2020 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen GTI 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.

The GTI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Giulia doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the GTI and the Giulia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GTI the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Giulia has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 3 years longer than the Giulia’s (7 vs. 4 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the GTI for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Alfa Romeo only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Giulia.

There are over 4 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Giulia’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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 GTI’s reliability 46 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 Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 25th in initial quality. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Alfa Romeo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 2 places higher in reliability than Alfa Romeo.

Engine

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As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen GTI is faster than the Alfa Romeo Giulia (automatics tested):

GTI

Giulia

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

5.7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.2 sec

9.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.3 sec

14.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

6.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.9 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

4.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

99 MPH

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo Giulia (3). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Giulia every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The GTI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Giulia doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The GTI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Giulia doesn’t offer an SMG.

The GTI Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Giulia doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GTI’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Giulia:

GTI

Giulia

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

13 inches

The GTI’s 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 GTI stops much shorter than the Giulia:

GTI

Giulia

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Giulia’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Giulia.

The GTI 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 GTI SE handles at .95 G’s, while the Giulia Ti Q4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The GTI SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Giulia Ti (25.1 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Giulia’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Volkswagen GTI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 450 pounds less than the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

The GTI is 1 foot, 2.8 inches shorter than the Giulia, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the GTI SE is quieter than the Giulia Ti (39 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

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The GTI has .5 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Giulia.

Cargo Capacity

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The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Giulia (22.8 vs. 12 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the GTI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Giulia can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Keyless Access standard on the GTI SE/Autobahn 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the Giulia.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. The Giulia doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Giulia doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the GTI owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the GTI will cost $1275 to $6195 less than the Giulia over a five-year period.

The GTI will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the GTI will retain 45.13% to 46.99% 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 Volkswagen GTI will be $14847 to $20905 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 2020/08/11

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen GTI, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Alfa Romeo Giulia isn't recommended.

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The Giulia hasn’t been picked since 2018.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 13 years. The Giulia has never been an “All Star.”

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Alfa Romeo Giulia by over four to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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