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So after 7 weeks on the wait list, I finally got this Volcano Black 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia loaner car from another dealer who's going to hopefully fix my factory paint defect trunk lid fiasco that my sales dealer was unable to resolve after multiple failed repair attempts.



I'm thrilled to be in an Alfa Romeo instead of a crappy FCA fleet special rental car like I had last time. And it gives me a chance to compare and contrast a base 2017 Giulia to my 2018 Giulia Ti Sport. More on that later. First, I want to report that I've found the elusive snowflake easter egg that Alfa Romeo software engineers hid on certain cars. One morning the ambient temp was exactly 37°F and when I got in the car and started it up, the "Possible Ice on Road" amber symbol was illuminated on the Instrument Cluster Display.

From the 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia User's Guide 2nd Edition, pg. 60, Getting to Know Your Instrument Panel, Amber Symbols




This symbol never once illuminated on my 2018 car despite many sub-zero days, which leads me to believe my car has a software glitch or Alfa decided to de-content the car for some inexplicable reason. Here is the software version in the 2017 with the working snowflake symbol in case anyone is interested: MV-001.011.020 and TV-001.011.020.




Other interesting differences are subtle. Like the MPG display on the Instrument Cluster Display reading left to right (75 to 0 MPG) on the 2017 instead of right to left (0, 25, 50, 75 MPG) on my 2018. Or the tire inflation pressure and oil level indicator being in the "Apps" menu instead of under "My Car" menu. The backup camera on the 2017 loaner seems to have slightly better image resolution than my car. Both are pretty mediocre in size and image quality compared to my other cars. The 6.5" widescreen color display on the 2017 loaner doesn't seem more narrow in person than my 8.8" widescreen color display with split-screen capability. Maybe if/when I ever get Apple Car Play functionality installed I will notice a bigger difference.

When I tap the turn signal stalk once on the 2017 it blinks 3 times for the "lane change function" but you have to push it all the way past the detent for continuous blinking. On my 2018 if I hold the turn signal stalk down but don't push past the detent, the turn signal will continue to blink until I release it. I prefer my 2018 as it provides finer control over the duration of the turn signal blinking if I want something other than 3 blinks or continuous blinking. All I have to do is lift my finger to release the pressure on the stalk to cancel (one step) versus having to actively engage the turn signal function and then actively cancel the turn signal function (two steps).

The lack of a sunroof gives a lot more headroom, which is nice. Not that I was planning on tracking my 2018, but with the sunroof, there's no way I fit inside with a helmet on.

The rubber brake pedal cover on the 2017 loaner car is heavily worn at just 9000 miles on the odometer. Glad my car has the aluminum pedal covers that should wear much better.

The base seats on the 2017 loaner are not as bad as I first thought when I was shopping for my car. But I think ultimately I'd be happiest with either the Lusso seats or the Quadrifoglio seats as I really miss having a seat bottom tilt adjustment. Keeping my eyes peeled for used seats. On the 2017 loaner, when you press the heated seat button it turns on the lowest setting. To get to the hottest setting you have to press the button two more times. On my 2018, when you press the heated seat button it starts off at the hottest setting and each subsequent press of the button lowers the temperature.

The 18" Dark Turbine (WK4) wheels ride much nicer than the 19" Dark 5-Hole (WCU) wheels. Makes me almost miss the 16" wheels with tall sidewall tires I had on my Volvo that could just steamroll over bumps and potholes without worry.

I'm glad I have the shift paddles on my car. I didn't think I'd use them all that often (I didn't use them all that often on my previous VW GTI w/ DSG) but in the Alfa I find I use them several times a day and I'm missing them on this loaner car. I know I can shift manually with the gear selector lever in the center console, but I'm much less likely to do so on a regular basis. Without the paddles I'm more apt to just leave it in D, which in turn results in the car having a different character and driving style.

I'm also glad I have both Driver Assistance packages on my car, which the loaner does not have. In my area, there is a plethora of bad drivers behaving badly. I get cut off at least twice a day by jerks driving too aggressively. The car rarely ever invokes AEB because I'm attentive, but I do appreciate the FCW alert nonetheless. And I do like the ACC w/ Stop & Go in heavy traffic. I'm still not 100% trusting in the technology so I still hover my foot over the brake pedal just in case. But it is nice to have.
 

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that's the old software version...perhaps that is the culprit in the missing icon, as it explains the other differences you have been seeing.
as you have an 18 you would not have ever noticed...I have a 17 QV which went through the software update. personally my car is always garaged and does not come out in sub-40 degree weather due to the Pirelli tires...so I only saw the icon in the very beginning as I took delivery in Dec. 2016.
 

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Yup, lol, tell the dealer the car has an RRT for a radio update when you return it.

FWIW, I’ve seen that icon many times, just never paid attention as to which cars and software numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yup, lol, tell the dealer the car has an RRT for a radio update when you return it.

Their car, their problem. Although you’d think they’d do the RRTs that Alfa has told dealers all cars should get regardless of whether they’re exhibiting any symptoms. They must be prioritizing customer jobs that make them money, as opposed to jobs that don’t add anything to their bottom line.

In addition, the radiator expansion tank level was 4” below the low mark and the air-water intercooler expansion tank level was 0.75” above the high mark. And I keep getting whiffs of coolant, which means there’s probably a small leak somewhere.

On the plus side, the automatic engine start/stop feature is broken on this car. The override button on the dashboard does nothing. The car hasn’t automatically shut off once all week long, which is astonishing, as my car shuts off probably 30 times each day over the same route back and forth to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Darn. When I popped the hood to check on the suspected coolant leak it must have fixed the automatic engine start/stop feature. IIRC the system is disabled if the hood latch sensor detects the hood is open so as not to accidentally injure someone working on a car they believe to be turned off.
 

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I have the same old software and am happy with the way my car is working (I really don't miss having the snowflake; the thermometer is sufficient). So I need to decide whether having the RRT update is worthwhile, given the risk the dealer might screw it up.
 

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The instrument cluster has its own software, it's not dependent on the infotainment software.
Is the cluster software version available for owners to look up anywhere?
 
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Their car, their problem. Although you’d think they’d do the RRTs that Alfa has told dealers all cars should get regardless of whether they’re exhibiting any symptoms. They must be prioritizing customer jobs that make them money, as opposed to jobs that don’t add anything to their bottom line.

In addition, the radiator expansion tank level was 4” below the low mark and the air-water intercooler expansion tank level was 0.75” above the high mark. And I keep getting whiffs of coolant, which means there’s probably a small leak somewhere.

On the plus side, the automatic engine start/stop feature is broken on this car. The override button on the dashboard does nothing. The car hasn’t automatically shut off once all week long, which is astonishing, as my car shuts off probably 30 times each day over the same route back and forth to work.
Sounds about right, sadly the sales dept doesn’t give a crap about RRTs, the only way I do the RRTS is when I get the car’s for a dead battery and I see that there are 6+ RRTS that are incomplete.....one of them being a coolant leak from the coolant return line to the turbo (chrome steel line going into the side of the turbo, drivers side).
 

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So after 7 weeks on the wait list, I finally got this Volcano Black 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia loaner car from another dealer who's going to hopefully fix my factory paint defect trunk lid fiasco that my sales dealer was unable to resolve after multiple failed repair attempts.



I'm thrilled to be in an Alfa Romeo instead of a crappy FCA fleet special rental car like I had last time. And it gives me a chance to compare and contrast a base 2017 Giulia to my 2018 Giulia Ti Sport. More on that later. First, I want to report that I've found the elusive snowflake easter egg that Alfa Romeo software engineers hid on certain cars. One morning the ambient temp was exactly 37°F and when I got in the car and started it up, the "Possible Ice on Road" amber symbol was illuminated on the Instrument Cluster Display.

From the 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia User's Guide 2nd Edition, pg. 60, Getting to Know Your Instrument Panel, Amber Symbols




This symbol never once illuminated on my 2018 car despite many sub-zero days, which leads me to believe my car has a software glitch or Alfa decided to de-content the car for some inexplicable reason. Here is the software version in the 2017 with the working snowflake symbol in case anyone is interested: MV-001.011.020 and TV-001.011.020.




Other interesting differences are subtle. Like the MPG display on the Instrument Cluster Display reading left to right (75 to 0 MPG) on the 2017 instead of right to left (0, 25, 50, 75 MPG) on my 2018. Or the tire inflation pressure and oil level indicator being in the "Apps" menu instead of under "My Car" menu. The backup camera on the 2017 loaner seems to have slightly better image resolution than my car. Both are pretty mediocre in size and image quality compared to my other cars. The 6.5" widescreen color display on the 2017 loaner doesn't seem more narrow in person than my 8.8" widescreen color display with split-screen capability. Maybe if/when I ever get Apple Car Play functionality installed I will notice a bigger difference.

When I tap the turn signal stalk once on the 2017 it blinks 3 times for the "lane change function" but you have to push it all the way past the detent for continuous blinking. On my 2018 if I hold the turn signal stalk down but don't push past the detent, the turn signal will continue to blink until I release it. I prefer my 2018 as it provides finer control over the duration of the turn signal blinking if I want something other than 3 blinks or continuous blinking. All I have to do is lift my finger to release the pressure on the stalk to cancel (one step) versus having to actively engage the turn signal function and then actively cancel the turn signal function (two steps).

The lack of a sunroof gives a lot more headroom, which is nice. Not that I was planning on tracking my 2018, but with the sunroof, there's no way I fit inside with a helmet on.

The rubber brake pedal cover on the 2017 loaner car is heavily worn at just 9000 miles on the odometer. Glad my car has the aluminum pedal covers that should wear much better.

The base seats on the 2017 loaner are not as bad as I first thought when I was shopping for my car. But I think ultimately I'd be happiest with either the Lusso seats or the Quadrifoglio seats as I really miss having a seat bottom tilt adjustment. Keeping my eyes peeled for used seats. On the 2017 loaner, when you press the heated seat button it turns on the lowest setting. To get to the hottest setting you have to press the button two more times. On my 2018, when you press the heated seat button it starts off at the hottest setting and each subsequent press of the button lowers the temperature.

The 18" Dark Turbine (WK4) wheels ride much nicer than the 19" Dark 5-Hole (WCU) wheels. Makes me almost miss the 16" wheels with tall sidewall tires I had on my Volvo that could just steamroll over bumps and potholes without worry.

I'm glad I have the shift paddles on my car. I didn't think I'd use them all that often (I didn't use them all that often on my previous VW GTI w/ DSG) but in the Alfa I find I use them several times a day and I'm missing them on this loaner car. I know I can shift manually with the gear selector lever in the center console, but I'm much less likely to do so on a regular basis. Without the paddles I'm more apt to just leave it in D, which in turn results in the car having a different character and driving style.

I'm also glad I have both Driver Assistance packages on my car, which the loaner does not have. In my area, there is a plethora of bad drivers behaving badly. I get cut off at least twice a day by jerks driving too aggressively. The car rarely ever invokes AEB because I'm attentive, but I do appreciate the FCW alert nonetheless. And I do like the ACC w/ Stop & Go in heavy traffic. I'm still not 100% trusting in the technology so I still hover my foot over the brake pedal just in case. But it is nice to have.
 

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jJust a note concerning the cold weather indicator. In my 2020 model giulia, if outside weather is 1-2 degrees celius(not sure) the heated seat and heated steering automatically turns on when you start the car. You have to turn them off yourself if you don't want them on... kind of neat!
 

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I can confirm that my wife's 2020 Forrester displays the snowflake warning at 37F, that it is distracting rather than helpful on a mountain road and that last night the drive over Carson Pass really sucked--with sub 100 foot visibility for 30 miles or so. Oh yeah, and figure out how to turn on the fog lights before you start out.

I sure wish Giulia had at least an option for fog lights.
 

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I can confirm that my wife's 2020 Forrester displays the snowflake warning at 37F, that it is distracting rather than helpful on a mountain road and that last night the drive over Carson Pass really sucked--with sub 100 foot visibility for 30 miles or so. Oh yeah, and figure out how to turn on the fog lights before you start out.

I sure wish Giulia had at least an option for fog lights.
I find Subaru's controls among the less intuitive.

So many poor fog lamps out there. I'm at least glad the Giulia's aren't among them.
 

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I find Subaru's controls among the less intuitive.

So many poor fog lamps out there. I'm at least glad the Giulia's aren't among them.
No fog lights are worse than bad fog lights under the conditions I encountered last night.
Strong head wind and snowing--the falling snow formed a layer that the headlights would illuminate and render the road surface invisible. Fog lights could put some light much closer to the ground.

The Subaru has all-purpose all-seasons on; not even close to the super-grip I get from my Nokians.

FWIW: no chain controls, no snow plows operating. Prius appear to be totally unable to cope, 1 stuck, several moving at 5MPH or less. One pickup truck crossed the road and ended up in a ditch.
As usual, no cell service along most of SR-88 too. About 3" of snow when I went through, about 5" total.
 

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Prius is now available with all-wheel drive. I hear it's a waste because of the tires the car comes with. I wonder how many Prius owners are likely to upgrade rubber before the original wears out. Vehicles moving at 5 mph or less are often inconsiderate obstacles to others.
 

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Prius is now available with all-wheel drive. I hear it's a waste because of the tires the car comes with. I wonder how many Prius owners are likely to upgrade rubber before the original wears out. Vehicles moving at 5 mph or less are often inconsiderate obstacles to others.
Yeah, I explained to my wife that for inclement weather the high fuel economy tires on a Prius are terrible; otherwise they are just "bad".
Front heavy RWD pickup trucks are terrible in the snow/ice too. The drivers of those that come with rock crawler or mud ready tires are likely to end up in ditches; I did not check the equipment on the pickup that I saw in the ditch.

We may yet need to get a winter set for the Subaru. I had to skid to slow down with a lot of sliding and ABS interaction several times; that was from 30MPH. Downhill on a slick surface with curves and no visibility is the worst. Lack of paddle shifters or much of any control over the transmission in my wife's Forester just makes the whole thing worse.
 
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