2003 Alfa Romeo 156 Reviews

2003 Alfa Romeo 156 Veloce 1.9 JTD Mjet 16v turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 1.9 JTD Mjet 16v turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 miles
Most recent distance82000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz 190

Summary:

Simply fantastic... don't be scared of used Alfas

Faults:

Front suspension, the ball joints and bushes in the top arm creak and knock.

Over boost problems.

General Comments:

Best things about this car. Looks and the way it drives and handles. The driving position is perfect for a very involving drive; the steering almost speaks to you. It makes driving a diesel very enjoyable.

The front suspension is a weak point, not helped by the shocking state of the UK's roads, so the top arms had to be replaced, as did the front anti roll bar links, which knocked; not dangerous, just annoying.

The engine is brilliant. OK, an over boost problem caused the EML light to come on and put me in limp home mode, but it was the boost control valve; not expensive, and a ten minute job to fit. It pulls like a train, and soo much torque, and no matter how I drive, it never returns less than 44mpg!

Driving an Alfa is a fantastic experience. It makes driving so much more fun. It's more involving, and I think shows imagination over choosing a BMW or a Golf.

Don't think because you drive an Alfa you'll be on first name terms with your local recovery firm.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th May, 2011

2003 Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon 1.9 JTD turbo diesel from France

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.9 JTD turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired160000 kilometres
Most recent distance174000 kilometres
Previous carVolkswagen Passat

Summary:

Lovable ear to ear fun with great looks - even the small diesel

Faults:

Front upper wishbones - 2 hours and 150 EUR to change.

Radiator/fan corrosion after 5 years - 800 EUR to change.

Front seat starting to wear.

Headlights starting to milk over.

Stone chips in paint on front bumper and bonnet.

General Comments:

This is a 2003 internal face-lift model of the 156 SW (Board computer, steering column controls, ISO-FIX). Two months later the front and outer trim completed the final face-lift to the 156 series.

After a few months of ownership, the car still drives and handles like a dream. Though it sticks like glue in corners, it gives a somewhat rough ride when on 17" summer tires. The original 15" rims sacrifices a small amount of grip in corners, but makes a world of difference to the ride comfort.

For an estate, even the little 1.9 JTD gives great torque and plenty of pull up to highway speeds. Brim to brim, it runs an average of 6.5l/100km, giving some 1000 kms of fun before meeting up with your friendly neighborhood gas station.

Apart from the very comfortable seats, the cabin interior - while having an appealing design - is not quite on par with VW in terms of build quality, and has more "plasticky" feel. In terms of comfort there is reasonable space for 4 well grown adults - but try fitting 3 adults and 2 child seats, and grey hairs will be the outcome. Possible, but not recommended, as even the backseat is shaped to hug two passengers in comfort.

With preventive service and attention to the engine, this is a very reliable diesel. Oil consumption averages.5L/1000km, and strangely seems to be highest at long high speed motorway hauls.

Would I buy Alfa again? Certainly! Would I recommend it? If you know where to fill up oil and you feel it is second nature to check the water temperature as often as you check your speed - by all means yes! The 156 is no more expensive to service that other car... but it quickly will be, if not maintained with care.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th July, 2008

29th Jul 2008, 12:56

5L of oil for every 1000 km? Something is not right in your car, I think.

11th Dec 2008, 07:36

Half a liter that was (.5 - not 5!). After another few months I've come to the conclusion that high torque leads to higher oil consumption.

For my 1.9 JTD "high torque" can be defined as keeping constant speeds at 130 km/h or higher. I consistently use more oil on long motorway hauls than I do thrashing the engine on mountain roads...

Average review marks: 8.4 / 10, based on 14 reviews