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

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

2008 Alfa Romeo 159 JTDm turbo diesel 16v from Netherlands

Summary:

A great alternative for he who eats miles

Faults:

Actually only the soot filter has gone wrong, and unfortunately the dealer fitted a smaller capacity unit 3 times in a row.

General Comments:

A FIAT in a designers dress, good value for money (I am Dutch). Reliability issues are nonexistent, and neither is the awesome Alfa Romeo feared corrosion.

It is actually a better driver's car then its predecessor, a 130 HP Passat TDI from 2001 (also chipped).

The steering, roadholding and brakes give a better feel, and the seats are going from hell to heaven compared to the Volkswagen's.

Although the Passat is roomier in the back, the boot is bigger; I see this as a small sports saloon.

Engine got a much needed new chip to improve performance and get better fuel economy.

Spares and service are both cheaper than the VW dealers used to charge me

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 2011