By on March 15, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti - Image: FCA

In the latest episode of Consumer Reports’ Talking Cars YouTube show, hosts Jon Linkov, Gabe Shenhar, and Mike Monticello discussed the persistence with which their bought-and-paid for 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti has visited the dealer.

Only recently purchased by Consumer Reports’ undercover team, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia has hardly been able to undergo Consumer Reports’ testing.

“It’s a sexy car,” Shenhar says in introducing the new Alfa. “It has a really storied brand name. As compelling as it might look,” Shenhar says, introducing the new Alfa,”I don’t know if I’m ready to send anyone to buy this car.”

“It’s been back to the dealer about three times since we bought it.”

“We have had a lot of problems,” Linkov explains. “I haven’t had the opportunity to get into it because it’s been at the dealer so often.”

For Consumer Reports to acquire a car that’s representative of a typical example without alerting manufacturers and dealers, CR essentially uses undercover operatives to purchase new vehicles. In the Alfa’s case, after hoisting up the Giulia for inspection, CR discovered that a brake wear sensor was hanging loose. The placement of the front license plate interferes with parking sensors. “The sunroof,” Shenhar says, “didn’t want to open at some point.”

Consumer Reports won’t report exclusively on the reliability of one car; the official findings are reported after survey results from as many owners as possible. “Nonetheless, this is unusual,” Shenhar says.

“I really enjoy driving it,” Monticello continues. “It is one of those rare cars these days that you really look forward to driving because it’s so sporty,” pointing to the Giulia’s handling, steering feedback, and it’s desire to tackle good roads.

“I sort of think they got the big picture right,” Monticello says, “But they got some of these minor things wrong.”

The sun visor, fiddly climate controls, poor seats, and poor seat heaters are “quirks” the CR editors could live with. But when Monticello ended his weekend with the Alfa by driving the Giulia to work on Monday morning, the Check Engine light came on.

We questioned the likelihood of Alfa Romeo Giulia ownership among TTAC’s B&B community last month when Car And Driver named the Giulia Quadrifoglio a comparison test winner. That Alfa topped the BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V, and Mercedes-AMG C63 S, but on more than one occasion, Car And Driver’s tester died following a remote startup.

Car And Driver’s conclusion: “We are willing to overlook this hiccup.”

But if it was ever acceptable to deliver an unreliable long-term tester, albeit unwittingly in this most recent case, to a major automotive publication, Consumer Reports is not the one to choose. Consumer Reports is largely unforgiving of the kind of failings that afflict actual consumers in the real world, rather than accepting the sort of faults an auto writer can tolerate during a press launch in Portugal. Expect CR to keep us apprised of faults of this specific 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti.

Alfa Romeo is the latest Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-owned brand to re-launch in North America. Four other FCA brands — Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram — filled four of the four lowest positions in J.D. Power’s recent Vehicle Dependability Study of MY2014 vehicles.

Through the end of February, 518 Alfa Romeo Giulias had found new owners in the United States, including 412 just last month.

The Giulia-related portion of the video begins at the 6:22 mark.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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122 Comments on “Consumer Reports’ 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Basically Lives In The Dealer Service Bay...”


  • avatar
    Corollaman

    That’s like reading that Trump is still arrogant! What the hell did they expect from an Italian made car???

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      One would think that Sergio would tackle the reliability issue first. That’s why people don’t buy these cars.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >One would think that Sergio would tackle the reliability issue first. That’s why people don’t buy these cars.

        The fact that Sergio heads the corporation named after two beacons of automotive reliability should’ve tipped off perspective buyers before even entering the showroom.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    In other news Sergio says: “The Giulia, she’s a not our best effort from a reliability standpoint.”

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Really year one models are at best a iffy leap of faith, in FCA case and Alfa in particular , avoid like the plague , may be year 2 will get better results, I have this on my car list in a few years after FCA deprecation special take hold, hopefully the reliability will be at least middle of the pack, no way I would buy this new , and I have bought cars new but to be fair not over 40K.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I wonder if 10 years from now these will be like 10 year old Jaguars are today..economically problematic to keep on the road?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Actually a 2007 XJ is among the most reliable Jags out there.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Actually a 2007 XJ is among the most reliable Jags out there.”

          So, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I don’t really understand what you’re saying, but my comment was a bit poorly phrased and cursory.

            The 2007-2009 XJs are very reliable not just as Jaguars, but in general as well. The basic design from 2002 was fairly reliable to start with thanks to Ford and was pretty much perfected by this point.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            The XJ was all new for 04, it’s not the same thing as the 02.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > Actually a 2007 XJ is among the most reliable Jags out there.

          Ah, the Ford-uar era.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            There’s one on our for sale car board at work. It has 90,000 miles, is in very nice shape, and the owner wants $7K, which he has a low percentage chance of getting near. Directly next to the XJ8 on the board is a 2009 Civic LX sedan with 82K miles for the same price. Smart money says the Honda will be gone first, having depreciated by $11K instead of $61K.

      • 0 avatar
        b534202

        Most cars would be … considering how widespread they use the touchscreens to control everything. Hopefully your car will run with a dead infotainment system that they no long make replacements for and not default to some lame eco valet mode forever.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Nice to see Sergio continuing the grand Chrysler tradition of throwing away money on unreliable, Italian made niche products. Just name it the TC by Alfa Romeo and the circle is complete.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Sergio–“I don’t like the car, it looks too much like a Fiat with a strange grill.” “No wonder the Chrysler 200 failed.”

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Back in ’72, friends of mine bought a new Alfa Romeo GT. In the first 10 years of ownership they spent more on repairs than the thing cost. Sure was fun to drive though.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      I had a GTV in the 70s. It was pretty fun to drive, though the shifter was notchy and it wasn’t particularly fast. And most annoyingly, it was incredibly unreliable. It was always one thing thing or another until I felt like the Alfa service manager was family. But it was a good looker in midnight blue with tan vinyl seats. I liked the Porsche 356C that took its place much more though.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Yes, article states what most of us suspected.

    But in the previous Giulia C&D article discussed here at TTAC, more than a few B&B thought us skeptics were wrong, the car was great, gorgeous, they’d buy it over the boring Germans, etc.

    For all of you who defended a car that won C&D’s sport sedan shootout whilst being unable to start, what say you now?

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      It is great and gorgeous. It’s just not reliable. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “For all of you who defended a car that won C&D’s sport sedan shootout whilst being unable to start, what say you now?”

      That if you told me the same shop queen anecdote about the BMW or Mercedes, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      I plan on passing on the sunroof and parking assist so those problems will be eliminated. Also my state doesn’t have a front license plate so that is taken care of as well.

      As for the check engine light the car has a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty and my state doesn’t require emission testing until a car is three years old so I figure I’ve got between 3 years and 50,000 miles to take care of that issue.

      The ABS sensor hanging is a little troubling but that’s one quick trip to the dealer. (Who knows maybe they can look at the check engine light while they’ve got it.)

      When you own an Alfa you need to prepare yourself for some work arounds that aren’t necessary in other cars.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        It said wear sensor, so I assumed it was one of those clips (“crickets”) that make the brakes squeak when the pads are close to being worn out. Nice of them to include wear sensors, though. My Toyotas have them, but the Kia Forte Koup doesn’t.

        • 0 avatar
          BigOldChryslers

          Some brake pads have an electrical circuit integrated into them which completes through the rotor when the pad wears down. Then the computer tells you to replace the brakes. I assumed this is what they mean.

        • 0 avatar
          Acd

          You are correct–poor reading comprehension on my part. Depending on how loud and annoying the noise is that can be put off as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            If its just a message on the dashboard that is even easier to ignore. See I’ve got the correct mindset to be an Alfa owner.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        … and thus nobody wants to buy them.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    Let’s all put on our collective surprise faces.

    I’d be more shocked if it didn’t have problems. However, there’s no denying it is a good looking car. At least, in my opinion. But, that has by and large been the go-to for Alfas. Good looking, good performing, often troublesome.

  • avatar
    kushman1

    Let’s be realistic here 95% of Giulia sales will be leases in the segment, so that demo of buyer will just lease/rent this for fun etc. Then there will be gear heads in the aftermarket used segment who loves Italian cars and tinkering who will buy them. CR saying this isn’t reliable is as dumb as people leasing hondas and toyotas for 2 years over reliability when they will never own them. I think Sergio is an idiot, but this Alfa serves it’s purpose and not drawing attention to the fact that the car’s main mission isn’t to last 20 years on the streets of 4th world countries is not objective reporting.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Just because they are leasing a car doesn’t mean people don’t care about reliability. The Germans usually wait until after the normal leasing/warranty period is over to start breaking down.

      Nobody is expecting it to last 20 years on the street of 4th world countries, but is it too much to ask to go less than 10,000 miles without seeing the Check Engine Light?

      • 0 avatar
        Ianw33

        “The Germans usually wait until after the normal leasing/warranty period is over to start breaking down.”

        My experience selling new BMW’s did not match up with your statement. We had issues with brand new BMW’s on the lot. almost all the turbocharged models had issues with random engine shutting down problems when it would get cold out

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Whatever their faults, you have to hand it to CR; when writing their test reports, they put their money where their mouth is, and don’t let automakers get away with providing a cream-puff for the review. (And it also means their tests aren’t limited to the tippy-top whiz-bang trimline.) This is not a cheap process for them, but I think it’s a valuable one to their subscribers. (Not to mention that they have their own dedicated testing facility, with a custom road course, which is not something that can be said for the other rags, can it?)

    They used to not participate in the “First Drive” events, but since they needed to keep their web presence relevant, they do go through that rodeo, but won’t publish scores or rank a car until they have a chance to test a car they’ve actually bought.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Whatever their faults, you have to hand it to CR; when writing their test reports, they put their money where their mouth is, and don’t let automakers get away with providing a cream-puff for the review.

      That I will give them credit for. I still think that C&D and MotorTrend are likely to get specially prepped cars where at least someone has gone over them with a fine tooth comb to ensure that at least everything is as it should be from a trim and panel gaps standpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Here’s the thing, Dan…if the one C/D got *was* a ringer that got special attention and *still* broke down repeatedly, how bad would a non-ringer be?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    “It’s been back to the dealer about three times since we bought it.”

    Three is a pretty small number, one that shouldn’t require the conjecture of “about”.

    “About three” could be 2, or 3, or 4. Did they not keep their receipts, so they can’t simply count them?

    The phrase “about three” makes this either poor writing or poor reporting.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “About three” is understandable to me.

      You could have a phone call with a technician, which may or may not count.

      You could stop in while the service manager runs outside to look at the car, without entering a formal service ticket. This may or may not count.

      And then you could actually have an official visit in which the car enters the service bay accompanied by a service ticket. This would definitely count.

      My guess is that CR has experienced all of the above.

      • 0 avatar
        BigDuke6

        “it’s been back to the dealer about three times”, doesn’t imply a phone call to a technician in my books. If I have to take it to the dealer, unscheduled, that’s an inconvenience.

  • avatar
    incautious

    oh wait this must be one of those cars built on a Monday that they always warned you about buying

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    BREAKING NEWS: New Guilia is an Alfa Romeo!

    (Disclaimer: I love Alfas)

  • avatar

    A sweater will solve its issues

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is how I felt about my 02 Passat and 05 Odyssey. I couldn’t keep either one out of the shop.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    The big problem will be the dealer service that typical Alfa customers face. Say what you will about a company like Jaguar, but their dealers bend over backwards to help you which is why they normally do well for after market sales support but Alfa? I don’t mind taking a car back to the dealer to fix a break sensor. As long as the car can be fixed on my time schedule I don’t care. If it won’t start that bothers me…. however whilst I feel confident about buying something like a Jaguar or Land Rover on this basis I wouldn’t go near Alfa. Why not buy something like a BMW you might well ask? Answer because what they deliver in reliability they lose in charm.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    From purely selfish standpoint, I hope this means they will depreciate like Fiats have and I’ll be able to get a great price on a used one in a year or two. Well, probably wait 2 so I can get a second-year car. I am a self-confessed bottom-feeder, though. I can’t see spending nearly $50k on ANY car knowing it’s going to depreciate so quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Most all the used ones will be coming off 2 or 3 year leases.
      So if you wait for a 2018 build, probably 2020 or 21.
      And yes they’ll likely be pretty cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Future lease-returns of these used Alfas – especially zippy Quadrifoglios – will also be debugged Darwinian leftovers of ones that work over any kind of long-term, most with dealer-service histories. The reputation these cars are getting already will drive depreciation that much more until then.

        Sharps keen on this car a few years from now will get some proven gems cheap; that will be when this Alfa is worth a look whether one can afford a new one or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      You might want to wait even longer so that the aftermarket can fix what’s wrong with these.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Lol. I’m wondering how long before they’re cheap enough to be LeMons eligible.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I test drove a brand new Alfetta back in the 70’s, it overheated during the short jaunt. Needless to say, I walked away.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    BTSR famously said,

    “BREMBO BRAKES and RING TIMES don’t matter while you’re SITTING IN TRAFFIC!”

    Likewise, sexy Italian looks and dynamics don’t mean much while you’re waiting for a tow truck. For us working folks ownership experience >>>>>>>>>>>>> driving experience. It’s very key to keep that in mind when reading “reviews”

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Thus demonstrating once again that, like it or not, stereotypes are often based on truth.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I don’t see the stuff CR was complaining about as things that will leave you at the side of the road. My province doesn’t require front plates, so I guess the parking sensors would work fine for me!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    That thing’s smaller than a Corolla.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Entirely new car has problems surprise surprise. Give it a couple of years and then see a large data set before opinions are made.

    As to everyone who says everything FCA makes is crap, the why do I see 250k Jeep GCs and Dodge caravans on the road? Shouldn’t they have fallen apart by now?

    On average they tend to be less reliable (speaking of Fiat as we don’t have a large enough pool of Alfas yet).

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Other automakers have found ways to ship entirely new cars that are not, in fact, rolling unreliable piles of crap. There’s no reason for CR, or anybody, to withold judgement at the moment… it’s perfectly reasonable to form an opinion at this point that the car’s no good right now and should be avoided.

      The onus is on FCA to show, “a couple of years” from now, that the bugs have been fixed in this model and it deserves a second look; they don’t earn a free pass in the meantime. (Especially given their corporate reputation for unreliability.)

      • 0 avatar
        ijbrekke

        The newest generation Honda Civic has received terrible reliability ratings in its first year of production. Just shows that small sample size can be misleading.

        Taking into account the reputations of both brands (Honda and Alfa Romeo), Honda has obviously built much more equity in public trust regarding reliability.

    • 0 avatar

      That is mainly because nobody is really building bad cars anymore. There are now just different degrees of good. It is just Chrysler is less good than the rest of the industry. If you take care of any modern car it should go 200K miles. I am sure that applies to the hapless Fiat 500 as well.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “the why do I see 250k Jeep GCs and Dodge caravans on the road? Shouldn’t they have fallen apart by now?”

      I’m guessing those Jeeps and vans were built long before FCA existed. AMC likely deserves more credit for those than Fiat.

      I owned a Diplomat that was decent and I’ve seen some mega-mile Cummins Rams, but Sergio’s crew didn’t have anything to do with those either.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “The placement of the front license plate interferes with parking sensors.”

    Aren’t front plates put there by the dealer depending on if your state requires them or not? Still bad from a customer services perspective but not a manufacturing issue.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      It is not a manufacturing issue but, assuming the dealer installed everything correctly, it points to a design issue. Someone wasn’t thinking about all the details when it came to designing the parking system and the placement of the front sensors. Or the front license plate was originally going to be somewhere else that didn’t work out for whatever reason and they forgot to consider everything when moving it to its present location.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “assuming the dealer installed everything correctly”

        A big if. I would think a training issue is the most likely culprit.

      • 0 avatar
        tubacity

        About license plates in new cars. All my new cars had dealer advertising license frames and a paper which was size and shape of a license plate and full of dealer advertising installed front and back when I got them. There was always some plastic screw thread inside the bumper cover where the screws went. I always received the state issued license plate weeks later and installed it in the same place as that advertising paper within the license frame.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I don’t know how it is with FCA cars, but I think a lot of vehicles might have some pre-located drill spots for the plate. On my Ford, there are two little dimples in the front bumper. If Alfa is the same, there’s no reason for the plate to be mounted anywhere else.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Fix It Again, Tony lives on.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Just goes to prove the adage that Italian cars should be “mistress, not wife”.

    Though I don’t quite agree with people saying how good it looks. Compared with something like a Brera, it’s definitely got what you’d call a “fat face”. The grill just doesn’t work with the relatively flat fronts that cars have these days due to crash or pedestrian safety regulations.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Well that explains why I haven’t seen one on the street yet.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The license plate and the front parking sensors thing? I’m guessing the parking sensor placement didn’t take into account the taller, narrower license plates used in the US.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    Wait wait wait….

    You are telling me…a luxury car is not being reliable?!!?

    This is not news. Other than Lexus, almost all luxury lines are of poor overall reliability. Having been in “the biz” not too long ago, I saw the sheer volume of late model German luxury vehicle with similar issue to what this Alfa is dealing with. Example, every time the temps would get below freezing, all the turbocharged X3/X5/X6’s would shudder and shut down after we started them. These were brand new units. Turned out to be a fuel pump issue, and if you google BMW & fuel pumps, you will see this is not a new issue.

    With all of that said, i am not excusing poor quality, Alfa needs to show improvement as the model years progress. But lets not hold them to a different standard than we do other unreliable luxury makes

  • avatar

    Start and pray.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Fix It Again Tony

    – But this is an Alfa…

    Fiat, Alfa, same shitty Italian company…

    Ok, Ok, Ok, Ok

    Always Lifted. Falling Apart.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    And there are those that wonder why I like pickups ;)

  • avatar

    “It’s been back to the dealer about three times since we bought it.”

    “About three times”?? Am I the only one who finds this language peculiar? Say “a handful of times” or “a few times”, but don’t use “about” with a precise number as small as three.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Am I the only one who finds this language peculiar?

      Eggsalad did a pretty good job of explicating that anomaly 4 hours and 21 minutes before you.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Still want one, as long as I can get an extended warranty.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    M3 isn’t reliable car as well, nor Cadillac, nor Cayman.
    How reliable is Mercedes C63 S?

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Heh.. in the CR video that Alfa has the visual sexiness of a Dart with an Edsel snoot.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    “The placement of the front license plate interferes with parking sensors.”

    Surely that’s the fault of federal plate size regulations compared to the tiny little plates that front cars in Italy? >:)

    Though seriously that’s a bit of a poor localisation testing effort on FCA’s part, especially as one of the Alfa styling trademarks for the past 2 decades has been the offset plate, to have it think that it’s own numberplate is an obstacle in front of it!!

    Or is it the case that a basic plate is fine, but the slight extra height from dealer plate surrounds are just enough to block? If so, Alfa dealers should be aware!

  • avatar
    la834

    But now that CR has published this, won’t Alfa or their dealers be able to figure out which car has been serviced in the specific three ways noted and thus figure out which is the secret CR test car?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I don’t think that matters as much now. I think it’s more important if Alfa knew that a reviewer was getting a car that they would cherry pick and do additional checks before delivering that car to them.

  • avatar
    blppt

    “but on more than one occasion, Car And Driver’s tester died following a remote startup.”

    Wow…that sounds like an unsafe vehicle!

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    This report from the same people that threatened to fire people if they couldn’t get a Samurai to roll over. Just because they buy the car with their own money doesn’t mean they don’t have an agenda. I am not defending the car especially since there are a lot of first year cars with issues from all brands. I am just saying consider the source and judge accordingly.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    That may be, but CR had a very hard time getting one to roll over in their tests. They couldn’t get it to do so in the original tests and had to modify them a bit. But in the end all they showed was how easily a Samurai rolls over. No different than the sounds bites in the news today. The truth isn’t what gets reported, sensationalism is what sells.

    Again, not defending the car. At least this car shipped with all the brake pads in place.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So does it come with Lucas smoke standard, or is that in an options package?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Lucas, Prince of Darkness…

      Experienced this firsthand in 1984 or so…I went to college in Iowa, and Springsteen’s tour was coming to Ames. A friend and I took his Spitfire up I-35 to get tickets (I had a Rabbit, which would have made the journey without incident, but dude, he drove a *SPITFIRE*).

      It was raining. It was dark. The wipers and defroster switched themselves off and on by themselves numerous times.

      Jee-sus Keee-rrrist was that scary.

  • avatar
    MGV001

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. If you want an Alfa, get yourself a late 60’s or early 70’s car.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    Alfa-Romeo – paying Tony 10x more to fix it again.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    This is not surprising. What do you expect from a car company with a logo showing a giant snake devouring a man:

    http://jalopnik.com/is-that-really-a-snake-eating-a-guy-on-the-alfa-logo-1626686519


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