The sporty Alfa Romeo Giulietta is the perfect family hatchback for a very cool mum or dad, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.
Car manufacturer Alfa Romeo seems to embody the beautiful, poetic, origin of its mother tongue.
The automaker has been involved in motor racing since 1911, and has a reputation for producing sports cars for discerning drivers.
These days, the brand name is part of the Turin-based Fiat Group and, although still sports oriented, its attention is now very much on the small family car market.
A cool car for the family market
So, what kind of family-focused motorist is going to visit an Alfa Romeo dealership? A very cool mum or dad, that's who.
After all, why pay money for a pedestrian Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus when you can lay down a deposit on a gorgeous Alfa Romeo Giulietta?
As a matter of fact, the five-door hatchback is one of the best motors in the UK, according to a recent survey of British drivers.
Giulietta voted top motor in Auto Express poll
The well-dressed Giulietta reached seventh place in this year's Auto Express Driver Power survey, having caught the imagination of motorists with its flair, drivability and handling.
The Alfa was specifically applauded for its performance, braking, ease of driving, ride quality and in-car technology and, I have to say, I can't argue with any of that.
Honestly, the animated Alfa Romeo lives up to the spin and it deserves the praise heaped upon it.
The very fact it has won over thousands of UK fans shows the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
You really need to get into the driver's seat and engage with this Italian-born beauty to see what she's all about.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta: Spec
I did just that.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta I road-tested came fitted with a 2.0 JTDM-2 engine which guarantees a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 while also keeping emissions, and therefore tax, low.
It reaches 0-62mph in a swift eight seconds and, where legal, the car will achieve 135mph.
It gives you an adrenaline rush if you ask for it. Just blip the accelerator pedal and you're off.
Lean in to the corners and the car will tuck in and stick to the road as if the wheels are on rails.
But choose to drive as though you have all the time in the world and the Alfa will tootle along without any reluctance at all.
There are five trim levels: the model I road-tested had a Sportiva trim. But any Alfa Romeo Giulietta will look utterly chic when it's parked outside your house.
Even though it's been about in its current guise for a few years, people still turn to admire it.
The Giulietta simply doesn't blend in like the Fords, Vauxhalls, and even the Volkswagens of this world do.
It sticks out - in a good way - and you'll never get tired of looking at it.
You'll always be glad you bought it and you'll love getting behind the wheel, with or without any rug rats in the back.
Good fuel economy
If you want to be boringly concerned with fuel consumption (okay, I'm being facetious - we all need to be concerned about pounds frittered away at the pumps) then you're in the right car.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDM-2 Sportiva will do around 60 miles per gallon, and CO2 emissions are relatively low at 124 g/km.
Certainly, with its looks, gifted engine, fuel-saving technology and generous standard kit, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a splendid acquisition.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta: Pros & cons
Average boot capacity X
Alfa Romeo Giulietta: Fast facts
Max speed: 135 mph
0-62 mph: 8.0 secs
Combined mpg: 60.1
Engine: 1956 cc, 4 cylinder, 16 valve, turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 170 at 4000 rpm
Max. torque (Ib/ft): 258 at 1750 rpm
CO2: 124 g/km