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ROMEO A CHARMER; RoadTest.

Byline: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB MultiAir Veloce By Peter Keenan

STYLE without substance is something Alfa Romeo's Giulietta thankfully does not suffer from.

It is gorgeous to look at with front and rear LED lights, chrome effect window sills and hidden door handles helping it to stand out from the crowd.

Slide into the comfortable figure-hugging front seat and you immediately appreciate the well-designed dashboard that artfully curves away from the driver. Everything feels well put together while the materials used for all surfaces are of a decent quality.

Nice touches, like the rocker switches for the electric windows and sports dials on the dash with white illumination, brighten an interior that would otherwise be pretty dark.

The boot offers a workable amount of space with the rear seats in place although a high load lip can make getting some larger items into it a bit tough.

Room up front is plentiful although those in the rear will find things a bit tighter - particularly passengers with long legs.

The punchy 170bhp 1.4-litre petrol turbo, linked to a slick six-speed manual gearbox, is a delight powering the car from a standing start to 62mph in a shade under eight seconds.

Alfa has fitted fuel and emissionssaving start/stop technology so claims a combined consumption figure approaching 50mpg and a carbon footpirnt of 134g/km which means the tax bill won't break the bank.

The one minus for me was the offset aluminium sports pedals as initially the clutch was tough on the ankle joint. A bit of seat adjustment relieved most of the pressure although there is no space to rest your left foot next to the pedal.

The Giulietta makes up for this with levels of grip that can't fail to impress as it feels glued to the road - helped in no small part by the Veloce trim's sports suspension.

The DNA switch is the link to the car's management computer that allows you to change the character of the Giulietta by altering the responses of the engine and steering.

Normal mode is a poor description for something that is a delight when it comes to driving - but switch to Dynamic and hang on to your socks as otherwise they will be blown off.

The Giulietta opens up with the Turismo version but to get the neat alloys, steering wheel-mounted controls and Bluetooth you'll need to step up to the Lusso model while the Veloce I tested has a number of sporty cosmetic upgrades as well as cruise control, dualzone climate control and a natty sixspeaker car radio with CD/MP3 player. Buyers requiring the flagship specification and quicker propulsion are catered for as the Cloverleaf model covers all the bases.

The Giulietta protects its occupants with front, side and curtain airbags as well as anti-whiplash front head restraints and stability control.

Being such an eye-catching individual it is good to see the criminal element are deterred by deadlocks, marked parts plus a modern alarm system.

It is a good looking car that's decent to drive and should attract fans old and new to the Alfa Romeo banner.

FastFacts MODEL: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB MultiAir Veloce.

PRICE: PS21,815 MECHANICAL: 170bhp, 1,368cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox MAX SPEED: 135mph COMBINEDMPG: 48.7 INSURANCE GROUP: 23 CO2: 134g/km COMPANY CAR TAX RATING: 18% WARRANTY: 3 years / unlimited miles

CAPTION(S):

EYE-CATCHING: The Guilietta has style but plenty of pleasing features, too.

DASHING: The well designed dashboard artfully curves away from the driver.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 26, 2013
Words:594
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