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Giulia ‘Top Safety Pick’ after tweaks

by Chris Vander Doelen on


Crash safety might not be top of mind for some choosing a Ferrari-derived high-performance machine, but Alfa Romeo’s new luxury sport sedan has been dubbed a Top Safety Pick (TSP+) by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Giulia, whose launch was famously delayed by more than one trip back to the design labs, has earned the highest possible crash worthiness rating in five IIHS test categories. The evaluations ranged from the usual rollover and side impact tests to two more difficult frontal offset evaluations.

There is already debate about the value of the TSP+ safety designation among the cognoscenti, however. It only applies to Giulia models manufactured after May, 2017 and equipped with the optional, $500 Forward Collision Warning Plus system. That’s also the month when post-launch design changes took place which strengthened the lower front pillar and driver door sill to improve its test results in partial offset crashes.

Some of the usual forum combatants argue these late improvements devalues the award, blah blah blah. That’s harsh; Alfa Romeo’s engineers were starting virtually from scratch with the Giulia, which had been out of production for two decades before the new regime at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided to bring it back to life with an injection of a few billion Euros. A late design tweak for safety’s sake shouldn’t devalue their achievement in a market segment long dominated by German carmakers adding incremental improvements to existing platforms .

But back to the win: the IIHS also had high praise for the Giulia’s massive rotors and calipers and its performance under an Automatic Emergency Braking test, which it judged “Superior,” and its optional headlights, which they rated “Good.”

In the brake test, an emergency stop from 12 mph avoided impact. In a 25-mph test speed was reduced by 24 mph. In the headlight department, the “good” rating applied only to the extra-cost, curve-adapting lights, not the standard headlamps, which they rated “poor.”

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; he was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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