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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I am unlikely to get a chance to test drive a Giulia on my favorite roads (there is one daily rental available in Las Vegas), so I am asking Giulia owners:

I currently drive a well maintained 1999 Mazda Protege over narrow, steep, curvy mountain pass roads in California on a regular basis. I don't have any performance driving training, but I don't get passed. Drivers with much more powerful cars have tried. I believe that Mazda Protege is about the same size as Giulia, but 1000lbs lighter and (unfortunately) with 160 fewer HP. The Mazda has the optional low profile, 3 season tires and is a blast to drive on narrow, curvy roads. It has unquestioned best in class (economy compact sedan) handling. At high altitude the naturally aspirated engine of the Mazda is wheezing (2nd gear and floored just to maintain speed is a common situation). Protege is FWD with an open differential; the ride is a bit harsh and noisy.

So how will a Giulia Ti Q4 compare to my reference car? I presume that it will be much quieter, smoother and more powerful, but will it be anywhere near as nimble?
 

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I've never driven a Protege, but based on your suspension and steering technology being 18 years old, I'm pretty sure you will love the Giulia Ti, which is what I have. Two months and 1500 miles under my belt, I find it more agile and feels more powerful than my previous car, Acura TL SH-AWD with a normally aspirated V6 and 6 speed manual transmission. The TL had about 27 more HP, but weighed 400 pounds more. The TL was about 12 inches longer overall than the Giulia, but the Giulia's wheelbase is two inches longer than the TL. So, if you've ever driven go-carts with your kids at one of those amusement franchises, think "fastest and quickest steering go-cart on the track". You will be quickest car through the passes. More HP above a certain point doesn't really help a lot in very mountainous terrain. You barely get up to speed and it's time to brake for the next turn, etc. I'm from WV and there are some fun roads there and there are some that are almost scary.
 

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I am familiar with the Mazdaspeed Protege from back in the day...fun little car that needed about 50 more horsepower.

Let's just say the Giulia in any trim level will be in a realm almost unbelievable to you...it will be a paradigm shifting experience to drive a Giulia each day if you buy one. ;-)
 
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I traded in a 2014 Mazda 3 MT for the Giulia. The Mazda was a wonderfully nimble car with a 0-60 time almost equal to my V6 Alfa Milano. However, the Giulia is light years ahead of the Mazda and Milano in performance and all other elements that make for driving enjoyment.
 

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I traded in a 2014 Mazda 3 MT for the Giulia. The Mazda was a wonderfully nimble car with a 0-60 time almost equal to my V6 Alfa Milano. However, the Giulia is light years ahead of the Mazda and Milano in performance and all other elements that make for driving enjoyment.
Same here, just sold my 2014 Mazda 3 hatch manual trans and waiting for my Giulia due in this week (heard that before)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the encouragement. My mechanic (who builds for the local Mazda race club, there are always RX7, RX8, and MX-5 out front) says the Protege handling is superior to the 3: "do whatever is necessary to keep your Protege, you won't be happy with a 3". I'll stay off the issue of Mazda mechanical problems (too far off subject), but the Protege is getting a bit "long in the tooth" and I need a car that is reasonably reliable since I drive the passes in the middle of the night (less traffic).

I suspect that a 4C would be best handling wise, but it is just too limited in other categories (comfort, noise, 2WD only, storage space) to be more than a very expensive "toy" for my purposes.
 

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I don't have any performance driving training, but I don't get passed. Drivers with much more powerful cars have tried.
You are either a natural or everyone else in California is slow.......:grin2:

Never driven a Protege, but I can tell you that the QV handling is pretty darn close to my 911S..... if that gives you any idea of how well the Giulia handles......

BTW, on snowy passes you might want to learn how to left foot brake, you will become smoother and even faster.....>:)
 

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The Giulia has fantastic chassis dynamics that provides a direct connected feel to the road way without the typical sensory overload.

Steering response is also very sharp. I think you will be in for a treat.

Go test drive one and see if it suits you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Or I drive the same road over and over and have more clue than the other guys about what is ahead...

I sit very close to the steering wheel so that I have only a small bend at the elbows, it provides much better control. I notice that most race cars are setup this way. It's not the best position in the event of a crash <sigh>.

5L Mustang would catch me in the straights but fall back in the turns.
Civic-R could almost keep up and seems to have been trolling for a race. After a modest distance he turned off.
A Mazda 3 once passed me in a long straight. He was going 80 in a 55 zone. I value my drivers license more than that.
Usually I just pass a vehicle and never see them again.

Too much power on these roads could easily end in tragidy-- 10 foot wide lanes, no K rails, no shoulders (usually), no cell phone service to call for help. I have never seen a Porsche (any model) or BMW (any model) on these roads. Maybe the drivers of such cars are afraid of the dark, or hitting a cow, or hitting a pothole, or just don't have time to drive in the mountains? Maybe they are going the same speed as I drive, so we don't cross paths? I really doubt that a QV would improve my times over a 2.0T; I'm not even sure it would improve the grin factor (too much worrying about how much throttle to apply).

I often end up stuck behind a "road boulder" who seems to think that somehow "cutting" the turns is making his slow driving faster. I almost always stay strictly in my lane, except to pass. There is too much to keep an eye on without also needing to watch for oncoming traffic that is far ahead.

Many drivers don't seem to understand that the highway is not a racetrack, they are (most likely) not a race car driver, and they are not driving a race car. Driving tactics and vehicle setup to achieve the highest safe speed are different on a highway versus a racetrack. In particular on the inside lane of a turn (e.g. right hand turn in the USA) it is best to stay to the outside of the available lane in order to have the best sight line. Speed should be limited to the lesser of the sight line limited and the traction limit. Driving to the outside of the turn will increase the sight line by significantly more than driving to the inside will decrease the distance to travel. I did the geometry for a 250 foot radius turn, a vertical cliff face on the inside of the turn, and a 6 foot wide car in a standard 13 foot wide lane (east bound SR-108 between Dodge Ridge and Strawberry, should you care to drive it): ~5% length difference between inside and outside of lane, ~40% sight line difference between inside and outside of lane-> such a turn can reasonably be negotiated ~15% faster by staying to the outside of the turn. The traction limit is also higher at the outside of the turn, but this allows only a small increase in speed. Traction limit (Protege) about 60MPH (tires squealing, no slippage), inside of lane sight line limit about 35MPH, outside of lane sight line limit about 45MPH, typical driver speed about 30MPH. Anyone driving open public highways at the vehicle's traction limit has a poor life expectancy; race tracks are kept clear of obstacles with all vehicles going in the same direction, roads not so much. OTOH, most drivers seem to think that about 0.1Gs is their traction limit...

Of course, there is some chance that some idiot is coming the other way and cutting the turn. Be a little cautious and safe, nothing is worth getting in a head on collision. Having some margin on your traction limit will let you change your direction of travel mid-turn.

Also on the sight line point, the drivers side headlight should light up the passenger side of the road (even better if both lights illuminate the full width, then you aren't in as much trouble if a headlight is out), otherwise your lighting is going to limit you to about what your passenger can see in an inside turn at night. My wife's Subaru is designed this way, but I think most cars are not.

Sight line limited speed varies from driver to driver based on reaction time and driver preparation to react to hazards. Keeping the left foot over the brake pedal can substantially reduce reaction time, at least for automatic transmission vehicles. Hitting the brakes when an animal is in or near the road and figuring out if it presents a hazard later also helps reduce reaction time. As another plus, most deer run away when they hear squealing tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On public roads at legal speeds I cannot agree with "FWD cars are crap".

My question was not about track day driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The thread is not about drag racing either. The thread is about the behavior of a car on narrow, steep, curvy public roads. Compare FWD and RWD 120HP cars and the FWD will win pretty much every time because it weighs less. I would be less certain about 280HP cars, although it should be noted that Civic Type-R (306HP) and Golf GTI Clubsport S (also 306HP?) beat pretty much every RWD vehicle with the same or less power at the Nurburgring. I know of no 505HP FWD drive cars; obviously there is a limit to how much power a FWD vehicle can transfer to the ground and 300HP is probably pretty much already at that limit assuming current technology street tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Why not just drop the attitude and address the original question IF you have something meaningful to say or stay out of the discussion if you do not?

I did not say RWD or AWD are no good; it should be obvious that if I thought that I would never have posted the original question. I refuted the statement (with well credentialed references) that FWD is categorically no good. Each configuration has its advantages and disadvantages. I am not going to go into those details, my question was to compare how 2 vehicles that differ on almost everything except size (Protege is slightly larger than Giulia) will behave (as perceived by a non-race driver) on steep, narrow, curvy public highways.
 

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My last input here.....

For your specific situation why not look at a Ford Focus ST? Nimble, FWD and fun to drive......

Good luck in whatever you choose.....
 

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I think best for him would be the Fiesta ST. It would drive circle around that old Protege. Same weight but a lot more engine.
For same drivers FWD is the way to go. It's safer AND cheaper.

Over and out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the suggestion. The Focus ST lacks an option for AWD, making it usable for me for only 1/2 of the year. I was hoping to find a car that I can use all year, which is why I am looking at Giulia Q4.

My "summer" route is still closed for the winter. It is usually open only from May to Nov.
My "winter" route often has chain controls in place during the winter; this year I had the exceptional experience of driving over a fresh avalanche with my no-fun-to-drive 4WD pick up truck. I doubt that Giulia Q4 is up to that (the snow was about 10 inches deep on the "shallow" side of the road and about 60-70 inches deep on the deep side), but I hope to not encounter such severe conditions again (record setting 200% of normal snowfall this year). At least with Giulia I could have reasonably turned around and gotten the attention of the road crew. Even during the below normal weather of the year before, I got stuck driving the Protege on glare ice in April on SR-88 (no fun!).

On the subject of Giulia and less than ideal roads: how well do the 19inch rims with ultra-low profile tires deal with potholes and rough roads? Right now all of the mountain roads in California are like one continuous pothole, excepting those that are completely washed out (impassable) and a few that got emergency paving during the winter (Caltrans managed to pave a particularly bad section of SR-88 in sub freezing weather!). Even I-80 resembles one continuous pothole (I could go on and on...). I've seen plenty of nightmare reports of broken rims and damaged undercarriage from the consequential blow-out on similarly equipped cars.
 

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On the subject of Giulia and less than ideal roads: how well do the 19inch rims with ultra-low profile tires deal with potholes and rough roads? Right now all of the mountain roads in California are like one continuous pothole, excepting those that are completely washed out (impassable) and a few that got emergency paving during the winter (Caltrans managed to pave a particularly bad section of SR-88 in sub freezing weather!). Even I-80 resembles one continuous pothole (I could go on and on...). I've seen plenty of nightmare reports of broken rims and damaged undercarriage from the consequential blow-out on similarly equipped cars.
I have a Giulia Ti with 19 inch and active suspensions (perf. package). The ride is surprisingly compliant over rough roads, even more so than my previous VW GTI with 17 inch rims, yet the Giulia has noticeably sharper and firmer corning response. If you switch to soft setting the car basically floats over the roughness, but it still won't lean too much at corners which is great.

It sounds like if you eventually decide to get the car, Q4 with performance package would be the best bet for you!
 
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