Alfa Romeo Giulietta

1 Tiny foglamp in a mostly blocked hole is inelegant and rings false.

2 Sides of the characteristic grille are a touch too stiff.

3 Tiny front license plate is an Italian peculiarity that all jurisdictions should adopt. It allows a much nicer front end than do plates equally sized front and rear.

4 Headlamp outline is inspired by the 8C Competizione, itself influenced by 1960s racers.

5 This character line pays homage to the sixty-year-old Villa d'Este Alfa Romeo by Touring, without the least sense of being retro. Very nice indeed.

6 This awkward little joggle at the top of the A-pillar is unfortunate, because it breaks the eye's flow over the graceful roof profile.

7 This crease, and that on the front fender, is a bit too pronounced.

8 Not really a diffuser, this detail nicely hides the fact that the rear end is a rather tall cliff.

9 These horizontal ribs, together with the sharp edges joining the taillights and running across the body below the hatch, help cut visual height.

10 This concave section below the lamps has become a fixture on many sedans, always in the interest of tricking the eye to reduce apparent height.

11 Notice how high the cutlines separating plastic fascias from sheetmetal panels are. This will allow low-cost face-lifting later in the car's life cycle.

12 Find the hidden door handle, a game started with the Alfa 156, dropped on the 159, and back with us on this car . . . and a few competitors.

13 The sweep of the side-glass profile is excellent, but it is spoiled by a paint separation at the top of the windshield. It's great in this view, though.

14 Now seemingly obligatory indentation gathers light; it also makes the tall sides seem less so and the car look longer.

15 Huge wheels and rubber-band tires may please the stylists, but they compromise ride comfort for what is, after all, a small family car. Nice blade design, though.

16 Available rear glass roof is nice but cuts into headroom.

17 Who would willingly sit in the center? It looks uncomfortable - and is. Most small European sedans pretend to be five-seat vehicles but really aren't.

18 For all their elaborate contours, the seats look - and are, no doubt - cheap. Economy-car seating may be OK in a Fiat, but not in an Alfa Romeo.

19 Steering wheel controls are nicely placed.

20 The ergonomics are dismal. Controls this far away from the driver's sight line are an incitement to driver mistakes.

21 This line of buttons can be operated by feel - much better.

22 Someday there may be a navigation screen that isn't as intrusive as the big rectangles that mar instrument panels on luxury and economy cars alike. At least here it disappears when not in use.

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FIAT should stay home, leave Chrysler alone or buy it for cash, giving back the taxpayer's money. Stealing Chrysler free and using it to sell their cars, designed for Europe, will not bring buyers to the showrooms. I would never consider buying a FIAT, after they failed miserably on all counts the last time they sold transportation hardware, they thought were cars. Due to the lack of daily service and repairs the machines hardly ever worked and people stopped buying them. Mine, a Fiat 124 Sports Convertible cought fire and burned to the ground. It was a blessing, after the insurance paid, I could buy a real car.

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