2002 Alfa Romeo 156 Lusso 1.6 from UK and Ireland
A modern classic
In 18 months, only one significant fault: one of the rear electric windows stopped working; repaired under warranty.
One minor fault (though important to resolve!) : petrol filler cap came apart in my hand.
Well, a couple of minor faults aside, I love this car.
Performance: the 1.6 is hardly fast by Alfa standards, but it is a joy to drive hard. Using the gearbox and keeping the revs high it certainly does no harm to the Alfa reputation. The engine is so willing, it almost begs you to red-line it at every (safe) opportunity. And as it's not especially powerful (120hp), you can do that a lot without breaking the law!
Handling/ride: Steering is so sharp when driving quickly, and the overall levels of handling and grip are very good, but it is not difficult to reach its limits, even in this 1.6 guise. The ride is fairly hard/harsh: comes alive on country roads, but can be tedious on the motorway.
It's hard to talk about this car without referring to its looks. Suffice to say that every time I see it, then get into the drivers' seat, it makes me grin. It is surely the most stylish saloon on the market, and does not look dated even after several years on the market.
If I were a rich man I think I'd buy two: one to drive now and one to keep under wraps for posterity.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th February, 2004