EVERY petrolhead knows that, at some point in your life, you’ve got to own an Alfa Romeo to be classed as a proper car enthusiast.
Even Jeremy Clarkson would agree with that. But the problem is, for many years, Alfas have been a bit cack.
Pretty, but cack. However, about four years ago, Alfa presented Giorgio.
This wasn’t some handsome Italian bloke who worked in the factory, but the new chassis off which the company was going to spin eight new models and kickstart its revival.
First to sit on that platform was the Giulia saloon, a BMW 3 Series rival that had much more of a sense of style.
That was followed by the Stelvio SUV, which took on the likes of the Audi Q5.
Praise be, both were brilliant to drive. Genuinely superb motors, with great looks and competitive pricing.
The Giulia, in particular, won major critical plaudits, especially for the mental Ferrari-engined range-topper, with 510hp and a 191mph top speed, called the Quadrifoglio.
Surely, then, it was time to replace that Mercedes C 220 d you see in countless Jurys Inn car parks with something more Italianate?
Well, no. Not quite. You see, when these Alfas launched, while almost everything about them was brilliant, one thing most obviously was not. The interior.
It felt like the Giorgio twins had been rushed out quickly to try to save Alfa, while the team responsible for the cabin were too busy sitting around smoking and drinking coffee.
And so, for the 2020 model year, Alfa has had a go at improving both cars’ interiors — and I’m focusing on the Giulia.
Don’t bother trying to play a game of “spot the difference” on the outside because visually, nothing has changed.
Neither have the oily bits. It has the same range of 2-litre petrol, 2.2-litre turbo diesel and that insane V6 in the QF as before. All of them drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed autobox.
All Alfa has done is to bless the Giulia with a new steering wheel, a gear lever which no longer has sharp edges on the grip, fresh infotainment system (improved control wheel on the tunnel, touch-sensitive 8.8in screen in the dash), a better 7in display in the instrument cluster, and more sound-suppressing materials around the cabin.
Hardly groundbreaking stuff. But let me tell you, it’s enough to propel the Giulia near to the top of the class.
This Alfa is still brilliant to drive and to look at but, thankfully, now the cabin has been invited to the same party.
Admittedly, not Audi-rivalling and class-leading, yet by no means sub-par, either.
KEY FACTS: ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
- Price: £34,000
- Engine: 2.1-litre turbo diesel
- Power: 190hp, 450Nm
- 0-62mph: 7.1 secs
- Top speed: 143mph
- CO2: 126g/km
- Out: Now
So if you want to be a proper petrolhead, go out and buy this Alfa Romeo.
Turns out this Italian mob have remembered how to make an excellent car, after all.
ASK ALFIE: USED CAR SPECIALIST
Q) I OWN a white 2010 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SRi three-door hatchback.
It is mint and has only done 15,000 miles in the hands of two careful owners. What might it be worth?
A) Blimey, John Boy, most Astras from that year tend to have about 60-70,000 miles on them and claim to be minters.
You’d be looking at £3,000 for such a car but, as your motor is such low use, you probably ought to stick it up for £4,500 to £5,000.
Q) I GOT a seven-month-old Citroen C3 Aircross Flair 1.2 in April this year.
I soon noticed the passenger-side air distributor wasn’t working, so I reported this to the dealership and it ordered the part on April 11.
But then I was told the part is not available as “commercialisation is in progress”.
I’ve involved Citroen Customer Care and the Motor Ombudsman to try to get this sorted. It is disgusting that a firm this size cannot provide the replacement part. What I can do?
A) Mate, this sounds outrageous. How Citroen can’t just get you what should be a simple part is beyond me, and the car is clearly under warranty
I reckon that if you’re getting no joy from the firm, you want to cite the 2015 Consumer Rights Act direct to the dealership – as you reported the fault straight away.
It will have a record of that and you were well within the six-month time period for discovering faulty goods.
Therefore, tell the dealership you want it repaired or a full refund as per the law.
That should get ’em off their backsides to find you the new part, even if it has to take it off another C3 Aircross on its forecourt or in the showroom.