Why we still love our Alfa Romeo Giulia a year later
Some people worry the machines will rise up against us when they become self-aware, but I reckon they’ll all be too self-conscious to try it. If my long-term 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia heard half the mean things folks said about it, it would never leave the garage. That would be a crying shame, because like all stereotypes, those nasty generalizations aren’t really true. The Alfa’s a great car, no matter what the internet says.
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Remember Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Or the way Han Solo treats droids? Ever stopped to think about the truly awful things you’ve said to your printer? Ignorance, for our machines, is truly bliss. Despite this, I often find myself complimenting the Giulia when I’m alone with it, just to prop up its self-esteem. I try not to be patronizing, because nobody likes that.
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What do people say? Mostly that same old line about Italian-car reliability. If the whole country of Italy wasn’t so easygoing, it would have a complex, too. Fact of the matter, though, is my Giulia’s been as good or better than the average car in our long-term fleet. In 12 months and 20,220 miles, the Giulia made four trips to a shop, two planned and two unplanned, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The first of the two unplanned stops was at the tire shop for a nail in the tread, hardly Alfa-specific. The second we initiated ourselves, not because there was anything wrong with the car, but because with 17,000 or so miles on the clock it didn’t feel fair to put it in a head-to-head comparison with a brand spankin’ new BMW 330i M Sport without at least a checkup. While giving it a once-over, the tech found the only mechanical issue of the car’s life to date: a tiny coolant leak weeping from the turbocharger we were unaware of. A new O-ring on the coolant inlet is all it needed, but the tech did the coolant outlet O-ring, too, just to be safe, and the whole thing was covered under warranty.
The other two stops were for routine maintenance, the first just short of 10,000 miles and the second just over 20,000, both prompted by the car. The first set us back $197.35 for oil, filter, washer fluid, and oil and fuel “conditioners” the dealer slipped in. The second pit stop was a steeper $272.20 for just an oil and filter change, because dealer number two marks up a quart of oil 87 percent higher than dealer number one and the filter 97 percent. It also charges 69 percent more for labor, so let that all be a lesson to shop around if you can.
A recall was also performed free of charge during the first service to prevent backfiring, an issue we never experienced.
At $469.55, the maintenance wasn’t cheap, but it still cost less than our 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro for the same service ($561.36 for two oil changes and inspections). On the other hand, our 2012 BMW 328i Sport didn’t cost a dime in maintenance because BMW throws that in for free the first three years or 36,000 miles. Then again, that BMW’s entire steering rack failed and had to be replaced at 14,500 miles.
All that time the Giulia spent not breaking down like everyone predicted, it was busy handling situations it wasn’t intended for. This is a sport sedan through and through, and yet when I had to take a detour down a 3-mile Forest Service road around a washout and when I got caught in a late-season snowstorm, it behaved as though it were driving down fresh pavement on a beautiful spring day. The compliance in the suspension kept it riding nicely in the dirt, and the Pirelli P Zero summer tires didn’t mind the cold.
It worked damn well in the situations it was intended for, too. Whether it was taking down that BMW or putting my mother-in-law who’d recently had a double knee replacement and my 6-foot-6 father-in-law in the back seat, the Giulia was a champ.
It wasn’t perfect, though. The infotainment system developed a bug where it occasionally reset itself within the first minute or two of starting the car. It would show up, stick around for a few days, then disappear for months. It’s kind of like an app crashing on your phone—annoying but quickly forgotten until it happens again. I also took issue with the programming of the parking sensors (too eager to turn off when you still need them) and the automatic engine stop/start system (too eager to activate when the interior is still too warm or too cold).
Research the Alfa Romeo Giulia on MSN Autos | Find an Alfa Romeo Giulia near you
Software isn’t what won this thing Car of the Year, though. Faced with a decision between a technological marvel and a car that inspires you to drive, we took inspiration. Every time I mindlessly caressed the big, metal shift paddles, every time I turned the knob to Dynamic mode, every time I whipped around a freeway cloverleaf and dreamed about skipping work and going for a drive in the mountains instead, I remembered why cars like this win awards.
Read more on our long-term Alfa Romeo Giulia here:
|SERVICE LIFE||13 mo / 21,926 mi|
|OPTIONS||Sport RWD ($2,500: 19″ dark alum wheels, all-season perf tires, alum interior accents, paddle shifters & pedals, yellow brake calipers, gloss black window surrounds, leather sport seats & steering wheel, power lumbar/manual thigh support, F/R sport fascias); Driver Assist Dynamic Plus ($1,500: adaptive cruise control with stop, auto high beams, fwd collision/lane-departure warnings, infrared windshield); Dual Pane sunroof ($1,350); Sport Performance ($1,200: active suspension, limited-slip differential); Leather dash and door uppers ($995); Harman Kardon premium audio ($900); Driver Assist Static ($650: auto-dimming mirrors; blind-spot & cross-path detection); Blue metallic paint ($600); 19″ bright alum wheels ($500)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$51,356|
|AVG ECON/CO2||24.1 mpg/0.80 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$470 (2 x oil change, inspection,etc. )|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$29,600 (57%)|
|RECALLS||1: Reprogram PCM software to quell backfiring and overheating catalytic converter|
|*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years|
|2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 Ti (Sport RWD)|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||SOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||121.6 cu in/1,993 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||280 hp @ 5,200 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||306 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||12.9 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||13.0-in vented disc; 12.5-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||8.0 x 19-in cast aluminum|
|TIRES||225/40R19 89W; 255/35R19 92W Pirelli P Zero AR|
|TRACK, F/R||61.3/64.0 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.6 x 73.7 x 56.5 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||35.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,600 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||50/50%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.6/37.6 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.4/35.1 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||56.1/53.6 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||13.4 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||2.7|
|QUARTER MILE||13.8 sec @ 100.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||110 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.91 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.6 sec @ 0.71 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,600 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$51,635|
|AIRBAGS||8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||15.3 gal|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||23.1/30.1/25.8 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||24/33/27 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.71 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|
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