This is the last column of mine that will land on your doorsteps in 2017, and it’s been a great year. I will finish off as strong as I started, with two reviews. First up we have the Alfa Romeo Giulia; a newcomer to the executive saloon market. The biggest question is whether the Italian has the goods to go toe to toe with the Germans.
My test car was a 2.2-litre diesel ‘Super’. It may only be the second model in the range, but the standard equipment includes the 8.8-inch Alfa Connect 3D Nav infotainment system, front and rear ambient lighting, rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning system and rain sensing wipers.
The style of the Giulia is exactly as you would expect from Alfa Romeo: it’s tremendously handsome. At the front, the signature triangular grille sits prominently, and the lines sweep up over the bonnet. The curvy headlights integrate some daytime running lights that resemble angry eyebrows. The optional 18-inch 5-hole alloy wheels were a nice addition, and at the back the curved boot lid negates the need for a spoiler, and twin exhausts show the Alfa’s sporty side.
The 2.2-litre diesel offers 180PS and 450Nm of torque (there is also a 150PS version). It had the 8-speed automatic gearbox, and can go from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 143mph. The steering has feel, the suspension is the right balance of firm and forgiving, and with the static gear shift paddles the drive is engaging. Fuel economy is also good: with 67.3mpg on a combined cycle. Prices for the Giulia start at £29,875. With a few options, my test car was around £40k. There’s no doubt it’s a great car, but it may be priced too closely to German rivals to make it appealing to consumers.
Next we have the Skoda Kodiaq; a spacious and versatile SUV.There are a host of engines available, from a 1.4-litre TSI petrol producing 150PS, up to a 2.0-litre TDI with 190PS, and both 2WD and 4WD, manual and DSG versions available.
Mine was somewhere in the middle: a 2.0-litre diesel with 150PS and 340Nm, AWD and a manual gearbox. In all honesty, I don’t know why you wouldn’t opt for the brilliant DSG gearbox. I should say, the Kodiaq is a big car, and 150PS is not a lot. The resulting 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds and top speed of 121mph showcase that this is not a performance car.
But what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in practicality. The cabin is spacious for all three rows, but particularly generous on the middle row. The boot – with the third row folded away – is huge. Even with all 7 seats in place there is enough space for shopping.
Being the ‘Edition’ model, the list of standard equipment is rather long: including 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit, blind spot detection, electric tailgate, KESSY keyless entry system, lane keeping assist, rear parking sensors, phone box with wireless charging and an umbrella in the front doors. It’s just a brilliant car for the family, and one you could enjoy living with day to day.
Prices for the Kodiaq start at £22,190. The 7-seat ‘Edition’ starts at £31,675, and I think that represents great value for what is an impressive family car.
Over the Christmas period, some exciting changes are happening at Simply Motor. I’m in the process of building a new website. Content will also be available on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. More on that in the New Year, so all that’s left is for me to sign off and wish you a very Merry Christmas: have a good one!