2001 Alfa Romeo 147 Turismo 1.6 120bhp from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Excellent drive

Faults:

Nothing new has gone wrong since I've had it, although there have been a couple of unpleasant surprises such as the petrol cap not fastening properly (who checks these thing buying a car?). And the seat adjuster having snapped off on the passenger side. More a reflection of rough handed previous owner than any poor reflection on the car.

General Comments:

Alfa Romeo have made some great cars, and this is definately one of the best. Once you enter the car for the first time, it becomes immediately apparent that the build quality is rock solid, easily on a par with the likes of the A3 or Golf. But where both these cars lack, at least in petrol form, the smaller Alfa shines.

This just does not feel like 120 horses. In comparison to a MINI Cooper, it is far faster on the road than just the marginal 5 bhp advantage claimed. The engine note is fabulous, with an urgent metallic scream past 5000 and on to the 7000 rev limiter, where the well spaced gear ratios keep you in the sweet spot as long as you keep the revs up. Like a lot of Alfa Romeos, it is one of those cars that you will happily nail on the power then back off, just to hear the noise and feel the acceleration. The handling itself is well sorted, with a precise, perfectly weighted feel and plenty of grip from the Pirelli tyres. The steering is sharp and responsive, and the car feels very safe, which is helped by the six airbags.

Despite all this fun, the real reason I went to see the car was the looks. In red with the 17's, it's hard to find another hatchback as pretty as this. The alloys and colour combination do have a dramatic effect on the overall look of the car.

In addition, the fuel economy is excellent for a car this fast, maintaining 30-35 mpg most days. Buy one if you have the chance..

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th November, 2005

8th Nov 2005, 04:59

Has the previous owner had the cam-belt changed? If not, go (or better RUN) back to the dealer and have it done. Keep an eye at the oil level if you frequently visit the red-line. Then, just enjoy!

2001 Alfa Romeo 147 1.6 120hp from Greece

Summary:

Love it or leave it

Faults:

Interior dash rattles from first day I got the car. Been to the dealer twice, but seems they can't fix the problem.

Rattle sound coming from the engine mostly when shifting from first to second gear.

Problems with airbag warnings. This occurs from time to time, and the only thing the dealer does is to erase from cars memory. This takes care of the problem for a few weeks.

Very poor paint job (black color).

General Comments:

It's a fast car and handles well for it's category.

I love the interior and it's fantastic design. Looks great with 17 inch alloys.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2005

26th Aug 2005, 05:27

I agree about the paint job: thin and quite prone to stone chips (mine is blue inca). Re the airbag warnings: look for bad contacts under the driver and passenger seats. Bad contacts are often a source of the airbag warnings going off for no reason.

2001 Alfa Romeo 147 1.6 Twin Spark 1.6 120 hp from Switzerland

Summary:

Flawed, but far more reliable and practical than Alfa charm used to be

Faults:

The car kept on touching the ground on bumpy country roads even at slow speeds. The front suspension sub-assembly was replaced at 4,000 kilometers. Problem solved.

The aluminum heat shield over the exhaust manifold has been replaced several times. It keeps on cracking and rattling.

Another under body heat shield on the exhaust has been re-welded twice after cracking and rattling.

The silencer was rusting. Replaced at 30,000 kilometers. The replacement isn't any better.

The passenger side electric window mechanism broke at 50,000 kilometers.

The headlamp bulbs started blowing regularly at 60,000 kilometers. Solved by longer life bulbs.

The battery failed suddenly at 70,000 kilometers.

Other minor electrical problems with the instruments or the dashboard lighting from new. Normally cured by stopping the engine and restarting.

Since early in its life, the engine has had an occasional and worrying rattle for a few brief seconds when started from cold - if it has been parked on a leftwards or rearwards incline. It now occurs more frequently. I have been told repeatedly this is due to a hydraulic valve filling on start-up and is "normal".

The cam belt was replaced early at 90,000 kilometers on the dealer's recommendation.

A shudder is appearing in the clutch when pulling off in first (on a cold engine).

General Comments:

Handles wonderfully even if the quick steering can be lacking in feel.

The engine is pure Alfa, and has gained in flexibility. A very lightweight foot can make up for some of the thirst, but you lose out on the pleasure.

Remarkably comfortable over a long journey. However, the suspension hates small ridges.

More practical than its looks or relatively small boot might suggest.

The build quality is generally good although I have a slight sense of unease before a long journey now that the car is older. Most of the problems with this car could have been solved by better after sales service.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2005