. This is because the rear-wheel drive Giulia’s key talent is its handling prowess. We’ve seen this before from Alfa, with the 156 notably, and it’s a ploy that has worked. However, the downside is the small executive saloon market has moved on since the days of the 156 and these cars have to be very able all-rounders to garner sales success.


Even so, the Giulia wins plaudits for its looks and the four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel engines are good to use and decently frugal next to the competition. They also come equipped with a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard on all models.


Inside, the Giulia is comfortable, if not the most spacious car in the class. It’s also had the build quality improved with a facelift in late 2019. This applies to the rampantly fast GTA model too that is a very creditable alternative to the likes of the Audi RS4 and BMW M3.


What’s the best Alfa Romeo Giulia model/engine to choose?

It would be good to recommend the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine in the Alfa Romeo Giulia as it zings and revs in a way that matches the car’s fun nature. However, reality bites with this engine due to its carbon dioxide emissions and that makes it a non-starter for the many company drivers who form the bulk of owners for this kind of car.


Instead, the 2.2-litre turbodiesel is the more cost-effective motor to choose. Be warned, though, as Alfa Romeo only offers each engine in limited number of trims, so you may find the engine you want is not offered in the specification that suits your needs. This is the case with the diesel, which is not available in Veloce trim, so you’ll have to pick between Super or Speciale.


As for the outrageously quick GTA, it has its own standalone trim and specification. If you’re in the market for a super fast, super exciting saloon, this Alfa more than fits the bill.


What other cars are similar to the Alfa Romeo Giulia?

The BMW 3 Series is the most obvious rival to the Alfa Romeo Giulia because both have a sporting sensibility designed to appeal to keen drivers. In the case of the BMW, it does this while offering a much broader range of engines and trims to customers, making it a more appealing choice for many.


The Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class are the other big hitters from Germany and each is a delightful car in its own way. We should also mention the Jaguar XE as a British alternative to the Alfa and another with a focus on sporting fun. The Lexus IS has similar ingredients to the Alfa but doesn’t make the grade, while the Volvo S60 has a distinctly Scandi flavour that we find alluring.


Learn more

Alfa Romeo Giulia Interior

On the inside

Alfa Romeo Giulia Driving Front

Driving

Alfa Romeo Giulia Exterior back

How much does it cost to run

Alfa Romeo Giulia Driving

Prices, versions and specification