Our long-term Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV is fast-approaching the end of its time with us, but while time is running out on its tenure at CAR its appeal shows no signs of waning.
Since its sojourn up the West Coast, the Guilietta has been turning heads around Cape Town. While a long-term car’s looks probably shouldn’t eclipse such considerations as practicality, fuel economy and comfort, there’s simply no getting around the fact that our example, finished in metallic Alfa Red and rolling on 17-inch ‘telephone dial’ Super Sport alloys, is an attention-grabbing article. From my father, whose previous experience with an Alfa entailed having his Guilia bailed off the road by a drunk chap in a Mercedes 190, to an elderly lady at a garage forecourt who tearfully recalled her late husband picking her up for their first date in a Giulietta, the reactions to this car show that in a motoring sphere dominated by often-characterless appliances a bit of emotion can still bubble to the surface.
In more practical matters, the Giulietta continues to impress. It still serves up a smooth, raid and rewarding driving experience and while the ride may not be as resolved as some of its lesser siblings, it’s still a comfortable round town proposition. Although the build quality is generally very good, the cabin does exhibit a few trim shudders from the doors and the merest of scratches to that lustrous paintwork is enough to send you sinking to your knees in a sobbing heap.
Time spent around town has also highlighted such things as a very effective climate control system, which has coped admirably with the wilting heat to which Cape Town has recently subjected, and the pleasant ease with which the car’s Blue&Me Bluetooth system can be used – especially since being reduced to profanity spouting frustration by a similar system in a Ford which phoned my girlfriend mid-expletive (blaming the car didn’t help break the stony silence thereafter!). The only other negative is a self-inflicted one – the temptation to nudge the DNA selector into its sportiest setting to see the instrument illumination pulse as the overboost is ushered in for short blasts on backroads has seen the fuel consumption creeping up into the high nines. Still, that’s the price you pay for a spot of personality…
Mileage: 20 165 km
Pros: Arresting looks, strong engine, intuitive Bluetooth interface.
Cons: Cabin trim creaks, firm ride
Fuel economy: 9,7 L/100 km