The Alfa 146 combines a stylish design with superb road handling and corners like on rails on its 205/55 16" wheels. Due to the big wheels, however, the car is quite bumpy and uncomfortable when driving slowly, but on narrow winding country roads virtually no other car can beat the Alfa owing to its precise steering and good brakes. On motorways, however, one often has to clear the fast lane to allow the big Audis, Mercs and beamers, even their diesel cars, to overtake with ease. :- (
Yet another drawback: Reversing and parking the 146 is a nightmare on four wheels. With its high tail, there is practically no visibility to the rear as to see how much space is still left behind the car.
The 1.8 litre engine is very responsive at high revs, but a bit on the slow side when under 3,000 RPM, so it requires a bit more than the regular dose of changing gears, which thanks to the excellent manual gearbox is more fun than anything else. The acceleration is OK, but feels and sounds much better than it is in reality and also the top speed of nearly 210 km/h could be better for a 103 kW engine. To make up for that, the 146 offers a roaring, formula one-like sound right from the start. Ridiculous: the fuel consumption of 9-11 litres/100 km is too high for a car of that performance and size.
The seats are comfortable even on long-distance trips. The interior is well designed and the air-conditioning system second to none. The radio sits a bit too low for my liking and requires to look down and away from the road when changing CDs or tuning in a programme. The boot is reasonably large for a car of that size, but difficult to load and unload.