2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia - 5k Mile Review

May 9, 2010
Good morning and merry Christmas Eve!

I've owned the Alfa for about 3 months now and just hit 5k this past week so I thought it would be a fitting time to do a little review.

Driving Dynamics: Fun. Plain and simple. Driving this car, even in standard commuter traffic, just feels good. Now, I've got the Ti Sport which provides amazing bucket seats with high bolsters which adds a great touch to the driving dynamics of this vehicle. You're planted in your seat, but you're not restricted. They provide a perfect balance. As compared to what's in the Quad, these sit a little higher and the bolsters are a little lower. While the handling and acceleration (5.1 to 60) is great, what is really impressive is the braking. Yes, the stopping power. The brakes on this car are truly great. You can really feel the 4 piston Brembos up front grabbing like glue when needed. The car really allows you to feather the brake when zipping around corners with a very reliable amount of control. Another aspect about this vehicle is the overall balance it provides. I commute 50 miles (total) each day. Some of this is on a 6 lane highway/main street, other sections are on two lane country roads. I don't dog the engine on my daily drives, but every so often I will get on it if over taking or coming out of a nice corner, with my current driving I'm averaging 23mpg overall. This is according to the onboard computer. As the engine has broken in, this seems to be increasing slightly. The car is rated at 23/31/26. So far it seems to be delivering on that expectation. I purchased the available Ti Performance Package which adds a rear LSD, DNA system and adjustable suspension. A is the efficiency mode, N is the neutral mode and D is their dynamic (Sport/Racing) mode. When switched to Dynamic, you're given the option of stiffening up the suspension or reverting it to its softer setting. I've driven it almost exclusively in neutral mode and love it. As with many things I have to say about this car, it provides the perfect balance. However, switching it to dynamic is unbelievably fun. The suspension difference is like night/day, the cornering ability of this car really comes alive while in dynamic. Shifts are also markedly crisper in dynamic and the engine holds onto it's gears a bit more on the high end. Would love to get this on the track when the warmer weather is back and truly take advantage of dynamic.

Interior: The interior is beautiful. Nobody seems to dispute this. The layout of the infotainment is unique and simple. The seats are extremely comfortable and supportive, even on long drives. Rear seats are equally comfortable but they are compromised by reduced leg room. Tall riders in the back probably won't be too comfortable. However, head room is certainly not a problem like it is in many vehicles of this class. I've got the optional panoramic roof and still have several inches of head space above me. Given the cloth lining I often times forget it's even a feature to be completely honest. A gripe I had early on was that Alfa really didn't have a suitable option for all weather floor mats. This was resolved by purchasing a set of TuxMats, these mats are leather and completely line the foot wells and even match the stitching design of the seats. They look like an OE part which is great.

Negatives: As much as I enjoy this car, there are definitely a few things that I'm not a fan of. First and foremost, no dipstick! My dislike of this isn't because I'm some old crotchety guy that opposes technology. But rather because I would like to have a way to manually check the oil in case the sensor goes out. Not only that, there's a roughly 5-10 minutes delay between adding/removing oil and the level that appears on the infotainment system. To add to this, the vehicle comes with two OLM systems. One is in the dash which is an actual driving monitor that acts like a percentage of life left, it doesn't give you a percentage but when it thinks the oil is spent it will alert you to change. The other is a simple countdown clock in the infotainment system. Normally this isn't a problem, but with Alfa being Alfa, there's no way for a user to reset either light manually. You have to plug into the OBDII and reset using their tool (StarSCAN) -- Apparently there's an aftermarket scanner we can purchase to reset these but reliability on this front is still out. Another critique is that there's no way to separate the adaptive cruise technology and the cruise control system. Meaning I either cruise with adaptive on or I don't cruise at all. This doesn't seem like a big thing, and for the most part it's not. However, the adaptive lasers sit very low to the ground which means the slightest obstruction with disengage the system rendering cruise inoperable. Our first snow of the year, which was literally a dusting was enough to disengage the system. My biggest gripe of the car is the fit and finish of the interior. As I mentioned the interior is absolutely beautiful and truly functional, however, it's not put together the way I believe a $55k car should be. There's certain creeks and rattles coming from within the door panels. There's really not a correction for this, it's just how it's put together. Nothing is broken or inoperable, but it's a nuisance that I don't think should be there. Materials are great it's just the build quality that I raise a flag to. So all in all, really can't complain about any kind of performance or reliability issues. Just minor complaints.

Dealer Visits: 3. Yes, 3 visits in 3 months. However, once I explain the reasoning, it isn't completely unreasonable. Upon picking up the car I noticed that the passenger side had a rattle that was unacceptable. This wasn't traditional panel rattle, it was clear that a retaining clip of some sort had come loose and was bouncing off the panel. This was heightened with the radio on, certain bass notes were increasing this noise so it was clear. Gave the dealer an explanation and dropped it off, they gave me a loaner, picked up the car later that day and they stated that in fact two retaining clips were bent so they were bent back in place and they couldn't recreate the noise so they called it a day. I drove about 15 miles and the noise was back. Called them up the next day, told them it wasn't fixed and that I didn't want to have to drop this off a third time so I wanted them to take their time with it and correct it properly. Dropped the car off, they gave me a loaner again. I expected to have it missing for a two or three days as they mentioned that they were just going to replace the entire switch panel. To my surprise they called me by the end of the day stating the repair was made. Since then the noise hasn't reappeared so all is well. So that's 2 visits. The 3rd visit was due to a recall of the Cats. Apparently some vehicles were experiencing high Cat temps which could melt certain wires which could result in vehicle fires. The fix was a software flash to reduce Cat temps. While the car was in for this (2k on the clock) I had them use my freebie oil change to get the early wear metals out. Car hasn't been back since. However, I do anticipate that I will be back in when I change the oil so that they can reset the oil lights but also, possible replace the blower motor as I'm hearing a whine that isn't something I'd consider normal. After doing some searches on the Giulia forum, several individuals have had to have theirs replaced due to a similar "issue" if you want to call it that.

Final Rating: All in all, I'd give this car an 8 out of 10. If it wasn't for the interior build quality, I would happily give this a solid 9-9.5. If you're looking for an engaging, rare and economical year round daily driver I would definitely consider checking out a Giulia.
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Originally Posted by RamFan
First and foremost, no dipstick! My dislike of this isn't because I'm some old crotchety guy that opposes technology. But rather because I would like to have a way to manually check the oil in case the sensor goes out.
If it makes you feel any better, the dipstick on my SRT is pretty much useless - the oil is all over it and I just can't tell the oil level at all. I wish there was an electronic oil level readout on the dashboard.