Alfa has announced the UK pricing for its forthcoming Golf-sized Giulietta model. The cheapest 1.4 litre 120 horsepower model in Turismo trim will cost £16,995. That looks pretty steep compared with the entry-level prices for tough competitors such as the Audi A3 (£15,775) Volkswagen Golf (£14,850) and Volvo C30 (£15,355), which may leave Alfa depending heavily for success on hard-core fans of the brand and the appeal of the attractive Alfaesque detail touches that the company has been weaving into the design of its cars with increasing success since the 156 was launched in the Nineties.

The Giulietta has the advantage of Multiair variable valvegear, which boosts both power and economy, but this technology is not fitted to the entry-level version; the cheapest 1.4 litre Multiair car, which delivers 170 horsepower, costs £18,890.

This is the third time Alfa has introduced a range of cars under the Giulietta badge. The first Giulietta sold from 1954 to 1965 in saloon, coupe and convertible versions, while the second was a mid-sized wedge-shaped saloon introduced in the late Seventies, which borrowed its mechanical layout – in particular its rear-mounted transaxle gearbox – from the slightly larger Alfetta. Like the smaller Mito, Giulietta also represents a return by Alfa to the practice of giving its cars names rather than numbers, as in the case of the Giulietta's predecessor, the 147.

The fastest petrol version of the latest Giulietta is the £24,495, 235 horsepower 1750 Tbi, a name that appears to be a nod towards the "1750" engine size badges or model designations carried by many famous past Alfas, including the first-generation Spider.

The new Giulietta is also available with 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesel engines at prices ranging from £17,895 to £22,495.

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