A real pleasure to drive - I still smile with enjoyment on every journey
Lacquer run on the rear panel when delivered - fixed under warranty.
Squeaky front suspension - replaced under warranty. I understand that this is common but inexpensive to fix.
Rear door handle jammed - repaired under warranty, but recently playing up again.
The car had a tendency to stall at low revs, particularly when idling. Timing mechanism was adjusted by the dealer, since when things have been much improved. I am told this is a common fault in older cars, but fixed now.
Paint chips easily. I believe this is a problem on many new cars due to a switch from oil to water based paints for environmental reasons.
The car has truly stunning looks and is a great pleasure to drive. I would recommend it to anyone.
The built quality is by no means poor, despite the reputation of Italian cars, but it does not match the major German marques. However, the car is much cheaper than its rivals from Audi and BMW and represents very good value for money. So don't be put off by the poor history of Italian cars - the build quality is much better than Vauxhall, Peugeot and the like.
The handling is superb on all classes of roads.
If subjected to a great deal of city driving, performance can become a bit sluggish. However a run at speed appears to cure this. If you frequently use motorways you will be unlikely to notice this.
Performance is also sluggish below 3000 revs, but excellent when the engine is revved.
Fuel consumption was poor for the first 1000 miles or so, but has been fine since then, although having the air conditioning on reduces the fuel economy noticeably.
The suspension has been criticised for being too hard, but I find it fine. However the car does sit low on the road and the plate underneath the engine bay has been scraped a few times on speed bumps (far from an everyday occurrence though). I have never had a general problem with grounding though - this seems to be a feature of the 2.4 diesel.
The interior with the Lusso option is very good quality. After 18 months with two toddlers doing their worst it is still in excellent condition. I also find it very comfortable - even over long distances.
I have had no major problems in 18 months and the dealer service has been quite good (contrary to the reputation for Alfa dealers). The few problems I have had have been fixed under the warranty with no quibbles. Running costs are low with services cheaper than for its main rivals.
Criticisms are few and minor:
The car does not have deadlocks which is pretty bad in this day and age. Even my Cavalier had these.
I wish the rear seat could fold down - occasional trips to the DIY store or IKEA present problems with all but the smaller items.
The boot is a little small for the size of the car.
The air conditioning takes longer to cool the car than most other makes I have experience of.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th August, 2001