The Alfa Romeo Giulia Has Already Become Very Affordable

Smart Buy

But you may want to wait a little longer to buy one.

If you want the best compact sports sedan on the market, it's hard to beat the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Taking nothing else but driving dynamics into account, the Giulia shines against its competitors from America, Japan, and even Germany. But what about day-to-day elements like comfort, usability, and reliability? With a starting price of $38,295, buying a Giulia is a very significant monetary decision, one which not many people can afford to make.

But what if the Giulia didn't have to cost nearly $40,000? Even though the car has only been on sale since 2017, Alfa Romeo's famed depreciation has already kicked in. The hardcore Quadrifolgio model is still far more expensive but a regular Giulia has already become a used bargain.

Why You Should Buy One

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the most fun cars in its segment - a segment which includes standouts like the BMW 3 Series, Genesis G70, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The biggest detriment holding Alfa Romeo back is a poor track record for reliability, which has crippled the brand's reputation. As long as you're willing to deal with a few pesky glitches and the occasional trip to the dealership under warranty, we believe the Giulia experience may be worth the heartache.

Just take a long look at it. There are other handsome cars in this segment but the Giulia's spicy Italian bravado blows them away like steam off a cappuccino. Since the Alfa Romeo brand is so new in the US, driving a Giulia becomes an instant conversation piece as people on the street want to chat you up about your car. They'll likely ask you why your car looks so much better than theirs.

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The Price

Even at nearly $40,000 for a brand-new one, the Giulia offers exotic looks for a mainstream price. But now you can shock your neighbors, even more, when you tell them you picked up this symbol of Italian magnificence for less than $25,000. We found several 2017 and 2018 model year Giulia models with low mileage in the sub-$25,000 price range. This is an incredible bargain for a like-new car but there is a major caveat.

Most Alfa Romeo models in the US are backed by a four-year/50,000-mile basic limited warranty, which should still be intact on all of the used models we found. But given the company's track record for reliability, we'd feel more comfortable opting for one with a certified pre-owned warranty. This is where the difficulty begins.

The Warranty (Or Lack Thereof)

Since returning to the US, Alfa Romeo has announced plans for a CPO warranty program. To qualify, a vehicle must be younger than five years old and have less than 50,000 miles on the odometer - criteria that are easily met by all of the cars we found in our search. Once an Alfa Romeo is certified as CPO, it is then backed by a six-year/100,000-mile warranty with 24/7 roadside assistance and a $0 deductible. This all sounds extremely appealing but we wish you good luck actually finding a CPO Giulia.

We searched the entire US and could only find a single 2017 Giulia that was registered as CPO, selling for $28,990 with around 10,000 miles. While this is still a fair price, if you don't live near Texas, we doubt you'll want to make the trek to buy this specific Giulia. Alfa Romeo still doesn't have a section of its website dedicated to the CPO program and dealers have almost no inventory to accommodate customers looking for CPO vehicles. There just haven't been enough trade-ins yet, so we'd wait until more CPO vehicles become available before pulling the trigger on a used Giulia.

The Performance

While nowhere near as potent as the Quadrifolgio model, the base Giulia is still rather impressive in its segment. Alfa Romeo has no "middle model" to sit between the base Giulia and the Quadrifoglio, so it decided to simply offer more standard power than other competitors.

The Giulia's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque, which goes out through an eight-speed automatic. Hitting 60 mph takes just 5.5 seconds with rear-wheel-drive or 5.1 seconds with AWD. Fuel economy is an acceptable 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with RWD, or 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with AWD.

The Giulia is quicker than rivaling four-cylinder cars but is outclassed by most mid-level six-cylinder models in the segment. The highly capable Giorgio platform and a precise steering feel make up for this. The ride is firm, so we wouldn't recommend to Giulia for someone who just wants a comfortable cruiser but if all you care about is the drive, the Giulia is top of the class.

The Interior

The Giulia's interior is a bit plain and lags behind the competition in terms of technology. Alfa Romeo is the only FCA brand to shun Uconnect, using its own proprietary infotainment system instead. The system works a bit like an overly simplified version of BMW's iDrive - fine but far from perfect. We wish Alfa had just gone down the same route as Maserati by using a reskinned version of Uconnect, which is one of the most highly acclaimed systems on the market.

As for the rest of the cabin, the material quality is mixed. Some materials, like the wood trim, feel great while some of the switchgear feels cheap to the touch. There a few standout features such as massive column-mounted paddle shifters, which wouldn't look out of place on a Ferrari.

Verdict

Alfa Romeo is far from perfect, which is why it has been difficult to strongly recommend a brand-new Giulia. Even though we love how the Giulia drives, we've experienced some issues during our tests. On a luxury product, we still feel this is unacceptable in 2019. But factoring in the massive depreciation, a used Giulia is looking like a steal. We'd strongly recommend waiting to buy a CPO car with the five-year/ 100,000-mile warranty just in case Alfa Romeo's reputation for poor reliability rings true. But for less than $25,000, we can think of few sports sedans we'd rather have.

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