2020 Lexus IS Series vs. 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus IS Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Alfa Romeo Giulia doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Giulia doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus IS Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Alfa Romeo Giulia doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the IS Series and the Giulia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Alfa Romeo covers the Giulia. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Giulia ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Giulia’s (6 vs. 4 years).

There are over 54 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the IS Series’ warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the IS Series’ reliability 86 points higher than the Giulia.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Alfa Romeo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

Engine

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The IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 31 more horsepower (311 vs. 280) than the Giulia’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Alfa Romeo Giulia:

IS Series

Giulia

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

5.7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9 sec

9.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

14.4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.2 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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The IS Series has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Giulia (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus IS Series higher (5 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo Giulia (3). This means the IS Series produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Giulia every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The IS Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Giulia are solid, not vented.

The IS Series stops much shorter than the Giulia:

IS Series

Giulia

70 to 0 MPH

177 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The IS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Giulia’s standard 50 series tires.

The IS Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Giulia; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the Giulia Ti Q4 pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The IS 350 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Giulia Ti (26 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Giulia’s (34.2 feet vs. 37.5 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Giulia’s (35.4 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Giulia doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the IS 350 F Sport is quieter than the Giulia Ti:

IS Series

Giulia

Full-Throttle

73 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

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The IS Series has 2.4 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Giulia.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the IS Series offers cargo security. The Giulia’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Giulia, the IS Series offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left open on the IS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Giulia can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Smart Access standard on the IS Series allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo Giulia’s Keyless-Go doesn’t unlock the trunk.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Giulia doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the IS Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Giulia’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the IS Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Giulia doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

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The IS Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the IS Series will retain 44.01% to 47.7% of its original price after five years, while the Giulia only retains 34.65% to 38.01%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus IS Series will be $1330 to $6171 less than for the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The Lexus IS Series outsold the Alfa Romeo Giulia by 71% during 2019.

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