2002 Alfa Romeo 156 SW 1.9 JTD turbo diesel from Bulgaria


Powerful, sleek design, but not for bumpy roads


Road pot holes cause the front wheel suspension to wear quickly. Wheels now squeak and whine on the slightest road bump or paved roads.

The aircon fuses burned out, causing the cooling fan to stop cooling the engine altogether. A replacement fixed that.

Front hood is very low, thus small road stones beat the hood, causing flicks and chips of paint to fall off, with rust developing on the spots. So much for galvanised and zinc-ed metal make.

On-board computer's display is worn out and fading in half, making it difficult to read it even on high contrast. 8 years of altogether use only!

General Comments:

The car has a compact design, even though the Sportwagon version. Side windows are smaller, giving a sporty look.

Car behaves VERY well on highways, overtaking is a pleasure. When I press the gas pedal to the bottom, the car accelerates smoothly, overtaking is sure.

High speeds of upto 160 km/h on highway turns are stable, the car feels stable on the road even with sharp wheel turn on overtaking.

At slower speeds, the ride feels bumpy, the car seem to rattle, and the whole interior vibrates. At higher speeds this cannot be felt.

The seats are comfortable for long cruise rides - 6 hours driving and no pain in the back is a great deal for a family Sportwagon with long trips.

The air conditioning is slow to cool the interior. The stereo doesn't play through the speaker of the door that is opened.

No cruise control, so a bit frustrating, but I hear that is an option, and cables are already in place, just the stick needs to be installed and some pedal sensors? Anyways.

The car is stylish, the drive is pleasure on motorways.

However low-quality roads with plenty of pot-holes can wear the suspension too quick, and replacements can be costly.

I own this second hand car made in 2002, now still good in 2010. Prone to rust though, even though I expected no such flaw :(

Bonnet space is not much even for a sportwagon, but that is because of the sporty looks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th August, 2010

31st Aug 2010, 09:45

I agree that potholes are the bane of the 156. Nasty grooved road surfaces make it tramline too. On the other hand, I've taken my TS up to 180 on a good road, and it's as smooth as silk.

Sorry to hear about your rust problems; I got my 156 from an auction for junked cars, and fixed it. The original bonnet was scrapped and stood in the open in rainy weather for a couple of months without a spot of rust developing. THAT bonnet was galvanised properly, at least.

Your squeaky sounds are from the lower control arms. There's a sort of a round metal-cased rubber shock absorber that has torn there when you went over a big hump or something. A good shot of WD40 is a temporary solution, but it will have to be replaced eventually. Ask me, I know... :\

2002 Alfa Romeo 156 TS Sportwagon 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Okay car, 1.9 JTD preferred if as reliable as mine has been


Thermostat stuck open (a new replacement was faulty).

General Comments:

Hated it from day one, but it has grown on me in the 12 months of owning it.

Have been worried again from day one about it breaking. I bought it as a car that I had used now and again got written off, and this was nearest to me with the spec I wanted.

After 12 months, I have been surprised by its reliability.

My recent cars prior were a Fiat Marea 2.4 diesel estate (had for 6 years), a Subaru Impreza Turbo estate (MY2000), and a 1.5 dci Renault Megane.

The Fiat 2.4 estate was a brilliant car; Fiats in my experience tend to be better put together, and the Fiat drove better than this 156; nippier and nice to drive.

This 156 does nothing for me in terms of driving; it is the first car I have had without a turbo for over 12 years. It certainly doesn't make me want to drive fast, and I have always been a bit of a speed freak.

I was really disappointed when I bought it and drove it away; foot down and no torque and no power, feels better after 12 months, but initially disappointing.

The interior is about the best thing about it.

Charcoal leather seats look good and feel good; good on a run across France.

MPG wise, I probably get 29-32. Last time I checked, it was 32mpg.

Uses a bit of oil and water, so need to check weekly.

I don't think I would have another, but Alfas do tend to look better than most in their price range.

If I did get another, I'd look at the JTD.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th June, 2010

10th Jun 2010, 03:00

That's an interesting review. The twin spark engine does lack a bit of grunt under 3000 rpm, after which it really opens up nicely. I suspect that you would much prefer the 2.5 V6, which has torque all the way through the range. It is a beautiful engine. If you can get your hands on a 156 GTA (they also made sports wagon versions) I think you would be pleasantly surprised. Myself, I love the twin spark in a standard 156. :)