1998 Fiat Marea HLX 2.0 20V 148


An oft overlooked bargain


Throttle position sensor replacement.

General Comments:

Bought as a "between cars" runabout, the Marea was so reliable we kept it for 3 years.

It's a bit on the thirsty side. Although 40mpg was achievable on the motorway, urban driving dropped this to a 25mpg average.

Running costs were still low, however, since little ever went wrong. In 3 years, a couple of track rod ends, a back box for the exhaust and a dodgy sensor were the only parts needed.

It's surprisingly rapid and fairly nimble unless pushed hard. Power steering input is well judged, handling and ride better than average. Drives like a much smaller car, you never feel as if you're driving a whopping great estate.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th August, 2009

1998 Fiat Marea ELX 1.8 petrol


Cheap, good value for money if nothing is wrong


Power Steering is leaking.

General Comments:

Very comfortable, and very good engine for the price I paid.

Highly reliable till I came to the MOT. I knew there was a small leak, but the whole rack needs replacing. Also the trip button & temperature reading button both only work when they feel like it; and the ventilation button was put on upside down;... but you don't get that with every car lol!!

Unlucky? I have since looked at 2 other Mareas for sale and both also had Power Steering leaks. BE WARNED!!

Shame to see her go as very nice to drive, but as they have low resale the replacement rack makes it uneconomic to repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th April, 2008

1998 Fiat Marea Weekend TD125 HLX 2.4 turbo diesel


A powerful, stylish and practicable car that is an excellent buy 2nd hand


When I purchased the car it required new tyres (£50 each approx) and battery (£65.00).

After 3 weeks of ownership it passed the MOT with no additional work.

Had a Gold service at a Fiat dealer for just under £200 and queried a warning light for the ignition. This was most likely to be the glow plugs. The 5 glow plugs cost £45 and I fitted them myself, a little bit fiddly, but straightforward.

The clutch started to slip and was replaced. I obtained a new clutch kit for £125 and had the Fiat dealer fit it for just over £600. This is a very complex job, as part of the front near side suspension has to be removed for access. Fiat lists this as an 8½ hour job. The local clutch place still wanted over £600 and using a refurbished clutch.

The second service I had done by a local independent garage as the Fiat dealer had closed. This cost £135.00 including an MOT. They reported that the disks and pads would need replacing shortly.

The only other problem I have had has been an injection problem. As soon as I bought the car I used an injector cleaner. During the first year I have used branded and supermarket diesel. Another dose of injection cleaner soon solved this problem.

A little niggle I had was with the remote key being too easy to get caught and unlocking the car. To resolve this I removed the battery from the key fob and now only lock/unlock using a key in the door for the central locking. To restore the remote locking will mean the key will have to be reprogrammed.

The alarm system is also too sensitive and you cannot leave the car with a window ajar or on a windy day. Solution was to turn the alarm off.

General Comments:

The car is very stylish to look at and has a very solid feel.

The steering is very light, possibly too light at high speeds. The gear change is very light and feels like a direct box, even though it is a cable linkage. It drives and handles like a fast sports car. Having ABS brakes is useful safety provision.

The engine develops a large amount of power and accelerates fast. In usual driving it does about 38mpg, so for it’s size is reasonably economic.

The cabin is comfortable with plenty of legroom for rear passengers. The car is well equipped with many luxury touches like electric sunroof, windows, mirrors, and height adjustable headlights. Later models were fitted with air conditioning as standard.

The Weekend estate version is very practical. When the rear seats are folded down (no need to remove head restraints) there is a 6 feet long load area. The drop down bumper means you normally have a sill, but once lowered items like a door can be carried with the boot lid down. There are also 4 lash down points.

The roof rails are a useful addition if you want to carry sheets of plywood or plasterboard.

The insurance is for this model is Group 17. In 2005 it cost just under £300 with Elephant Insurance for fully comprehensive, but with a 70% protected No Claims Discount.

The big word of warning is do not buy one of these cars unless you have the red key. If you have an engine management problem, the red key is essential for the diagnostics. Not having the red key will mean a new Electronic Control Unit and new door locks and keys – about £1,200.

Overall I love driving this car and intend to keep it for a number of years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st October, 2005