Alfa Romeo Giulietta
(2010 - 2020)

  • Stunning Italian design.
  • Appears and feels far more expensive than it is.
  • A genuine charm and mystique to the driving experience.
  • It’s an Alfa Romeo so it’s cool.
  • Horrendous (and deserved) reputation for reliability and issues.
  • Expensive repair bills.
  • Suffers from a huge range of electronic gremlins.
  • Well used examples will rattle and squeak.
Overview

For all of Alfa Romeo’s rich and storied history, the brand was in the dumps back in 2010 when its Giulietta arrived globally back in 2010 and locally early the following year. The small hatchback was positioned as an Audi A3 rival and, with much hype, was charged with shaking off the Italian’s then baked-in stigma for poor reliability and a lack of spirited genes.

The Giulietta, that effectively replaced the 146, was supposed to Alfa Romeo’s renaissance. In some ways it hit the mark, in styling, its willing chassis and vibe filled with Italian classicisms. In others, such as quality and, yes, reliability and areas such as cabin ergonomics, the hatch left the gates as an also-ran against German rivals it competed against.

A reboot of an old nameplate, in hope of lighting fire under the hardcore Alfisti traditionalists, the five-door Giulietta launched in two guises.

The top dog 1750 TBi version wore the famed Quadrifoglio Verde or ‘QV’ (aka, four-clover leaf) designation, was powered by an evocative 1.75-litre turbocharged petrol four, was dripping with charisma and, at $42k as a manual only, had Volkswagen Golf GTI firmly in its cross-hairs.

Sat under the QV was the regular version, initially called the Distinctive, powered by a 1.4 TB MultiAir turbo petrol four. Used buyers shouldn’t sleep on the 1.4 versions: it’s a cracker of an engine but as you will read, can be riddled with issues. At $37k, the base version was priced around the entry point for premium European small hatches.

Both versions came as six-speed only in its launch year, with DNA drive mode trickery and a Q2 electronic differential for exclusive front-drive format. Both were handsome lookers, the QV styling marked by larger dark-finish 18-inch wheel, lowered stance and signature QV badging.

Inside, each boasts clear retro leanings with oh-so Italian touches, right down to instrument labelling, and the flagship’s leather seats were wonderful. But it was also critically panned for its cheap and flimsy make-up in areas and some of its features were and are quite fragile.

Pace wise, the QV was claimed, at 6.8sec 0-100km/h, to be one second quicker to march, thought the 1.4’s advertised 5.6L/100km frugality was much better than the QV’s still-handy 7.6L although we have found both engines are far thirstier then what Alfa would lead you to believe. But, really, you bought into the drive, and the Giulietta offered sharp steering and frisky dynamics with reasonably polished ride, so there’s enough fun factor in its step to live up to its spirited looks.

For 2012, Alfa Romeo started offering a choice of a ‘TCT’-branded six-speed dual-clutch transmission, starting from $39k behind the petrol 1.4. A Giulietta JTD-M also arrived powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four, priced at $42k with the dual-clutch auto with similar performance (7.9sec) and fuel economy (5.3L) to the 1.4s.

In mid-2013, the line-up added a new Progression nameplate sat under the Distinctive but above a new cut-priced, no-name base version (from $24,550) powered by a more modest version of the 1.4 engine. Pricing for the Progression ranged from $27k-ish for the 1.4 manual to $33k-ish for the oiler JTD-M auto.

In 2015, the QV got a newer-generation engine shared with the 4C sportscar that upped power to 177kW while adding the option of a dual-clutch auto to create three versions: the manual ($39k), the Auto ($42k) and the confusing named Launch Edition ($45k with an auto) that could be had with trendy matte paintwork, if only offered in 25 units.

The QV was now quicker (6.0sec) with as an auto and with launch control fitted. And also more frugal (7.0L) than before. A new Uconnect 6.5-inch multimedia system was also added at this key update that also brought subtly refreshed styling inside and out for MY15.

In late 2015, Alfa Romeo reprised the Sprint badge that, with 110kW 1.4 power and at $31k, slotted between the Progression and Distinction. Around here, the base engine upped power and torque and the no-name entry variant was dropped.

The Italian marque kept refreshing and re-firing the Giulietta throughout its lifecycle, dipping again into its heritage name bag to present the Veloce in October 2016, with QV running gear and the old QV pricing ($42k). The Super dropped to $30k and effectively replaced the then-axed Progression.

A limited 30-unit run of Veloce S versions, at $45k-ish, hit showrooms in mid 2019, but by April 2020 the Italian marque announced with would axe Giulietta, which would eventually be replaced by the Tonale small SUV.

The small hatchback range’s swansong was the Edizione Finale, a Veloce with what was quoted as six grand’s worth of extra goodies, released in May 2021 with just 35 examples offered at a price of around $49k.

Ads goes here
What goes wrong

If you are an Alfa Romeo fan, this section may be confronting and upsetting, we apologise.

EXTERIOR:

  • In terms of the exterior, the rear lights can stop working, the rear wiper can fail and the boot can just stop opening. This is generally due to the wiring loom chafing or becoming faulty or degrading because it’s simply not very good. The good news is that there are wiring loom kits available to remedy this.
  • The outside temperature sensor can fail but if you need to know what the temperature is outside, just stick your hand out the window, if the window works.
  • The grill elements on certain variants can protrude resulting in the vanes being knocked off or breaking. Replacement items are easy to source online.
  • There are many reports that the fog lights are beginning to corrode, rust and fail.
  • Models fitted with LED daytime running lights are starting to experience a failure of the LED element of the light. The issue is not necessarily the LED that fails but the ECU underneath the light that controls it. Generally, to repair this issue requires the light and lights ECU to be replaced.
  • There are many reports that the door handle cover at the back of the exterior handle can fall off or break easily and that the hinge at the front of the handle can break. It is a very fiddly job to repair and may require an entirely new door handle.

INSIDE:

  • Inside there are many reports that the interior door handles can snap off or break about half way along the handle. If you prefer to use genuine Alfa parts you may have to buy the whole door card as the handle is plastic welded and Alfa Romeo currently don’t sell the handle by itself. If you’re happy to go with non-OEM parts, there are kits available to fix this for far less.
  • If you do repair or replace the handle, be very careful of the leading trim piece below the armrest as it can be very fragile and is becoming brittle so it can break easily.
  • The centre console storage box up here on the dash is quite fragile and the hinges break easily.
  • There are many reports that the Blue&me equipped head units can have major issues. The better alternative is to replace it with an aftermarket system.
  • There are more and more reports that the hand brake mechanism can break.
  • The finish around the dials and on the bottom of the steering wheel has a habit of fading and peeling off.
  • The chrome on the gear knob tends to wear off very easily.
  • Owners with large feet have complained that the gap between the clutch pedal and centre console is too small and it can be a challenge to find a comfy spot for your foot.
  • Also in that area, it’s becoming more common that the ventilation fan can fail. To repair that, either the whole dashboard has to come out or the pedals have to be removed, either way it’s a labour intensive job.
  • Make sure you try every single button and dial and do they work because there are endless reports of various electronic gremlins. Everything from the air conditioning not working properly to the gauges playing up, as these get older, the electronics are simply failing.

MECHANICAL:

To say the Giulietta is unreliable is a bit of an understatement. Many will disagree, claiming that they’ve had one for years and never had a problem. Which for a select few, might be true.But statistically Alfa Romeo as a brand, out of all car brand manufacturers, is the second most unreliable car manufacturer.

But some people still love them. And if you’re one of those people, you love the brand and have to have one of these be prepared to work on it a lot, or pay someone else to work on it a lot. If you’re an enthusiast and want to have a crack at it yourself, some of the things you might be spending your weekends fixing are things like just reattaching all the various bits and pieces that fell off that week, and good luck sorting out the endless electrical gremlins.

Or maybe you will enjoy the more serious repairs like turbo oil line leaks or worse still, replacing the whole turbo, or replacing terribly weak engine bay plastics like radiators, thermostat housings & expansion tanks.You might want to take out the engine or gearbox and fix the rear main oil seal again, and again. Although, you are probably better off pulling the engine out so you can replace the welch plugs at the same time because they’ll be leaking.

The list of things that goes wrong, goes on & on and the reality is most of it is beyond the average do-it-yourselfer so you’re going to have to pay to get it done.
We know of workshops that will go near Alfa Romeo models because they’re just so problematic.

Not to mention, that with so few of these on our roads you have to wonder how easily you can actually get parts for them in the future.
Some Giulietta will go on to be quirky low mileage collectables, but the vast majority, if they’re over 10 years old, and something serious goes wrong, its likely to cost more to fix than the car is worth and it’ll be off to the wreckers.

Model range, pricing & features

1.4 TB

  • Price when new: $24,550
  • Price used: $6,500 - $15,000

The 1.4 TB “no badge” model was introduced in 2013 as the new base model and largely carried the same features as the 1.4 TB MultiAir and 2.0 JTDm, with some exceptions being the lack of alloy wheels, electrochromatic rear vision mirror, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, Competizione fabric upholstery and a 8-speaker sound system (1.4 TB offered a 6-speaker sound system).

This model also was fitted with a less powerful 88kW 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 6-speed manual only.

Standard Features:

16-inch steel wheels
Body coloured bumper bars
Body coloured side mirrors
Hydraulic steering system
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and full-length curtain airbags,
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
Seatbelt reminder for all seats
Headrests for all occupants
Active head restraints for driver and front passenger
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Anti-slip regulation (ASR)
Hill start assist (HSA)
Rear parking sensors
Electric side mirrors
Heated side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s and front passenger’s auto up/down function
Cruise control
Headlights with low and high beam
Front fog lights
Rear wiper
Remote central locking
Tachometer
Fuel gauge
Trip computer
Manual handbrake
Power steering
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) and telescopic (reach) adjust
Multi-functional leather sterring wheel
Air conditioning
Cloth upholstery
Manually adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
6-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
CD player
MP3 compatibility
AUX (3.5mm) inputs
Front seat map pockets
60:40 rear folding seats

Progression

  • Price when new: $27,450 - $33,350
  • Price used: $8,000 - $25,000

The Progression model was the mid-range model introduced in 2013 and added features such as alloy wheels, electrically folding side mirrors, power adjustable driver’s seat and a rear centre armrest.

In addition to the 1.4 TB:

16-inch alloy wheels
Power adjustive driver’s seat
Electrically folding side mirrors
Rear sear centre armrest

December 2014 update (known as the “”Series 1″” update):
New “Alfa V” grille
Revised front fog lamp bezels
New 16-inch alloy wheel designs
Three new paint finishes (Moon White, Anodized Blue and Bronze)
Improved sound insulation
Redesigned dashboard
New door trim panel designs
Repositioned AUX inputs in centre console
New steering wheel design
Daytime LED running lights
Tyre pressure monitor
Rear parking sensors
Automatic headlights
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
5.0-inch touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment system
Bluetooth connectivity with music streaming
12V power socket

Sprint

  • Price when new: $31,000
  • Price used: $19,000 - $25,000

The Sprint was a mid-range sports orientated model introduced in November 2015 and could be identified by 17-inch alloy wheels, special badging, carbon effect interior trim and cloth/Alcantara trim.

In addition to Progression:

17-inch alloy wheels
Special badging on the front fender
Rear side skirts
Dark-tinted windows
Carbon-effect door panel trim
Cloth/Alcantara upholstery
“Sprint” logo embroidered into the headrests
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching

Super

  • Price when new: $29,900 - $35,950
  • Price used: $15,000 - $39,000

As part of updates introduced in October 2016, the Super model was introduced and phased out the Progression, Sprint and Distinctive models.

In addition to the Progression model, the Super model added front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, halogen headlights, alpine 7.0-inch infotainment system, DAB+ digital radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Audio.

In addition to Progression:

Front and rear parking sensors
Reversing camera
Dual-zone climate control
Halogen headlights
Refrigerated storage compartment
Alpine 7.0 inch infotainment system
DAB+ digital radio
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto

Distinctive

  • Price when new: $29,350 - $40,990
  • Price used: $8,000 - $27,000

The Distinctive model was the luxury model underneath the QV sports model and added features such as larger alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and bluetooth connectivity.

In May 2013, satellite navigation was fitted as standard.

In December 2014 a substantial update introduced electrically adjustable driver & front passenger seats, heated front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment system and 12V power socket.

In addition to Progression:

17-inch alloy wheels
Rear parking sensors
Automatic headlights
Front and rear fog lights
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Dual-zone climate control
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Cruise control
Competizione fabric upholstery
8-speaker sound system
Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition

May 2013 updates:

Satellite navigation (TomTom system)

December 2014 update (known as the “Series 1”):

New “Alfa V” grille
Revised front fog lamp bezels
New 16-inch alloy wheel designs (previously 17-inch)
Three new paint finishes (Moon White, Anodized Blue and Bronze)
Improved sound insulation
Redesigned dashboard
New door trim panel designs
Repositioned AUX inputs in centre console
New steering wheel design
Daytime LED running lights
Tyre pressure monitor
Electrically adjustable driver and front passenger seats
Heated front seats
Driver’s seat memory settings
6.5-inch touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment system
Satellite navigation with 3D birds eye view on maps
12V power socket

1.4 TB MultiAir / 2.0 JTDm

  • Price when new: $36,990 - $41,990
  • Price used: $6,500 - $18,000

The 1.4 TB MultiAir and 2.0 JTDm model were released in January 2011 with the model’s launch and featured a whole host of luxury and comfort features.

The 1.4 TB MultiAir was available with the 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine available with either with a 6-speed manual or twin-clutch transmission and the 2.0 JTDm was available with the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine mated to the 6-speed twin clutch transmission.

Both models were split into the Progression and Distinctive models with the 2013 update.

In addition to the 1.4 TB:

17-inch alloy wheels
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Rear parking sensors
Automatic headlights
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Dual-zone climate control
Cruise control
Competizione fabric upholstery
8-speaker sound system

QV

  • Price when new: $39,150 - $41,990
  • Price used: $10,500 - $22,000

The 1750 TBi QV model was distinguished by a sports body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, a BOSE sound system and aluminium sports pedals.

The main addition for the QV was 1.7 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.

The QV model was replaced in 2013 by the Quadrifoglio Verde.

In addition to 1.4 TB MultiAir / 2.0 JTDm/Progression:

18-inch alloy wheels
Rear spoiler
Side skirts
Dark-finish headlights
Tinted windows
Red painted brake calipers
Brushed aluminium dashboard inserts
Aluminium sports pedals
Leather upholstery with red stitching
10-speaker BOSE sound system

Quadrifoglio Verde

  • Price when new: $39,000 - $42,000
  • Price used: $17,000 - $36,000

The Quadrifoglio Verde was introduced in December 2014 and largely carried over features from the QV sports model, and also added features like dual-zone climate control, electrochromatic rear vision mirror, 6.5-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system and a 12V power socket.

With the release of an updated Guilietta in October 2016, the Quadrifoglio Verde was phased out and replaced by the Veloce.

In addition to Progression:

18-inch alloy wheels
Bi-xenon headlights
Rear privacy glass
Tyre pressure monitor
Front and rear fog lights
Dual-zone climate control
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Cruise control
Leather and alcantara seat trim
9-speaker BOSE sound system
6.5-inch touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment system
Satellite navigation with 3D birds eye view on maps
12V power socket

Veloce

  • Price when new: $41,900 - $42,950
  • Price used: $28,000 - $46,500

The Veloce was the sports model from 2016 to 2020 and introduced as part of the October 2016 update.

In addition to the Quadrifoglio Verde it replaces, the Veloce added lowered sports suspension, front and rear bumpers, bi-xenon headlights with adaptive headlight system, flat-bottom steering wheel and a 9-speaker BOSE sound system with eight channel digital amplifier (which was discontinued in May 2018).

In addition to Quadrifoglio Verde:

Lowered sports suspension
Front and rear sports bumpers
Carbon-look’ headlight cluster
Glossy anthracite’ finish for front door handles
Dark chrome door mirror covers
Bi-xenon headlights with adaptive headlight system
Steering wheel gearshift paddles
Black headliner
Flat-bottomed steering wheel
9-speaker BOSE sound system with eight channel digital amplifier (discontinued in May 2018)

Veloce S

  • Price when new: $45,400
  • Price used: $37,000 - $49,500

The Veloce S was a limited edition model introduced in June 2019 and limited to 30-units and added a variety of exterior styling features, interior comfort features and a sports exhaust system.

In addition to Quadrifoglio Verde:

Lowered sports suspension
Front and rear sports bumpers
Carbon-look’ headlight cluster
Glossy anthracite’ finish for front door handles
Dark chrome door mirror covers
Bi-xenon headlights with adaptive headlight system
Steering wheel gearshift paddles
Black headliner
Flat-bottomed steering wheel
9-speaker BOSE sound system with eight channel digital amplifier (discontinued in May 2018)

Edizione Finale

  • Price when new: $48,950
  • Price used: $38,000 - $51,000

A limited edition “Edizione Finale” was introduced in May 2021, based on Veloce model and was limited to 35-units.

In addition to Veloce:

18-inch dark miron wheels
Yellow brake calipers and exterior accents
Carbon look’ front Trilobe grille
Magneti Marelli ‘Elaborazioni 1919’ sport exhaust system
Yellow contrast stitching for steering wheel
Electric sunroof
Heated seats

Should you buy it?

If you require an ultra reliable, safe and economical hatch back, well no you shouldn’t buy a Giulietta, you should buy something like a Toyota Corolla or Hyundai i30.

If you require something with more personality and performance than these options and you’re not so concerned about boring stuff like reliability and running costs, then should you still shouldn’t buy a Giulietta. You should probably buy something like a Golf GTI or Mazda 3 MPS.

If you want this new car to look sexier than the Golf GTI or Mazda 3 MPS, then you still shouldn’t buy a Giulietta, you should look at the Volkswagen Scirocco Hyundai Veloster or Kia Proceed GT.

If you still require a 5 door hatch that ticks the previously mentioned boxes, sorry but you still shouldn’t buy a Giulietta, check out a Ford Focus ST or Audi S3.

But, if you just must have an Italian 5 door hatch that is made by Alfa Romeo and you’re happy to look past the unfortunate realities, and you are willing to maintain it and spend money sorting the constant niggling issues, then and only then should you buy a Giulietta.

So many of the things that are fuelled by lust and romance and passion are quite often terribly bad for us and doing risky things is just exciting, and as much as we adore the Giulietta from an emotional position, buying a Giulietta probably isn’t ever a sensible thing to do.

But in saying that, when has Alfa Romeo ever been sensible?

They don’t need to be sensible, we have Toyota for that.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/100,000kms
3 years/150,000kms (MY13 models onwards)

Servicing:

12 months/15,000kms

Tech specs

Body style:

5-door hatchback

Engines:

1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB” (TB)
1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB MultiAir” (1.4 TB MultiAir, Progression, Distinctive)
2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel “JTDm” (2.0 JTDm, Progression, Distinctive)
1.7 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “1750 TBi” (QV, Quadrifoglio Verde, Veloce, Veloce S, Edizione Finale)

Power:

88kW – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB”
110kW – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB MultiAir” – (Super Manual only)
125kW – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB MultiAir”
125kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel “JTDm”
173kW – 1.7 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “1750 TBi”

Torque:

206Nm – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB”
250Nm – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “TB MultiAir”
350Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel “JTDm”
340Nm – 1.7 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol “1750 TBi”

Transmission & drivetrains:

6-speed manual, front wheel drive (1.4 TB, 1.4 TB MultiAir, Super, Progression, Sprint, Distinctive, QV, Quadrifoglio Verde)
6-speed dual clutch (marketed as “twin clutch”), front wheel drive (1.4 TB MultiAir, 2.0 JTDm, Super, Progressive, Distinctive, Quadrifoglio Verde, Veloce, Edizione Finale)

Fuel consumption:

4.5 – 10.8L/100km

Length:

4351mm

Width:

1798mm

Height:

1465mm

Kerb weight:

1259 – 1320kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of August 05, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.