2002 Alfa Romeo 147 Lusso 1.6 Twin Spark from South Africa


The best small hatch I have ever driven


Not much has gone wrong with the car.

Being a car of close to 13 years old when I first acquired it, it was in very good condition. One cannot expect to buy a vehicle of that age and that mileage, and expect it to be as good as one from a showroom floor.

I have had to replace the thermostat, lower control arms, one rim, the exhaust, and I had the cambelt service done.

Other than basic maintenance, this is by far the best second hand car I have ever owned.

General Comments:

It is a brilliant car in almost every aspect. It drives like a sports car, feels like a sports car, and gives you a sense of satisfaction when driving.

It is by no means perfect, no car is. But once you get to know the 147, you will regret not getting one sooner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th August, 2015

2002 Alfa Romeo 147 Lusso 2.0 TS Selespeed from Belgium


Bring out the cliches


A lot.

Replaced the wipers and the gearbox was revised.

One time, I pulled the door handle off the car while opening the door.

At the end of its life with me, it used about a 1L of oil every week.

I had the big wheels, so tires were quite expensive. The silver paint was coming off the wheels, so it looked terrible.

The car was, at least once every two months, at the dealer (who was great).

General Comments:

I loved that car and hated selling it. First off, the engine. It's fabulous. Compared to my current one (a 1.0 Ecoboost Fiesta, packing about 140 HP), it LOVES to rev and constantly pull the leash. It did use as much oil as it used petrol (lots of it). The Selespeed transmission is pretty terrible, although I did not realise at the time how much because it was my real experience with an automatic. Everyone was surprised it had shifting paddles though, which was nice. It rode quite comfortably and the steering was light, very easy parking. The leather seats are great and I adored the Alfa logo in the headrests. Fantastic Bose stereo! Also, my grandmother sits quite comfortably in the back, and with the seats flat, my grandfather's wheelchair fits nicely.

I'll be honest, I sort of regret buying the Fiesta (new, 19k €, great car, but I genuinely miss my Alfa). If I had do it over, I would buy a low mileage, face-lifted 147.

Now, I am looking to buy (or rather choose) my first company car, so that will probably be a V40 or 1 series or something like that, no Alfa on the menu sadly. I'll probably buy a classic Alfa (looking at a GTV6).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2015

2002 Alfa Romeo 147 Lusso 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


The best small hatch, I love it!


I have had a few issues with the Alfa, but it is getting on a bit now.

The first thing to go was the thermostat; not expensive and pretty easy to sort; cost me about £30 to fix.

Alarm started to randomly go off. I just lock it with the key now instead of the key fob, so it doesn't annoy my neighbours at 3am!

Started to lose coolant. Discovered water hoses had started to disintegrate; again not a major problem, a quick trip to my local car breakers sorted it for about £10.

The heater exchange unit went, and gave me the impression that the head gasket had gone when the header tank was full of oil, but I replaced it with one from eBay and it's been fine since.

Electrics have been fine though!

General Comments:

Despite a few mechanical issues, this car is amazing! Me and my girlfriend had a 2001 VW Golf GTI 1.8t as well as the 147, and as soon as I sat in the Alfa, I never wanted to drive the Golf again!

I love every minute of driving this car. The steering is so good, the brakes are amazing, and the engine, although not as quick as you would hope, sounds wonderful. Even a normally boring trip on a wet Monday morning feels like an event. It's a really special car!

The interior of the car is by far the best in its class. It's got so much kit, and after 11 years everything still works perfectly. Despite the Alfa reputation, it's worn the years better than our Golf.

It really is a special place to sit; it's got a fantastic steering wheel, lovely dials in pods that look as if they have come straight from a Ferrari, and superb black leather sports seats with red stitching and a really good driving position. When you're sat in the driving seat, you don't feel like you're driving a miserable hatchback like a Focus or an Astra; you're driving a full red blooded Italian sports car!

The styling is in my eyes is beautiful; there really is no other small hatchback that comes closes, even today! But styling is subjective; you either like it or you don't.

I am probably biased towards this car, as I love it, but forgetting about that, there are a few irritations,

It's not great on fuel. The Golf GTI I had easily managed 40 MPG; this struggles to do 30 MPG.

Tax is also expensive (£150 for six months), as is insurance.

They burn a fair amount of oil, a common thing with them, so it is so important to regularly check all the levels; I check it weekly.

They are cars that require more care than most. I am fortunate that I do all the work myself, but if you don't have any mechanical knowledge and you have to pay garages to do the work, be very careful as repairs could get a bit pricey! I change the oil and filter every 3k miles with fully synthetic oil and a genuine Alfa oil filter; that's £60 every 3 or 4 months.

But if you love cars and you know a bit about them, why buy a boring Astra; for £700 you could buy a very tidy, leather lined Alfa Romeo, and really, what sounds better?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th June, 2013