Alfa Romeo has celebrated its centenary year in style with the launch of the all-new Giulietta, which is now ready to order.
This key model has been designed to target the best in the lower-medium sector – no easy task considering the competition includes fleet favourites like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
However, Alfa’s sales director Andrew Sproston is confident its class-leading safety and low CO2 emissions, benefit-in-kind and insurance ratings will prove popular with user-choosers.
“Our expectations are that it will be around 50% corporate sales in its first full year, equating to around 3,000 units,” says Sproston.
“For this year we anticipate a slightly higher retail percentage due to the change cycles and approved list, all of which points to an expectation of 1,000 corporate units.”
The Giulietta is available in range of five engines – three petrol and two diesel – all of which are turbocharged and Euro 5 emissions compliant.
The entry-level Turismo trim level comes in a 120bhp 1.4 TB petrol variant, with a P11D price of £16,815 and emissions of 149g/km, which falls into the 18% BIK tax band.
However, fleets will be more likely to favour the 105bhp 1.6 JTDM, with a P11D cost of £17,840, fuel economy of 64.2mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of 114g/km, which gives it a BIK tax band of 13%. A 2.0-litre diesel is also available, and offers 60.1mpg and emissions of 124g/km.
There are three further specifications for petrol models: the Lusso and the Veloce, which is available in 1.4 TB and 1.4 TB MultiAir; and the range-topping 1750 TBi Cloverleaf, which delivers 235bhp.
Every engine in the range, apart from the 1750 TBi, features stop/start technology as standard.
Electric windows, air-con and electrically heated door mirrors are also all standard.
Move up to Lusso trim and you get dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls and a hands-free infotainment system.
Both these cars come with the ‘comfort’ chassis specification, while the Veloce model features sports suspension.
The Veloce also gets darkened headlights, fog lights, plus aluminium kick plates and pedals.
When it comes to driving Alfa’s latest offering, the Giulietta offers superb grip through the corners, very sharp and responsive steering, while giving a relatively comfortable ride.
The Giulietta was recently awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating and an overall score of 87/100.
Alfa Romeo expect 75% of UK sales to go to the mid-range Lusso and the sporty Veloce models with the entry-level Turismo taking 15% of sales.
The top-of-the-range high performance Cloverleaf version is expected to take up a 10% share.
It remains to be seen if fleets will overcome Alfa’s historical reliability fears.
But the future could be bright for a car that delivers on safety and emissions, while also benefiting from undeniable Italian styling.