According to the ninth edition of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, the word versatile is described as “having many uses” with regards to the extent to which a device can be used. It is therefore no surprise that such a word has been used to describe the utilitarian nature of the hatchback almost since an era where television had no audio, and people lived in a world that was hued in shades of black and white. Of course, the word utility also shares the virtue of being as ancient a term as the gramophone or the petticoat. Derived from Middle English via the Old French utilité, the word utility is associated with the creation of devices that are “designed to be useful for a purpose rather than attractive.” It seems then that the hatchback exists for purely objective reasons. These are not the sort of vehicles people dream about owning. In the main, they are bought as first cars by people who are more concerned about how efficiently they can arrive at a destination than they are about creating a scene when they get there. In spite of this, there are individuals who have attempted to make the hatchback that much more exciting – culminating in the creation of the hot-hatchback.
The Alfa-Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde has been part of the world of the hot-hatchback for as long as I have been aware of the definition of puberty. This is a vehicle that seems to have put a dent in the purpose of the hatchback by positioning itself as being the car of choice for the intern geneticist who prefers to wear a lab coat designed by Gucci. Its sophistication almost belies the necessity for practicality in a vehicle segment that is defined by nothing but. This car exists as a status symbol in a world where everything is dominated by the logic of necessity instead of desire. However, if the fact that the Alfa-Romeo Giulietta began production near the end of the year 2009 is anything to go by, then there surely must be credence to its existence. No sensible vehicle manufacturer would decide to build a car over a period of more than a decade, unless the vehicle possessed something that people were yearning for. This should be true for the Alfa-Romeo Giulietta – especially when considering that this vehicle is mass-produced. However, it seems that the more time anyone spends trying to analyze this vehicle, the more they realize that its purpose cannot be assessed empirically. I believe that the culprit of this sacrilege is caused by the extensive amount of time that Alfa-Romeo has spent being publicized as an extension of the human being. To explain my observation, I provide the definition of the cliché, which is defined as “a hackneyed phrase or opinion.” The essence of this is that the more frequently an expression is used, the more commonplace it becomes. In the case of Alfa-Romeo, it is clichés that hinge at the notion that this vehicle manufacturer can engineer the human spirit into a car that tarnishes the ability of anyone to be objective about anything that Alfa-Romeo has built. This is a characteristic that Alfa-Romeo embodies to the extent where it has to be embraced by anyone purchasing any vehicle built by them today. This is a truth that cannot be ignored, and its message is not only being spread by overzealous motoring journalists – Alfa-Romeo is also part of this problem.
In school, I became particularly familiar with two kinds of people – the academic and the athlete. The academic often struck me as being a highly reserved individual. Their shyness typically meant that in a crowded room, nobody knew they were even present. These were the people who spent their time consuming books in a religious fervor to increase their already vast deposits of knowledge – consistently asking questions to discover why people rarely defied the conventions of society. These were the people who took on the persona of the underdog – deciding instead to let their work do the talking for them. On the face of it, there was hardly anything significant about their physical appearances. As a matter of fact, about the only time anyone realized that there was more to them than meets the eye was when they chose to open their mouths and move their lips – leaving the world with a message that was more profound than what anyone had expected. To me, that personality is something that I believe should be embodied by the hatchback. It should be a vehicle that is more capable than anyone would ever anticipate – living up to the letter of the definitions of versatility and utility. On the other hand, the athlete was a more exuberant person – accustomed to garnering adoration in social spaces. The characteristics of the athlete are what should make the hot-hatchback special – resulting in the creation of a vehicle that is full of charm and attractiveness. The best hot-hatchbacks should be a holistic combination of the personalities of both the academic and the athlete. In the case of the Alfa-Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde however, it seems to be more of the athlete than the academic. It is a vehicle that depends more on its charm than ability. It succeeds at being yet another instance in the modern history of Alfa-Romeo where the mediocrity of their engineering was disguised by their unparalleled ability to make anything look like a work of art.