When it comes to the key features you’d like to see in a car, what’s on your wish list?
With two young kids, my main requirements of a car naturally revolve around family life. But having kids doesn’t mean I only care about the practicalities. I want my family car to work hard, look good and feel great to drive. Not much to ask!
We’ve just spent a weekend trying out the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce, to see if it combines good looks with the practical features needed to support busy family life.
In my mind, Alfa Romeo is all about gorgeous Italian design, and the new Giulietta certainly looks stunning. Chunky twin exhaust pipes, 18” alloy wheels, the iconic Alfa grille, and sporty styling make this car nothing like your average family hatchback. Our model also had a slightly matte finish to the gunmetal paint which I loved.
There’s more to feast your eyes on inside, with leather sports seats and steering wheel, velvet floor mats, and a luxurious carbon fibre finish on the dashboard surround and door panels.
It’s not all about the looks though; there’s a lot more to the Giulietta than appearances, with a whole host of features that really appeal from a family viewpoint.
For starters, practicality hasn’t been ignored. There’s plenty of storage built into the interior; the front and rear armrest both have compartments tucked away, and the doors offer additional storage space.
Leg space is limited, as you’d expect given the car’s sporty design, and the boot isn’t huge, but it’s perfectly adequate for the usual family shopping trips, days out and weekends away. We loved the dual zone climate control, which really helped us avoid that hot, stuffy environment which can make kids travel sick.
Safety is obviously a really big consideration in a family car; with six airbags, Electronic Stability Control, and Alfa Active Steering with Dynamic Steering Torque, the Giulietta provides the reassurance you need.
Technology is also used cleverly to make your in-car experience more enjoyable. As well as the usual electric windows, electric heated and adjustable door mirrors, and alarm system, there’s the very nifty Alfa Romeo Uconnect™ system. This is operated via a 6.5” colour touchscreen and features DAB radio, Bluetooth, CD, smartphone connectivity and Sat Nav. You can access real time traffic reports, news and social network updates, plus information about your car, and it’s very intuitive and easy to use. The Bose sound system is fantastic too.
A morning filled of ice creams, guinea pigs and tractor driving
To see how the Giulietta handled a typical family weekend, we took it on a couple of trips. The first one was
to Daisy Made Farm in Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Daisy Made is a dairy farm which produces it’s own range of ice cream, and has lots of extra attractions that make a for a fun family day out.
You can meet the farm animals, play mini golf, try out child-sized car racing and diggers, and of course sample the delicious ice cream. The drive-thru ice cream kiosk was a big hit!
An afternoon at the park
Hartsholme Country Park is perfect for a relaxed day of outdoor exploring. There are nature trails through woodland and lakeside, a children’s play area, Victorian gardens, picnic areas, a café and toilets.
The Visitor Centre has maps, guides and wildlife exhibitions, and the rangers run regular events such as walks, craft days and bird watching. Swanholme Lakes Nature Reserve is next door too, so there’s always loads of wildlife to discover.
Thoughts after a weekend with the Giulietta
What’s the Giulietta like to drive? In a word, smooth. Alfa Romeo have designed it to perfectly balance power and agility, and you can really tell. The flagship 1750 Tbi engine is powerful but still feels refined, and features like cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and lowered sports suspension make for a really great driving experience. It’s a smooth ride for the passengers too. We did struggle a bit with the headroom/legroom; we’re a tall family, and I don’t think the Giulietta is perfectly suited to tall people.
One feature of the driving experience that I found really interesting is the Alfa D.N. A. system, which allows you to select from three driving modes to suit your driving style and road conditions. Choose Dynamic for performance, Natural for fuel economy, or All-Weather for poor grip conditions, and the car adapts it’s performance accordingly. The performance isn’t at the expense of efficiency either; all the engines in the Giulietta range have Stop&Start and Eco-Drive, which optimises energy efficiency and fuel consumption.
The Giulietta Veloce is a really beautiful car; I loved the looks, the clever features and the performance. I wouldn’t define it as a typical family car – it isn’t all about the practicalities – but if you’re looking for something which isn’t a people carrier, feels amazing to drive, and still works well for family life, it’s a great option.
What do you think – does the Giulietta sound like your kind of car?
This is a commissioned review for Alfa Romeo – all thoughts and opinions are my own.