2009 Alfa Romeo 159 JTD 1.9 litre turbo diesel from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Puts a smile on my face every day

Faults:

A minor oil leak occurred after three years, but was fixed at the regular service interval and has not happened again.

General Comments:

I absolutely love driving this car. It brings a smile to my face just looking at the Italian styling, and it's engaging to drive.

The diesel is slower off the mark than petrol versions up to about 30 km/h, but then the turbo cuts in and it becomes sprightly.

The best thing is getting over 750 kilometers to the tank (admittedly a large 70 litres), and with country driving it has achieved over 900 kilometres. Very frugal.

The driver's seat is extremely comfortable, especially over large distances.

I was led to expect many quality issues with the Alfa, but I am glad to say I have disappointed my critics (especially the wife!). It is as reliable as the many Japanese cars I've owned, but way more beautiful to look at and responsive to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 2014

11th Dec 2014, 11:19

We owned a 156 2004. We too did expect to break down everyday, but to be honest it was as reliable as a Corolla. Apart from service it was a great car, but our only complaint was the turning circle - but such a beautiful car to look at and drive. The 159 is truly a very good looking car.

2008 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon JTDM Lusso 1.9 diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

I'm glad I bought it, but probably wouldn't do it again!

Faults:

Power steering reservoir failed at 110,000 km, causing the steering to fail.

Tailgate release button failed at 115,000 km; can only open the tailgate using the keyfob now.

Headlight bulbs blow regularly (at least five occasions now).

Trip computer selector switch doesn't work.

The glow plug relays & controller needed replacing.

General Comments:

Driving & performance:

Though not quite as engaging as its rear wheel drive rivals, the 159 estate is capable enough, and strikes a good balance between a comfortable ride and responsive handling. The shift action of the six-speed manual is notchy and discourages smooth changes, but you get used to it in the end, and reasonable progress is possible.

The 159 is a relatively heavy car, so even with 150 BHP and 236 lb-ft on tap, performance is adequate rather than really brisk. That said, it never has any problems keeping pace on the motorway, even in the tall sixth gear.

Economy:

I have never got anywhere near the claimed 48 MPG (UK) combined economy figure. The best I've managed on a long gentle run with no A/C is 44 MPG, and my average figure for mixed driving is around 38 MPG, rising to 40 MPG when driven carefully on long runs.

In the cabin:

In Lusso trim, the 159's cabin is a pleasant place to be. The dials are angled towards the driver for a sporty look, and are clear and easy to read. While not the most modern in appearance, the interior has a classy feel and the car has a decent spec. The leather seats are supportive, easy to adjust, and comfortable. Some of the air con dials feel a little flimsy, but the overall impression is good.

Reliability:

Ah, the perennial Alfa bugbear! Apart from a few niggles, the Alfa really let us down once by breaking down the night before our holidays. The cause: failure of a non-return valve in the power steering reservoir. After three years of Subaru ownership, the Alfa has been quite a shock as parts are quite expensive too.

Styling:

The 159 is a beautiful car and I love the way it looks.

Practicality:

Being and estate, the Sportwagon has a decent boot and we can squeeze quite a lot into its svelte form. The rear legroom isn't great, though, and it's easy to scratch the rear bumper when loading things into the bag (especially dogs!).

Overall:

I'd give the 159 3 stars out of 5. It's expensive to run (even as a diesel), and not very reliable, but on the positive side, it's very comfortable and lovely to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st August, 2013