On a recent trip to Colorado, land of Ram pickups and Jeeps, I had the opportunity to take an Alfa Romeo Giulia for the week-long romp in cowboy country. Quickly finding out that this little sports sedan was more of a conversation starter than I would have imagined, especially where pickups and 4X4’s roam.
Young and old, male and female, all had an eye for this gorgeous Italian four-door, wanting to know more. A gas station cashier came out of his kiosk and started talking to me about how this car changed everything for the brand. A man and woman stood by holding an intense discussion about it in a
supermarket parking lot. Upon arrival to a Colorado Cars and Coffee, we were one of three Alfas. An Alfa owner who brought something else, came over and shared the one time he did not show is Giulia, two others would show up.
Driving this car fast is what the Giulia wants to do, and wide-open western interstates were the perfect place to put the pedal to the metal. Comfortably sprinting along the ribbons of high plains pavement, and nimbly carving through mountain passes proved how well balanced and sure-footed the $2500 all-wheel-drive optioned Giulia TI Sport is. While the 2-liter direct-injection turbo engine could be noisy at times, it made excellent use of the 280 horsepower output and provided the upper 20’s in miles per gallon. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with the Alfa DNA Drive Mode System it had no problem with three people and luggage aboard.
While it is not a big car, it does seats four. In our case 3 comfortably for a two-hour road trip. Fully occupied, might be a bit cramped in the passenger compartment and trunk space is tight, so overnight bags and not suitcases are the way to go. Egress in the rear was a bit tight, especially for senior travelers, who had to twist a bit to get in and out of the back and sometimes the front passenger seats.
This car is focused on the driver. Don’t get me wrong, the passengers’ are finely cared for as well in leather six-way adjustable heated leather seats. Piloting this gorgeous sedan is foremost in the mind of Alfa’s designers with a comfortable driving position and view of the road access to the controls and gauges. The flat-bottom steering wheel with column-mounted shift levers for the 8-speed automatic give you a racecar feel. Though do it with your loves off, as it is tight clearance, which is no problem in cold weather, as the leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated.
Our test vehicle had striking Red Sport Seats. That and the contrasting black interior trim with aluminum trim ambient lighting and the TI Package added bright aluminum trimmed pedals for that sporty look. As part of the $2500 Ti package, you get sport leather seats with power-adjustable bolsters and manually adjustable thigh support, in addition to the standard heated driver and front passenger power 6-way adjustable seats with 4-way lumbar support. It was hard for my senior passengers as the seat bolsters hold you firmly during spirited driving, but make slipping in and out a challenge. That combined with the tighter door opening may be an issue for those who people who may not have physical flexibility.
This car is stunning to look at and lots of fun to drive. Interior is nicely detailed with all you need in a drivers car. Having the remote start is nice as long as the fuel level is above a quarter of a tank. The $1500 Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package with forwarding Collision Warning plus, lane departure, adaptive cruise control with stop, and automatic high-beam Bi-Xenon headlamp
control was a nice feature. And the added safety of the $650 Driver Assistance Static Package with blindspot and cross-path detection is quite useful in today’s busy world. And as always LED lighting all around and 4-wheel disc brakes with the $500 optional red-painted front Brembo® calipers with gloss script were a delight to look at through the Bright 5-whole Aluminum Wheels.
Some spots seem to be overlooked like the leather wrapping appears to miss a spot at the bottom of the steering wheel. Sort of that hole you don’t see but feel around for once you know, it is there. The limited USB ports one in the lower center dash and two inside the console, along with a 12V outlet, and surprisingly none in the rear seat area. This led us to think that some of the tech maybe a few generations older than what you might find on the competition, it is still great to have onboard.
I am not a big fan of modern screens, and the Giulia’s were the least offensive of the cars I have driven recently. Though saying that, I was happy with the limited number of screens to scroll through on the driver’s display. I thought having a G-Force screen was odd. If you were watching it, you could not be paying attention to the driving, which would result in making the red dot move out of the center position.
The center controls took time to get used to, as did the stalk-style electronic gear selector with a button to push for Park which also engaged the electric parking brake. I did like to have the parking brake applied but had to remember to release it each time. As well as remembering to push the gear stalk forward for Reverse and pull back for Drive.
This test vehicle had 12K on the odometer, and with that mileage, it is an excellent way to experience what the vehicle will be like after the honeymoon is over. This one had held up well, especially for a brand that does not always get the highest confidence level in that area. There were some hiccups like rough starts, though that could have been the summer heat or quality of fuel. The AC was hard to find a comfortable temp, and the HVAC fan was noisy at any position but the lowest one. There was road noise from the 19-inch Pirelli run-flat tires and was a tad surprised to hear wind noise coming from the upper door, neither were disturbing but noticeable. There is no spare (hence the run-flats), but there is an air pump secured in the base of the trunk. Me, I like to have a spare, so I would want to have one. Since the car does not have staggered wheels, and these wheels are so pretty, it would be a beautiful garage decor item to have. Just in case, but not enough trunk space to carry it with you and any luggage.
In total, this 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport AWD 4-door sedan in Vesuvio gray metallic paint (a $600 option) stickered out at $51,885 including the $1,295 destination charge. This car is assembled in Cassino Italy an Italian-built engine, and German-made transmission comes with a 4-year / 50K mile powertrain and basic warranty along with roadside assistance.
Would I buy this car?
Absolutely it was a lot of fun to drive and it is simply gorgeous to look at.
Thanks To FCA, Alfa and Rocky Mountain Redline
For allowing us a week in this fantastic Alfa Romeo 2018 Guilia for a week, covering the first tank of fuel and ExpressToll fees. We were not compensated for this review.
Words and images by William West Hopper. (Unless otherwise noted)
Mr. Hopper is a life long auto enthusiast. He is a member and currently serves as the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association WAPA and is a member of The International Automotive Press Association IMPA. All opinions are his own.