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Alfa Romeo slices Giulietta range in update

Moving up: Alfa’s facelifted Giulietta hatch gets a new grille reminiscent of Alfas of old.

Facelifted Alfa Giulietta loses base model and diesel option as hatch goes posh

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Alfa Romeo logo18 Dec 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

ALFA ROMEO has moved its Giulietta small hatchback up market with a trimmed-down, facelifted 2014 line-up now belatedly arriving in Australian showrooms.

While styling has been tweaked and equipment levels raised, the Giulietta loses its $24,550 (plus on-road costs) entry variant along with optional diesel powertrains as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia makes good on its plan to take its Alfa range away from the mainstream and into the premium spectrum.

The refreshed Giulietta, with its retro-look V-shaped grille and matching steering wheel, was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show more than a year ago.

Although Australian dealers have been motoring on with stocks of the original model – launched in Australia in January 2011 – the Giulietta remains FCA’s top-selling Alfa with 2218 sales so far this year – up 28.1 per cent on last year.

The revised Giulietta five-door hatch range now starts at $29,000 (plus on-road costs) for the Progression, effectively increasing Giulietta price of entry by $4450.

It also represents a $1550 rise in the price of the Progression manual, which previously started at $27,450.

And while FCA says it has ramped up Progression’s equipment levels commensurate with the price rise, it also has downgraded the 1.4-litre engine from the previous 125kW/250Nm unit to the former entry level Giulietta’s 88kW/215Nm unit.

Because of the engine switch, Progression is now only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, losing the auto option than only comes with the 125kW MultiAir unit.

Only the high-level Giulietta Distinctive gets that engine now, starting at $33,000 plus on-road costs – a hike of $1650.

The Distinction comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with Alfa’s TCT six-speed automatic transmission a $2000 option.

The range will be topped off in February by the arrival of the revised Giulietta QV (Quadrifoglio Verde) flagship that gets a new heart – the 179kW/340Nm four-cylinder turbo-charged engine transplanted from the upcoming Alfa 4C sportscar.

FCA corporate communications director Lucy McLellan told GoAuto that the diesel JTD variants had been discontinued after a trial period because Australian customers overwhelmingly preferred petrol-powered Giuliettas.

She said the company had no plans to reinstate the four-cylinder turbo diesel, but could do so if customer demand warranted.

Ms McLellan said the decision to drop the entry variant was in line with company strategy to pursue a premium course for all Alfa models and to stop competing against mainstream brands.

She said the equipment levels of the Giulietta had been lifted in the latest upgrade in line with that policy.

New standard equipment in the base model Progression includes a 5.0-inch touch screen with Chrysler’s U-Connect system, new-look 16-inch alloy wheels, tyre-pressure monitoring and rear parking sensors.

As well, it gets a fresh interior look with a new steering wheel with a hub shaped after the Alfa shield badge, re-designed seats for more support and comfort and cloaked in a new fabric that matches the material used on the revised dashboard, door trims and centre tunnel inserts.

The flagship (for now) Distinctive gains the 5.0-inch screen (6.5-inch with sat-nav optional), front and rear parking sensors, soft leather seats with heating, memory function and electric adjustment, electric folding side mirrors, auto headlights and wipers and auto dimming rear-view mirror.

Apart from the new steering wheel that includes the Alfa shield and various controls, the Distinctive also gets a new rear-seat armrest, more sound-proofing, chrome-rimmed fog-lights and dark-look headlights.

Apart from the arrival of the Giulietta QV in February, 2015 will deliver the most important new Alfa model in years – the 4C – in coupe form in February and topless Spider format later in the year.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta pricing*
Progression$29,000
Distinctive$33,000
Distinctive (a)$35,000
*Excludes on-road costs.

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