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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
8/19/19 8:06 p.m.

And in other news, the first recall notice has arrived!

It's not quite as good as the retorque-your-(lug)-nuts one, but close. Apparently the car needs a software update because if I park it on an incline at the wrong angle, the fuel gauge could read high and I could run out of fuel.

Hmm.

Now I get that a fairly high compression turbo engine probably isn't going to take too kindly to running out of fuel, but still.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
8/19/19 8:34 p.m.

How many miles do you have on it now?

Have you driven it in anger yet?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
8/20/19 8:06 a.m.

Still only about 1600 miles. Typical, I get a new car because I'm traveling so much for work that the old ones are starting to fall apart and the travel dries up .

I've driven it "spiritedly" but hadn't had a chance to Auto-X it yet. It seems to have freed up nicely by now - originally the "economy" setting especially was not very rev happy and felt really sluggish, but it's now more eager. Same goes for the other two modes, it's just not quite as noticeable.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/2/19 5:39 p.m.

Now at about 2900 miles and it informs me that it wants an oil change, even though the oil change meter still shows a few thousand miles left on it. Hmm. It's got "variable" oil change intervals and probably has been driven not so gently for the first couple of hundred, but this seems a little short.

Haven't done the recall yet so I guess I'll call the dealer tomorrow and see when they can slot me in. It's a bit annoying as it looks like I have a 700 mile trip coming up next week and I don't want to take any of the other cars.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/3/19 1:23 p.m.

Thumbs up to the dealer, they could fit me in for tomorrow for an oil change and are taking care of the recall at the same time.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/6/19 9:40 a.m.

Two hours at the dealer and the oil change (with inspection of course) was done, recall done and they also updated the software in the Nav system as that throws its occasional fits with Android Auto. IIRC the first service may have been free anyway but the lease includes the first four services (worked out the same cost wise or slightly cheaper compared to just PAYG them) so there was no charge.

I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop in my dealer experience . I have to say compared to the monkeying around and low-level chaos I ended up with when I bought the pre-ordered launch edition ND from a "good" Mazda dealer, this is an almost unreal experience.

Yes, there was a snafu with the paperwork as there always seems to be with me buying a car, but everything was handled professionally, and there was never a time when I had to go "hunt the gotcha" like BS fees and the like during the process.

I guess that's the difference when you're dealing with a higher end dealership - these guys do Maserati and Alfa. In fact there are some suggestions on the various Alfa forums to avoid servicing these cars at Fiat/Alfa dealerships, at least when it comes to problem diagnostics.

MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
10/6/19 9:59 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Yea i have seen that about the higher end dealerships and service.  My ND purchase was easy but it was a combo Acura/Mazda dealership... The local MB/Mazda dealership isnt that great though.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/7/19 1:19 p.m.

Right, off to the first proper road trip with the car. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/14/19 8:06 a.m.

Well, it's a pretty comfy road trip car despite or maybe because of the sports seats. No problem on a five hour non-stop trip from here to Cleveland, OH. Only reason I needed to stop on the way back because it finally needed some fuel. The fuel consumption reading is a tad optimistic and told me it was doing 34-35 mpg on the trip out, but I still got 33-34 according to my fuel and maintenance log app.

Matt B
Matt B UltraDork
10/14/19 11:35 a.m.

Subscribed.  These are high on the list if I can get over my manual trans stubborn-ness (probably not).  Speaking of, what's your read on the auto's behavior?

 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/14/19 11:45 a.m.

In reply to Matt B :

For what I use it for - daily driving - it's actually kinda nice to have an auto, at least when going to places like DC or Baltimore, which I do frequently.

The auto is pretty good in normal and dynamic mode - not dual clutch transmission good, but most of the time it gets the upshifts and downshifts right in a fairly similar manner. In the bad weather/economy mode, it's still OK but a bit less great.

Mine has the paddle shifters so I can still kinda row the gears if I want to (which you could with the standard one as well, it does have a manual mode) but I rarely see the need to.

Overall it does remind me a bit of my Evo X - it's not as nuts, but the way it will want to dance feels surprising similar.

Matt B
Matt B UltraDork
10/15/19 8:21 a.m.

Yeah, the enthusiast on my shoulder says I would want one with the flappy paddles, but the realist on the other side says I never used them much in the other manu-matics I've driven.  Good to hear the transmission isn't a letdown.  

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
1/27/20 7:34 p.m.

Got some more driving in, including a roundtrip to Durham NC in December with part of the return journey via the Blue Ridge Parkway. So far, so good.

Today I found the first annoyance - it needs new wiper blades, and of course they use yet another new mounting system, with a release button on top of the arm. And for E36 M3s & giggles, the Michelin wiper blades I bought at Costco has a similar looking adapter, but it's too wide for the wiper arm, yay. Fortunately the blades "only" run between $20-30 a blade at the local parts store. hopefully with an adapter that actually fits.

 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
3/13/20 10:05 a.m.

And at about 8400 miles, we have the first actual issue with the car. Surprisingly, it's electrics/electronics.

In gloomy weather I like running it with the sunshade open to get a bit more light into the cabin. Tried to close the sunshade on the way back from the airport, accidentally hit the "crack the sunroof open a tad at the back" button instead. More button pressing ensued to close the sunroof again, and since then, neither of the three switches is doing anything anymore. I'm guessing I have a confused BCM, but it looks like it's time to have the dealer have a look at it and try to sort this out under warranty.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
3/22/20 4:21 p.m.

... and I got another note that it's not a recall but I should bring the Giulia in to get the BCM reflashed for something else. Let's see if this takes care of the sunroof issue as well.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/22/20 6:22 a.m.

Right, time to update. I just hit 10k miles on this car thanks to basically not traveling for work at all thanks to a certain pandemic. I guess the higher mileage lease is really paying off on that one, but who could have foreseen anything like this. Anyway, enough about hindsight and more about the car.

My suspicion about the sunroof issue was correct, it was simply a confused computer for the sunroof. Service manager at the dealer showed me how to reset it if it happens again. The "want oil change, now" message came on while I was driving to the dealer, and despite the car only being booked in for the updated flash and the sunroof issue, they accommodated me and did the 10k/second year service including a brake fluid change while I was waiting.

The ECU reflash was supposed to address issues with the turbo oil supply (supplying oil for longer around engine shutoff), and interestingly enough it made the stop/start function more aggressive if you just potter around town as a side effect. I suspect this will also help with the pretty decent fuel economy - I regularly get 30mpg driving normally and have been known to hit 35mpg+ on long trips.

So after about 15 months, what's the verdict?

Other than the sunroof 'issue' - which didn't bother me enough to actually make a trip to a dealer to get it checked out - the Giulia has been reliable. Always got me where I wanted to go in style, and if the way there involved some back roads like a trip to Raleigh NC last year, it's only too happy to dance down a winding back road. And honestly, that's why I got it - it reminds me of my Evo X in its playfulness, but with a more upmarket interior and better ergonomics.

Honestly the engine is a bit meh - it sounds about as grumbly as me at 6am when I'm trying to remember to make some tea and is far from the musical Alfa engines of old - but you end up surfing on a wave of turbo induced torque and now that it's loosened up nicely it feels like a normal contemporary turbo engine. Unfortunately the sound coming out of the exhaust is better than what you get in the cabin, where it sounds a little, well, agricultural at times. Not that that bothers me too much as the cabin is a nice and quiet place to be.

Can I see myself buying it off lease instead of returning it? Yes, potentially. When I took out the lease I figured out that it was actually cheaper to lease the car and write a check for the buyout than finance it at PenFed rates thanks to a subsidized lease. I've been pretty much treating it as a purchase by putting away the difference between the lease payment and the finance payment I would have to make on a 36 month loan. Depends a lot if I'll still travel as much in 2022 as I would be now if we didn't have a pandemic. If not, I'll probably try to get my mitts on a used QV unless I decide to go full electric for my DD. Yes, I still like this car that much.

 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
9/22/20 8:08 a.m.

Thanks for the update. Glad you haven't had any major issues and comparing the handling to an Evo is certainly adequate praise.  I've heard other reviewers say the same about the exhaust note.  Seems like a good candidate for an aftermarket system as long as the dealer network doesn't like to use that kind of thing to falsely deny warranty claims.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/22/20 8:24 a.m.

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

The main issue with the exhaust is really that I don't want it to be louder, but that would be the only way to actually hear it in the cabin. I doubt that an axle back would affect the warranty, but I usually don't modify cars that are still under warranty anyway.

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
9/22/20 12:46 p.m.

Gotcha - well that's one less thing to ding your wallet!  Sometimes I think I treat spending money on cars like a research project instead of the management of a finite resource. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/23/20 7:56 a.m.

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

Well, I do have several other vehicular research projects already...

Caprigrip
Caprigrip New Reader
9/23/20 9:51 a.m.

Nice keep us updated and glad reliability has been good.   It is such a sexy car.  

Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) MegaDork
9/23/20 12:42 p.m.

Yep. These are tempting. 

 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 8:12 p.m.

Well, E36 M3. Right now, I have a dead Alfa Giulia in the garage.

Tried to give my wife a ride into town, pushed the starter button, the brakes pedal kicked back like a horse (electronically controlled brakes) and the whole dash lit up like a demented Christmas tree. Second attempt, starter makes "that noise" of being too weak to even mesh with the flywheel. Oh, and that was after leaving it parked for maybe 10-14 days (at most) after taking it on a 300 mile trip.

Grab the wife's Range Rover, drive her into town, come back in less than half an hour and the Giulia has just about enough juice left to very dimly illuminate the cabin light. Definitely not enough power to pop the electrically controlled trunk. Yay. Voltmeter shows 5.5V at the jump start points, but the positive jump start point is a flat blade that doesn't have enough meat on it for my jumper cables to grip.

No worries, I'll just hook up the charger. Well, other than - the battery is in the trunk. The trunk lid can be released manually from inside the trunk, which requires folding the seats down.

I leave it to your imagination where the release to fold the seats down is. And no, you can't fold the seats down with the trunk lid closed because apparently the seat release doesn't work that way...

I guess my last attempt before calling the Alfa breakdown service is to try and get some jumper cables that actually fit the positive jump point.

Oh, and if you're easily depressed, don't search Alfa forums for "Giulia battery issues".

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
1/5/21 9:00 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) :

Can you just hook the charger to the remote battery poles under the hood? If nothing else you could probably pop the trunk that way.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/6/21 6:31 a.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

I'm trying to figure out exactly that. For some reason the two poles are 30" apart, plus the positive terminal is under a spring loaded cap, too. But I either have to figure this out or call the Alfa breakdown service to help.

Very much not impressed right now because it's not uncommon for me to leave the car at the airport for a week. Well, not right now, but during more normal circumstances. 

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