2002 Alfa Romeo 156 Manual 1.8 Twin Spark from UK and Ireland
It will steal your wallet, and anything else you own of value
The hydraulic clutch failed, effectively writing off the car.
This was my first 'proper' car - as I doubt you can class a reliant death trap as a car. In my head I needed something cheap to run and something that wasn't going to cripple me on insurance, so I was looking at a 1.3 Micra.
Then, I saw an Alfa 156 for £575, and immediately I knew I would end up buying it. The next day I armed myself with insurance and picked her up.
The appearance of the car, in my opinion, is so much better than anything made by the Germans even now. However there seems to be much debate about this, so I'll move on.
The interior's ergonomics are spot on; everything that you need to drive the car is where you can see it, and the steering wheel fits almost perfectly into your hands.
The factory fitted sound system is superb, and the seats are fantastic, which makes the 156 brilliant at eating up the motorway miles. My only criticism would be that the pedals are slightly too small, so it can sometimes feel a touch clumsy in the foot well.
When it comes to driving, the engine feels very lacklustre until it hits the power band at 3000 RPM, where you see the speedometer start to climb at a quite satisfying pace, but by this time the fuel gauge seems to move at the same rate, with spirited driving retrieving less than 20 MPG.
Alfa have done a brilliant job with the handling though, on back roads the car feels planted, giving confidence, and then just a hint of understeer to tell you she's on the limit.
Things get tricky, however, in a multi storey, where problems such as the large turning circle, combined with the long nose and less than average visibility, rear their ugly heads.
I owned this car for only 3 weeks due to the hydraulics failing, and I was told that I would be looking at nearly a grand to fix this, so reluctantly, she was sold to a scrapyard, and I am currently looking for another car. However with me leaving the Army at the end of this month, and turning 18 next month, I'm after a Micra. Again.
So, anyone want to sell me your Alfa?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 22nd May, 2012
Sorry to hear that. Alfas are definitely cars that you need to keep your finger on in terms of fluids and repairs and so forth. It sounds like the previous owner skimped, and you got stuck with the bill. Just remember that you should be thinking BMW type prices if things go wrong.
Having said that, I love my Alfa more the longer I have it, and you will find your driving compensates for the relatively weak sub-3000 RPM performance as time goes by.