For this month’s motoring review, Sussex Business Times got behind the wheels of Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta model and one of Volvo’s newest models – the V60 Twin Engine. Here, we share our thoughts…

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Italian brand, Alfa Romeo has been manufacturing top class motors since its origin as A.L.F.A in Milan in 1910, and this month Sussex Business Times jumped at the chance to review the brand’s Giulietta model.

Of course as with any motor, speaking of the look of the car is subjective and people will have their own taste. Personally to SBT, the look of this Alfa model was as nice as expected, not including the front aspect though. To us here at the SBT Towers, the huge grille on the front of the car isn’t the most attractive and doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the vehicle – everything else design-wise looks great! Although we didn’t completely love the look of the car straight away, its definitely one that grows on you.

Now onto the interior… The inside of this particular Alfa Romeo model is offers the utmost comfort – it’s probably one of the most comfortable motors we’ve reviewed in the more recent months and definitely more so than last month’s review of the Peugeot 3008 and Nissan X-Trail. The dashboard is equally as lovely, minus the fake carbon by the windscreen. While all inside looks high-class at first glance, we found it incredibly hard to locate and use a large amount of the controls. During the week we had to test drive this motor, we couldn’t once establish how to adjust the interior mirror. All of the car’s control features seemed to be well hidden, and while this might be a good thing for many drivers, we found it to be a slight nuisance.

The car’s interior came hand in hand with many top-of-the-range features, including parking sensors. This is a great addition to any motor and so we were slightly confused as to why there was the option to turn these off. Either way, it didn’t affect the car in any form, but points like these make us wonder whether Alfa Romeo really thought through every aspect when manufacturing this model. Cabin space isn’t a strength with the Giulietta. It provides enough front head room for those in the front seats and leg room is okay, but taller drivers may feel their hair brushing the headlining and the footwell is cramped.

Equally, despite being one of the longest cars in its class the Giulietta provides less rear leg room than many of its rivals. However, for those businessmen and women looking solely for a comfortable drive from A to B, it offers everything you could need.

The only other negative was that of the foot pedals. While metal pedals might be nicer to look at, they can pose a slight threat when the weather isn’t so great as they tend to become slippery. Additionally, the Giulietta’s pedals are all at different heights, which means it’s more difficult than it should be to move from one to another, while the clutch is very close to the centre console, so you can’t rest your left foot alongside.

The Giulietta has a wide range of engines, and even the least powerful ones gives decent performance. Petrol fans can choose from 1.4s with either 118, 148 or 168bhp, or a 237bhp 1.7 that’s fast enough to frighten all but the hottest hatches.

The driveline on this car is pretty much perfect, although when in eco mode, it’s very slightly sluggish. However, the effects of driving in sports mode make up for this; it’s a completely different car, very fast on acceleration and good at handling. The gearbox is incredibly smooth and flows freely through all of the gears, while

Overall, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is quite a car, and with a comfortable drive and unmistakable design, you get pretty much exactly what you would expect for its price. Disregarding the small ‘problems’ (subjective to the opinion of Sussex Business Times, of course), then it’s worth every single penny!

Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine

SBT was also able to get hands on with the Volvo V60 Twin Engine this month, and what a car it is! The Volvo V60 D5 occupies a small niche in the UK, as while the standard V60 rivals models such as the Audi A4 Avant and Mercedes C-Class Estate, there’s not much that directly takes on this diesel plug-in hybrid.

The Volvo V60 boasts a nice interior. While that might sound like a pretty bland word to use, it suits the car perfectly – nice is what it is! The dashboard is clean and simple, with the buttons and dials appearing in the simplest of forms, which I think makes the vehicle as a whole all the more endearing. The dashboard comes in hand with screened parking sensors, offering the slick exterior of the car some form of protection. As mentioned earlier, the buttons are as simple as can be, and this along with a few other minute features in the car would suggest that it’s aimed at an older demographic. While there’s plenty of up-to-date kit, including sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, DAB radio and auto-dimming mirrors, the cabin itself feels very dated.

With regards to the drive of the vehicle, it’s quite difficult to get going unless you’re someone who’s been taught how to start by pushing on the brake pedal first. Despite this, the Volvo V60 Twin Engine is very economical on fuel with thanks to its hybrid system. At the same time, the steering on this motor is lovely – incredibly light – but with the weight of a (nearly) two tonne car, it’s a bit dull to drive. The steering also has inconsistent weighting – feeling heavy around the centre and then lighter as you put more lock on. There’s plenty of grip in the corners but the strange steering and hefty kerb weight mean the V60 isn’t exactly fun to drive. The car’s brakes are powerful but don’t seem to give you a great feel for the car, but with the weight it’s pulling back, this isn’t a surprise.

Comfort though, is at the maximum with this model. The seats and headrests are extremely comfortable, making it the perfect vehicle for those long corporate journeys. The only element that would argue this is space. There’s not a great deal of boot space due to the battery taking up most of it, but the cockpit of the car contrasts hugely with this, offering the perfect level of space and comfort.

This Volvo model is simply a lovely simple car to drive. Despite the fact that it’s aimed at an older target audience, it makes for a good looking, slick and smooth drive. If you’re after a reliable car that promises to be great on fuel with plenty of power behind it, then the Volvo V60 is the car for you. It comes with only two main downfalls: the weight and size of the boot.

While it’s not really a car for the typical businessman and it more suits an older demographic, here at SBT we would say that it’s perfect for anyone looking for a reliable, reasonably priced and slick-looking vehicle, regardless of the age demographic they fit into! It’s everything you would expect and more from Volvo, and in this month’s battle of the engines, the Volvo wins hands down.